How do you find the partners you need to make your start up idea a reality?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being a moderator for one of Sassy Mamas awesome meets ups. Along with 45 other mums I got some killer advice about setting up and growing your business. It was amazing to meet so many mums all in the same position as us, but also hear from Maura, one of the founders of Sassy who herself has just become a new mum and is getting her head around how to continue to build her business and balance time with her new family.

The thing she said which really resonated with me was that the easiest, best and most efficient way to be successful is to use your networks. Jess and I found this early on as after weeks of researching we consistently found the only route to find the talent you need is to ask friends and friends of friends to recommend people for you, especially here in Hong Kong where there is an abundance of talented people with time and energy to commit to projects of passion.

In this way we found our factory, our pattern master, our photographer, our graphic designer and many more amazingly talented people that have helped us on our way. You just have to ask (and keep asking when you don’t find what you want). When I was sharing this yesterday, another thing stuck me. Most of us don’t believe we know ‘enough’ people to make the difference. Yet the thing is you really don’t have to know that many people. You only need a really small network of friends to start from and it honestly expands from there!

Which made me think of a piece of work we have just completed with a couple of fabulous HK ladies. A few weeks ago, we were wondering who to ask to help with some photos for the website launch later this month. We needed size 12 models (as a lot of our sample dresses are size 12) but didn’t want to keep asking our closest friends who have helped previously to take another day out half naked with us behind a camera!

So to broaden our reach we posted this on Hong Kong mums

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As active users of the Hong Kong mums Facebook page we knew there’s a huge amount of helpful ladies out there (and try to be one of them as much as possible!) but we really didn’t expect the response that we got. We had sooo many offers of help we could only meet with a handful of people. In the end we asked 2 ladies to help – the lovely Isabelle and Bregje, who ironically already knew each other, had similar measurements incredibly close to our specification BUT totally different shapes that we hoped would show how adaptable our designs could be.

We could have searched Google and used a local modelling agency, but at the heart of AURZA is our desire to make women like ourselves look and feel fabulous. Finding people like you or me to showcase our designs is critical to show that our clothes really do work.

So we planned a day to crack through the designs. We prepared the hair and make up, pressed dozens of dresses and separates, built a pool of accessories and shoes and set up the studio taking on board the learnings from our previous shoots! It was amazing. The day was so much fun and the photos are gorgeous.  Thank you ladies for doing our dresses justice.

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And then, as I was pondering all of this at the Sassy Mama event, I meet Alison of Pretty Dangerous Jewellery and Roomila Chandra who is starting her semi precious fashion jewellery business here in HK and realised there is bags of potential to link up ladies like this for our next photo shoot in May…

Once you get over the fear, networking rocks.

Steph & Jess

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