by Brigette Mashile, founder of Roka Roko
There is an idea formed by many of us that people who run businesses, or at least render some service to us, are not human like us. For some reason we see them as the ‘lady at the coffee shop’ or the ‘petrol attendant’; we never ever relate to them as people who sleep at night and wake up in the morning. This experience is the same for me. I believe a lot of fashion business people like myself feel like this...no…just me? Ok LOL. I have seen that many clients are not aware of the things they say that could be offensive or just make no sense at all. Most of the time, they say things that benefit themselves.
I have compiled a list:
I am pleasantly surprised.
This is meant as a compliment. Until you see the facial expression that comes with it. This hurts because most people follow up with, ‘I really didn’t think you’d get it right’….aye! This always reminds me of the terrible reputation people who make clothes have. Many of us meet people who have been disappointed by someone before; and they are gambling with us. My frustration is, if you pay me a deposit, please make the decision to trust me on that day. Meetings (consultations) have assisted me with this one as people trust a person they’ve seen and communicated with. Online business will surely be tricky.
I’m not as big as you!
This I find hilarious LOL! I have had this episode with so many clients. We’d be in a consultation and I make the error of saying, ‘I think we are the same size on our hips’….the response is always, ‘I’m not as big as you’. I laugh and measure my hips and write it next to theirs. Most people would be offended by this but I grew up chubby and escaped the body shaming insecurities. I just learned with this one that most people really think I have huge hips, and I think I am Beyoncé’s size…works for me 😊
Can I come tomorrow… tomorrow being a Sunday or holiday!
Fascinating. The more you say no the more you are called unfair and not wanting to make money. Here is a reality check…we are human and sitting at a sewing machine 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month, and every month of the year, will eventually book me a hospital bed. It is impossible. This comment always comes after I say, ‘I don’t work on Sundays’. The person who services you, also needs rest like you; it’s for all of us. We need them to wake up tomorrow.
It’s a simple dress…
….it shouldn’t take long to make or cost much! I recall my school president saying the clothes that look simple are the hardest to make; and the ones that look complicated will be easier to make. This I have proven to be true. I think maybe it is the expectation that makes the opposite true in each case. Nothing is simple to make, especially in South Africa where the cost of labour and resources is high. Also, I taught myself to laugh at this comment too but not take it as true; most people who say this have never touched a sewing machine. It’s safe for me to get a picture or a clear description prior to deciding.
My grandmother (mother) makes clothes…
….and said it is done this way. My request to these people is please have your mom make your clothes. I beg you. In this case you have already set me up for failure as you have a benchmark of how I should work; not what I should produce. Each and every person who makes clothes works differently; to produce the very same item. I will never be able to make your dress the way your mom does, unfortunately. Also, again please give us a chance; and open your mind to something new.
There are way more things that people say to me at work; some really silly and some really painful. Working within close proximity to people is a job needing a lot of patience, forgiveness and passion. Each person brings with themselves all of their smiles and sadness; some don’t know how to not impose themselves on others. This is where you need to learn how not to be affected by everything and everyone. Some things just need to be laughed at.
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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