People tend to run from competition, often to the extent of attempting to squelch the success of their peers. They fear their methods or designs will be copied or vanquished. This contributes to a lot of undue stress and counter productivity.
Fashion is a $298 Billion per year industry in the US. Consumerism is already turning towards more ethical and earth friendly production methods, as well as hand crafted goods. There’s plenty of pie out there for all of us.
Ethical Fashion is in its infancy, at best. Even those producing similar products are far from saturating the market. There is much to be done to prove ethical production methods can yield equal or greater results than that of more predominant exploitative business practices. The public will need more than a few successful examples before becoming believers. We need our peers to succeed as well.
Furthermore, competition breeds quality. If I design a necklace and my competitor designs a better one, what do you think I will do next? The absence of competition fosters mediocrity.
I can choose to view competitors as a threat, or a vital collaborator; my choice. We welcome the opportunity to work together to educate the public, build a more robust market and challenge each other to create better goods.
Besides, we don’t have the budget for the amount of publicity we need to impact the image of Africa. Knowing there are hundreds of other organizations out there proving the viability of our business model and contributing to the growth of our market brings me a lot of comfort.
*As a testament to our practice of collaboration, we will partner with 5-10 of our biggest competitors to produce an ethical fashion show and pop-up shop in February. Details coming soon at keza.com.