This is what happens when you collaborate with your competitors

We celebrate individuals without realizing that success isn’t achieved alone. For Kirti Poonia, the pandemic proved to be the ground for companies to come together and work.

She is the co-founder of Relove, which builds circular tech for fashion brands, and the former CEO of Okhai, an artisan-led sustainable fashion brand.

Indian artisans were out of work during the pandemic, and an already dying profession seemed to find no way up. Kirti Poonia and various other leaders who were her competitors came together to collaborate and help artisans get back on their feet. Women leaders shared learnings from artisanal databases and took up the initiative to allow artisans to set up their online markets. This collaboration helped over 50,000 artisans sell and generate revenue of over 100 crores. This also benefitted the organizations as they grew over 50%, and many product companies pivoted to being a marketplace.

Kirti Poonia’s anecdote is a masterclass in collaboration that challenges you to work towards a common goal and learn to be vulnerable. But collaboration isn’t easy. It requires you to confront negotiations and potential arguments and finally reach a consensus. It also requires you to place immense trust in someone that could be your potential competitor.

And what fun is business without a bit of a challenge?
So what is stopping you from collaborating?
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#100DaysofWomenRoleModels is a series created by LinkedIn writer Sukita Tapadia, about strong Indian women, right among us. Through her series, Sukita aims to highlight the stories of these role-model-worthy women and celebrate their lives.
(The views are personal, and these stories are based upon secondary research)

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