Entrepreneurs are warriors. I had never understood this concept until I became one. Until I embarked on the quest for a lasting impact in Rwanda’s private sector.
In the age of unstoppable ability to live out your passion, especially in the fashion industry, you once - or so many times - meet friends, celebrities and the like who wish to receive items or particular favours in exchange for friendship level upgrade, “exposure”, or a “mention” in their projects.
Asking for free products is a concern that looms over our pursuit to break even as a rising enterprise.
We have to do something about it, together. We should disarm the tendencies of overlooking efforts behind extensive production. Here are some of the reasons why we think it’s unacceptable to ask for free stuff when you would rather support.
Creativity is an expensive asset
We spend days and nights to bring ideas to life. If a particular design, song, or prototype doesn’t turn out as wished, food and sleep mean nothing. It’s our assignment to get corners, coordinates, or forms of any part right.
It’s that arduous. We’re then discouraged every time empathy is not reciprocated. It’s just free. Free method of appreciation.
Creativity requires patience. It’s an intrinsic value that challenges us to search within the deepest corners of our minds. It’s a profession, like any other. It’s duly reasonable to accord value to the invaluable; prices for our goods and services.
That’s why it’s hard to wrap and send away a typical item, that knows our sleepless nights, without a justifiable cause. We honor each piece we create, thus respect should be a no-brainer to anyone who approaches us.
We owe it to the team
Nothing brings me as much joy as working with others towards a common goal. Every project initiates discussions on desired outcomes and involves work to birth success.
As a Creative Director, I assist hardworking tailors to ensure all apparels at the store correspond to ideas we hitherto held. The least I can do is appreciating their performance by topping their incomes.
I would have a difficult time explaining to my team how salaries won’t be cleared because items were given out at free of charge. This poor excuse would brew tides of demotivation or resignation, to imagine the worst.
Employees have families to take care of, and a country to build. It’s our prime responsibility to provide them with resources. An assignment to buyers and sellers.
As a business, we need to gain capital, sustain cost of production, while respecting ethics. With an unfair mindset of “free stuff” entitlement, we risk to undermine the ingenious minds who make it [production] possible.
Motherland needs to develop
Rwanda, the backbone of all our operations, wouldn’t be happy if we enthroned this habit. Fair “Doing Business” practices play a huge role in the economic sector. Portions of our incomes contribute to roads, schools, and initiatives that elevate the country’s development.
Consumer spending is also essential for the Made in Rwanda segment, without mentioning its motivation to upcoming entrepreneurs. With a dutiful commitment - paying for goods and services - we can boost the GDP per capita that allows communities to enjoy better standards of living.
The success of an entrepreneur hinges on revenues that source capital for existing and innovative production. We should all acknowledge artists’ worth without condescension or being a stranger to their investment capacity.
Moise Turahirwa is the Founder and Creative Director of Moshions, a fashion brand
The views expressed in this article are of the author.