The post-grad real world is both exhilarating and challenging; I’m constantly growing both professionally and personally. Although I graduated in 2015, my learning continued outside the classroom. One of my top takeaways is to think about collaboration more seriously in the workplace.
I work in fashion, but many industries can benefit by adopting a collaborative approach. Here’s why I believe collaboration is the way of the future:
1) Competitors can become collaborators
It’s easy to view people in your industry as competition, when in fact it can be quite the opposite. Viewing your industry peers as collaborators over competitors presents the opportunity for an even more successful business. For example, rather than doing something that isn’t your strong suit, collaborate with someone who specializes in it. This way, the job or task is done much better and most likely more efficiently than if you were to do it yourself. Recognize the strong suits and skills of others, and work with them to better your business.
In the pre-launch stages of the business I co-launched, we originally planned to create and design our own capsule collections. However, we experienced an epiphany moment that changed everything: we decided to work with emerging ethical independent brands and designers to create these wardrobes instead, rather than designing ourselves. We thought, “Why be another competitor for these brands?” when instead we can work together to curate these capsules, and in turn, help these designers shine brighter and be even more successful.
2) It cultivates a sense of community
The majority of our time is spent at work. As such, it is so important to ensure there is a sense of community, a network or a support system that you can rely on within your industry and in others too. Most of my successful professional experiences were surrounded by a team that was open-minded, inclusive and supportive. We’re stronger together, than apart.
3) Growth opportunities
Surround yourself with amazing people with diverse backgrounds, history and skill sets. It’s an opportunity to learn something from one another. Whether that be personal or professional growth, take the time to recognize the value and joy of those you’re collaborating with.
4) It’s FUN!
There is something beyond enjoyable to share your successes with others around you. Completing tasks in collaboration with an inspiring group can be more fun than hustling through it alone.
Jaclyn Patterson (Fashion ‘15) is a self-starter, creator, marketer. She is Co-Founder & Creative Director for UnCo – a fashion startup based in Toronto.