December 9, 2019

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by: Mukuka Mayuka

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Categories: Uncategorized

Collaboration: Scaling Home Grown Brands

I am a believer in collaboration. When done right and with the right intentions, there is a lot that can be achieved. There have been so many work lessons this year that I keep having to list them all to remind myself of what is possible. Here’s a story of collaboration which I hope will help you collaborate with the people you need to.

  1. Don’t be limited by boundaries (physical or otherwise).

I wanted to work with digital media enthusiasts and sent out a tweet asking if there would be anyone interested in being part of this LinkedIn group. A few people slid into my DMs or answered the tweet. One of those people was Chikumo Fiseko of Diary of Chik.

Fast forward to a whatsapp conversation where I learned she was based in Northern Ireland, had a website, loved to bake and had her own sustainable baking mixes called Nyina.  The bit of information that made my brain race? She was coming home and interested in introducing her baking mixes to Zambians.

2. Time is of essence and know who to collaborate with

I immediately realised that this was luck at play as I had been thinking about the growing food blogger space for awhile. I had also just seen the wonderful ladies at Yellow Ray digital  pull off a spectacular blogger meet up. There had been a growing number of foodie bloggers opening up social media accounts, creating and sharing content and amazing food markets. Finding who to collaborate came instantly. Restaurant Week Lusaka. Having successfully established themselves as the go to online restaurant directory, I knew that this start up was the right partner to share an idea and see how they could grow it. A few voice notes  and emails later ( please refer to 1, we were all based in different locations but didn’t let that stop us), the RWL team came up with the idea of a panel discussion with people who have been successfully scaling up their own brands. I had already pitched Chikumo but another brand that I adore and have featured on this blog also came to mind, My Saucy Spoon.

3. Know your role and stick to it

A lot of partnerships are doomed because of how partners may look at a project. All of a sudden there is ownership struggles or one partner wanting more recognition. It was refreshing to be able to hand over the planning of the event to RWL and have them keep me in the loop and ensure my logo was featured on the branded content. This was a two street of trust and mutual recognition of the contribution made by all members of the team. Often people will be apprehensive about sharing their contacts as they view it as a possible loss from their end but when collaborating anything you provide is a win. Knowing where your contribution starts and where it ends is also important so that you don’t overstep boundaries.

I am happy to see a few wins come from this project:

  1. Someone who I connected with online is connected with others in a meaningful way for her and her brand
  2. We were able to work remotely without having meetings and put together an event that is useful and important to a growing industry
  3. Supporting homegrown brands and each other

I hope to see more collaborations in 2020 especially between people who aren’t in the same room but countries apart.