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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Camaraderie, not competition

My former job centered on competition. The details of it aren't pertinent. Competitiveness, especially when it can lead to catty, back-stabbing behavior, is poisonous. And it is certainly no ally to creativity. I'm not opposed to all competition in general. But I'd much rather have a team spirit and be able to feel happiness in others' success, too.

In my blog description, I say that I blog about other milliners I admire. I haven't done much of that, but it's just because I've procrastinated writing the blogs — not because I don't have a long list of hat-makers I love and not because I don't want to feature them.

I look at it in two ways:

(1) What if I introduce someone to other hats and they like those hats better? What if they buy one of those other hats and not mine? Well, what of it? I can't stop someone else from liking another milliner's hats. And I wouldn't want to! There are more hats out there than I could possibly make. One milliner I like has a very distinct style. At some point, I might make a hat somewhat like hers. But I won't try to make her hats. And her style isn't mine. There's more than enough hat love to go around. If you want her style of hat, you'll go to her. If you want my style of hat, you won't.

(2) More people wearing hats can only be better for all hat makers. Before I was a hat maker, I was a hat-wearer. And I bought mass-produced hats. Mass-produced hats (probably) don't steal market share from couture milliners. If you buy a hat for $50 from a major or semi-major brand, it's not likely that you did that instead of buying a $200 bespoke hat. But if you love your $50 hat and wear a hat every day, then eventually you might want a higher-end hat. And the more people who wear hats, the more they are "in," and the more people who will start to wear hats. (People complaining about why hats can't come back so they can wear them ... that's a full-on rant for another day.)

A few days ago, my Facebook page (Silverhill Creative Millinery) was nearing 100 likes. At the same time, on Twitter, I found out that Greer McDonald Millinery was the same number of "likes" away. So we cheered each other on. And we liked each other's pages.

Today, I posted this tweet:

It feels good for the creative soul.
Isn't that a charming and lovely hat? ... And it's very different from my own work. :)
I linked to her Facebook page above, so you can like her too.


  1. I like how you think too, Kristin. And, at the risk of starting a gooey mutual appreciation society, I love your hats too!

  2. Competition is good, but not when it's all-consuming. I agree that team work is a much better way to work. I love your story of helping out a fellow hat maker so you both can reach your goal :)

    1. Personally, I've never been very competitive as a general thing, so I don't find it super motivating. A little healthy competition can be very good for some people. Depends on who you are, I think.

      I'm glad you liked my story. :)

  3. I think *some* competition can be motivating, but too much leads to bitterness. It's better for everyone when we all help each other!

    1. Competition is good, I think, depending on who you are. Some people are motivated and excel with a little healthy competition. Personally, I've never been very competitive.

  4. Looking at what others are doing with too much attentiveness can be a joy killer, but it's undeniable we all keep tabs on what people in our own field are doing. It's good to know we're not doing stuff that looks like another artist's, for instance.

    And I love hats! I'm proud owner of four, always looking for a new one. Or the perfect one.

    1. That's very true. I try not to obsess over what other people are doing. It's very easy to feel jealous or resentful or insecure.

      Looking at other artists' work can inspire us in surprising ways. Not in terms of making something derivative or being a copy cat. Maybe using a new material or a new color.

  5. I love this sentiment! I only got into hat making because an amazing woman at a local vintage fashion fair ran a millinery workshop. I thought that it was incredible that she would sit there giving away all the secrets of her art, but the more I thought about it, the more people who get involved builds the community and helps everyone involved. Keep up the good work!