Pothies have been around for a long time and the pattern has been gifted to but-a few. They are a great product and many are beyond immunity to wanting a slice of the Pothies action – you’d be daft not to. Here’s what I’ve learned on dealing with competition:
My ‘competitors’ have existed for a while and in the beginning I emailed them offering a hand of craftsmanship. I always felt the more Pothies in the world meant more folk with warm feet and it has to be a better place for that – right? Right.
They’re on the other side of the world, setting up a social enterprise, for Goodness sake this is utterly fabulous work.
Discovering the Piracy
A while later I recognise a photo that had been re-incarnated on ‘their’ social media, my interest peaked and my curiosity heightened I had to go looking (doh!), where upon the enormity of the pirating became very apparent. Colours and colour ways, designs and photo ideas and even branding! Ho- Hum (or words to that affect).
SO here’s the thing: after a few weeks of ranting and long walks I was able to see it from lots of different perspectives. As a result something began to shift and unravel. For starters I began to understand deeply how much I LOVE my work, my customers and making Pothies. This has enabled me to finally really step UP and IN to my business and into my creativity – BOOM!! I feel like a lioness protecting her cubs. I began to realise that it’s the way that I create Pothies that can never be replicated unlike a photograph, colourway or design.
A Business with Heart and Soul
Pothies come though my heart and my soul. I create slippers for people that I have grown to know and love. They are generous with their stories for which I have a deep appreciation. Together we make the world a cosier place; Pothies mean so much more to folk than just wearing a slipper and in turn I have made many friends. Customers return year after year and recommend Pothies to everyone and this humbles me. The relationship I build with my customers is my entire foundation and motivates me to make the best product that I can with continuity.
Small Business as Therapy
Curating a small business is like being in therapy, every day, there are inevitably many highs and lows. It’s true, who would’ve thought that making Pothies would have entailed so much? Marketing, algorithms, accountancy, GDPR, email campaigns, profit and loss, stock checks, websites, branding, Instagram grids, …woa – the list is enormous and still growing as is my skill set. The highs are worth it and the lows push me forwards. I get to work at home, my children understand that making by hand is a valuable resource and build relationships with other amazing women. I spend my days carving out a life of creativity and colour, which is so intrinsically me and hopefully inspiring others to follow their dreams.
One of my life values is of honesty and integrity, and upon reflection my heart ached (for what I felt to be) the dishonesty of the piracy. Understanding this personal value meant that I was able to see this for what it is and dig deeper into my relationship with myself. Cool huh? If I’m honest I am still irritated that they’re looking to my business for their growth and I am also a little sad that they aren’t able to trust their own creativity – however that it their journey, not mine. On the plus side my robustness is deepening, I’m growing a little further and I am walking towards my best self living my best life. I am delighted by the work I’ve been able to do as a result.
6 tips for dealing with Competition (or the feeling of it)
- Roll your sleeves up, identify your feelings and let them guide you into your action or non-action. So much of the time we let our feelings keep us in a place of learned safety; usually from childhood. However, as a grown up we have a choice to be interested in what makes us act and then also how we move forward. Identify what your feelings are about, turn around and greet them. They have so many gifts there for you.
- Take your time. When one of these biggies comes along it’s OK to take your time with it. Walk with it, stomp with it, sleep on it, give yourself time to adjust. Action surpasses re-action every time.
- You are your business’s strength and you are the only one who can see what it is that needs to be done. At the end of the day the buck lies with you and only you. Gulp. You are at the helm, all the time. The good news is that it’s a journey; nothing ever is set in stone, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other to move forwards.
- Seek help/words of wisdom for perspective. Trusted friends, a business coach or advisor will help you to find your perspective. Choose these people wisely, you need them to ask careful and considered questions that will help get to the root of what’s needed.
- Have courage, offer yourself some loving kindness and generosity of spirit. Above all, care for yourself. Your box has been rattled, it might well feel like everything that you have worked for is being compromised. Please know that your clients and customers, friends and family believe in what you stand for. Take baths, eat well, exercise more. Be kind to yourself.
- Try not to get distracted (too much) by the drama of the situation. Whilst we ALL love a good drama not is not the time to indulge in this. Sure, have a rant, jump up and down, pour endlessly over your competitors website for evidence (maybe that’s just me) but then let it settle. Drama is not good at walking in a straight line, it likes to have tantrums and hissy fits and remain unfocused. When all others around you are loosing their heads, steadiness and unwavering determination will speak a thousand words.
I have faith in you, you will turn this around
I would love to hear your stories or thoughts on anything that has been stirred-up for you in this post? As always you can leave me a message, email me or write a comment in the box below.
Thank you so very much x
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