Colleagues not competitors

Colleagues not competitors

9 years ago I worked at Slattery’s: a Patissier & Chocolatier based in Manchester. My role involved decorating cakes for their bespoke cakes made to order.

It was a fantastic job and I learnt a great amount.

The owner of Slattery’s once said something to me that has stayed with me. I still think about often.

We were talking about all the cake and chocolate courses he runs and he told me he never held back information or methods of how things are made and created because there will always be enough people who want to buy your creations. 

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Instead of having a mentality of scarcity, wanting to keep his techniques secret in the hope that he would remain ahead of his competitors, he was openhanded with his knowledge. He knew something that I was yet to learn: when you share your skills people are drawn to you.

A generous spirit attracts company.

I have tried to embody this idea in my working practice.

I know there is a chance if I teach someone skills I have built up over the years they may copy me, they may even set up a similar business to mine. Rather than feeling threatened by this I’m learning to embrace it.  I’m pretty sure there’s space for all of us.

So instead of thinking about others in the same trade as you as competitors why not view them as your colleagues?

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Recently another cake business @cakesbyandrew kindly helped me in figuring out a new machine they had recommended. They could have said no and left me to struggle, but they offered help, viewing me as a friend not the enemy. 

When my books are too busy for more orders I know I’ll pass on his details to potential customers because 

1. I know he’s good at what he does, and 

2. because what comes around goes around.

Kindness wins.

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If you’d like to leave a comment or a recommendation of a business you think is fab do so below and let’s share the work.

Thanks for reading.

3 Comments

  • by Claire southern, post on | Reply

    Elizabeth
    What a breath of fresh air!! Yes you are so right… there is work for us all in abundance . I fe lucky to work in a city with so much talent and with me being g self taught I knoe there is so much I can learn from others and equally a lot I can teach.
    Love to be a part of this creative ❤️
    Thank you for your words of wisdom

    • by elizabethharris, post on | Reply

      Thanks Claire xxx

  • by Fiona Dutton, post on | Reply

    Yes totally true. Love this. How can you grow and learn and gain experience without sharing knowledge and generosity!!!

    Well done Lizzie, an inspiration!!! Xxxxxxxxx

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