by Brigette Mashile, founder of Roka Roko
In the 4 years of this business, I have had ‘gazillions’ of collaboration offers and maybe 1 of them actually happens, maybe! I don’t know if it worked or not. Collaborations are agreed to and pushed forward because, well in life and in business we need each other. I am yet to be part of a real collaboration and see it through. There are many reasons why I haven’t been in one, some are real and others probably imagined! Have I lost out? Probably! Who knows what we can achieve when we come together for a common purpose. I have compiled a list of reasons I still haven’t done a collaboration; maybe some ring true for you as well?
We are all scared of what we don’t know; even more of people we do not know. This fear is probably because of past experiences of being disappointed by others. It is mostly based on what you could lose if you did try? I have sensed this fear within me and within those I have attempted to collaborate with. Is it valid? Well yeah! Life in 2018 is so tricky. You just never know what will happen when it comes to people. Literally, anything is possible. This is a major block we need to deal with and get over if we are to work together.
Some call it vibes. This has to exist. And it better be positive. Anything else will result in you arguing about everything including where to meet for the very first meeting! Don’t let anyone lie to you, you cannot be in business with people you don’t like of feel positive about. Business is personal. And you don’t let people you don’t like into your personal space. The kind of energy you need is the one that says we admire each other’s abilities and believe in the success of this collaboration.
We don’t trust each other. Our anxiety about each other is on another level. People are expecting to disappoint each other, rather than impress each other. We are more sure that so and so wouldn’t be able to do this and that; than yeah, I trust her! And what kind of business is built on such thinking? None! Trust demands that we are 100% transparent with each other. You need to tell me about your credit status if we are to start a business together. That kind of information will come up eventually if you don’t divulge it in the beginning.
Any sort of collaboration is set in growing further. It is for growth through expansion, diversification, new business ideas, etc. GROWTH NEEDS MONEY. A lot of ideas are in the air, but we are struggling to pay for these ideas. Yes, applying for funding together is more promising than alone, but definitely more tedious. It’s like, can a million Rands just fall from the sky into our laps! This is one of those hiccups that you simply cannot get around, the money you need, is the money you need. And sometimes it’s needed NOW!
In most conversations about these collaborations, the initial energy is beyond the roof. We are all on a Whatsapp group and excited about it all. Then jobs are delegated and suddenly its like Christmas ended and its January. Suddenly we all have other more important things to do! Suddenly the confidence and determination is limited to your time in the day you do not have! I cannot even remember how many groups I’ve left because we fell on the way to success. We just stopped talking more and doing more and I left.
Our history definitely plays a huge role in this mess. In each of those factors, history plays a huge part. There are so many things we must still deal with and get over before being ok with all of these issues. But, can our future wait for us to deal? No! We unfortunately have to start our future while getting over our past. Simultaneously! Who is to say you will ever get over your teacher calling you a failure in grade 3? Maybe use it as a motivation tool. Play it in and see what we can DO TOGETHER.
Brigette Mashile is the founder and creative force behind Roka Roko, a custom fashion design business based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company passionately delivers quality tailored and trendy fashion to make their customers happy, and specializes in styling women by creating unusual combinations with fabric, culture and style. Brigette has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Witwatersrand and a Fashion Diploma from Studio5 School of Fashion. She’s a former fashion buyer for a major retailer in South Africa, and an international direct selling company. She’s been passionate about fashion since the age of 10 and gained invaluable experience in the fashion world running informal fashion creation businesses until the day her own Roka Roko brand was born. Find out more by visiting the Roka Roko website www.rokaroko.co.za
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