This past week, my colleague, Rom, visited a company that specializes in the environmentally friendly dyeing and treating of denim fabric. We were excited to find a new potential vendor and partner to help us with our coloring and washing that is in alignment with our mission. The great part is that we, actually, ended up getting a lot more than we thought we would out of the meeting.
Rom spent almost an hour and a half speaking with the founder of the company about our brand, the business owner’s company and how we can work together. As I mentioned in my first post, it is rare to find companies that are not only willing to work with start-ups but are enthusiastic and interested in what your start-up is trying to accomplish. From what I heard about the meeting, the energy was great and we feel confident that we found a group that we can utilize to help start as well as grow our brand. The best part is that the group can also do some small sewing contracting for us so it could be a “one stop shop” for our future production.
Its weeks like these where I have to really make sure that I say, “thank you.” We have had issues finding people that are energized and excited about working with us so it is, quite literally, a God send when we find someone like this; especially at this time when we are about to begin working with a new vendor to help us finish our product development.
Receiving gifts, for me, always invokes conflicting emotions because my first immediate thought is, “what’s the catch?” What am I going to owe for receiving this great news and potential new vendor? Then, I have to remember that this is my “human” intuition working under the pretense that everything comes with a price. We see examples in our everyday life where people pretend to be “generous,” but are really trying to get something back from you.
Conversely, my faith allows me to see this gift as one from God that has no price and has no strings attached. This gift has been given to us so that we can make the most of it and, therefore, use it to make a great change for those around us. More importantly, this gift has been given to us as a reminder to “pay it forward” the next time we come across a new company trying to do great things. This is how the business world should work. We should spread generosity, support and hope to one another so that we can all use our unique gifts and talents to better our society instead of focusing on tearing each other down. Competition to get consumers to purchase your product is hard enough, we don’t need to help the process by trying to discourage and sabotage our fellow colleagues and industry partners.
I went to a networking event here in Chicago last week about the current state of the Ethical and Responsible Apparel Industry. It was a fantastic event but the most incredible thing about it was the fact that everyone there was supportive of one another. Even though we all had our own brands producing different, and sometimes the same, types of clothing we understood that our bigger goal is to help instill change within the industry and in the economy as a whole. I have to admit that it was incredibly refreshing to be in a business conference amongst competitors where I didn’t feel like I was being hunted and watched like a wild turkey in the month of November.
I guess I really received two gifts in one this past week that both carried the same message. Spread hope and good vibes and good things will happen. Please join me in doing so and feel free to let me know your “pay it forward” story. I hope that you too are able to participate in a cooperative and supportive economic environment focused on changing how we view and conduct business. Enjoy your week and keep sailing onward with your journey.
This is a picture of the “Purchasing Power” graphic that the Columbia College graduate students put together on the US Apparel Industry. It contains some startling statistics which I will discuss in the coming weeks.
“Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” – Isaiah 40:30 NASB