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#05 OH F*CK… PROBLEM ONE retrenchment

15c per unit, that’s what it cost. What can one even do with 15c? I shudder to think about the value of this, but this amount caused an ‘OH F*CK!’ moment… retrenchment.

If you’re looking for finger-pointing and name-calling, you’re not going to find it here. This is just a view of my process and how I started my business.

At this point in my life, I was working for a large denim manufacturer with one of my portfolios being a giant local retailer. Proudly South African, as long as they weren’t dealing directly with their production in China. Grey areas that still boil my blood a little.

We received word one day that our dedicated manufacturer in the east needed to adjust their prices. 15c, it seemed like nothing and at that point, I never gave it a second thought. What difference would this even make to this giant in the industry?



Honestly, it never crossed my mind, how would 15c affect anything. We reviewed with the client and everything seemed fine. Then the snowball started to roll along.

“None of you have anything worry about.”

“Your jobs are safe, nothing will happen in the design room.”

and then…

“We’ve lost the account.”

It all happened so fast, looking at it in hindsight it feels like a blink. One day I’m working on a massive account and then, I’m sitting in the financial director’s office, looking at my creative director and a corporate lawyer. My name on a list as I’m being told my position is under review.

Then a retrenchment plan, being told my remaining portfolios will be absorbed by the company and I need to consider my options moving forward.

It came as a shock, my job and those of my team, we could be removed for the low low cost of 15c.

What do I do now, how will I live? who do I work for?

Then it hit me…

If I’m worth so little in the current industry, then something needs to change. I need to change.

I wasn’t ready for what was to come… but I had no reason not to try.

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