Finding new team members
Before even arriving to Cape Town we had the great chance to get introduced to Rina by Stephan, who is currently doing a masters in Inclusive Innovation at UCT. Sarah got in touch with Stephan because she wanted to get further insights about his master program experience. When the two chatted about Sarah’s ambition with GreyC2, Stephan quickly connected the dots and thought of his friend Rina, who currently works in the fashion industry, and is extremely passionate about sustainable and ethical fashion. Right after arriving to Cape Town we had our first real encounter with Rina at Truth Coffee. Within minutes we were amazed by the extent of alignment between Rina’s personal vision and the vision of GreyC2. There was no doubt: In one-way or another, we had to work together. After a few enthusiastic chats we realised that a closer and more structured collaboration would make sense. With great excitement Rina happily agreed to join our team.
We met our second new team member through a completely different approach. While still in Switzerland we tried to find ways how to best reach out to designers and people with experience in manufacturing around Cape Town. We decided to create a section on our website where interested people could sign up. To promote the website we contacted various fashion design schools in Cape Town and asked them, if they can promote the opportunity to their students. Although we didn’t post any concrete job opportunity on our site, a few people signed up. Eva was one of them. In her email Eva talked about her thesis on sustainable fashion, and shared her big interest to produce ethically and sustainably. When we finally met Eva in person we quickly identified our shared desire to find an ethical and organic fabric that is produced in South Africa. Eva already started to explore alternatives options, as she also stumbled upon the lack of organic cotton here. We fell in love with Eva’s designs before even meeting her, and when the option of joining GreyC2 was on the table, we were thrilled to join forces to work towards ethical and sustainable fabric.
Onboarding new team members
After having successfully recruited new team members there is a new question to answer: How to on-board the new people in the team and equip them with the needed skills and knowledge? For this reason we prepared for a first team meeting to discuss about the responsibilities we have in the business, roles in the team and the development of its people.
After getting some inputs from a marketing event about the topic “strategy before tactics”, we mapped out all the areas of GreyC2 to firstly be aware of all we have to cover before going into dividing these tasks.
Afterwards it was about defining key responsibilities for the respective areas. We chose to make an exercise out of this task and answer two questions: “What are you skilled/ knowledgeable in?” and “What would you like to learn (hence, where are you willing to invest time in learning something new)?”
This not only gave us a good understanding of the areas that are easy to cover, but also which areas we lack knowledge in, and how we can bride these gaps. We ended the meeting with assigning a main responsible where we could, and leaving the areas where we needed more time for discussion – this was especially relevant for the whole textile production chain as we onboarded two members in this area who have skills and knowledge and where we yet need to define which areas exactly this covers.
Proactivity as a key behaviour
The last thing that was important for us to get across was what kind of behavior we want to demonstrate within the team. During the preparation for the meeting things like team rules (be prepared for the meetings; finish tasks in time), effective communication (ask for information if it’s missing), and decision making (who takes the which decisions?) came up. In our view, the answer to all these things and many more is proactivity. Especially for a start up where many things are yet to be defined, where new people join the team, where the business plan keeps changing, it is relevant to have people that have a proactive approach towards work and take responsibility not only for their own tasks but for whatever needs to get done to evolve the business.
Finishing this first team meeting by opening a bottle of wine included many feelings: Excitement for the things yet to come, relief that there is more clarity in terms of structure and defining responsibilities, and overall a feeling of gratitude towards the people we got to know better and can do business with. Cheers to that!