Three Ancestor Approved Reasons to Choose Collaboration Over Competition

Written by Kristin Farmer


Posted on March 01 2021

As one of America’s trendiest black-owned gift shops, Curly Contessa prides itself on having the perfect present to help women feel seen and appreciated for their accomplishments. Being the inventors of central heating, windshield wipers, medical syringes, and life rafts, one would think that women’s contributions to society would go unquestioned. And yet, it wasn’t until March of 1982 that President Ronald Raegan established Women’s History Week in recognition of women’s significant contributions to the growth and development of America. 

The country may have been slow to notice, but entrepreneurial women, like Madam C.J Walker, for instance, had been developing innovative solutions for centuries. After a scalp disorder left her balding without answers, Walker began creating products to nourish and not simply tame Black hair. 

Fueled by sheer tenacity, Walker went on to employ hundreds of Black women as beauty culturalists, also known as Walker agents, who received sales and cosmetics training at her Pittsburgh beauty school. 

“I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself, for I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of women of my race. ... I want to say to every Negro woman present, don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!” -Madam C.J Walker

These collaborative efforts provided financial security for an underserved population and helped the Walker brand become a nationwide household name. 

If you’re looking for ways to grow your brand here are three “Walker approved” reasons why you should choose collaboration over competition. 

  1. Competition can create bad vibes- While you should always be aware of your competitors, do not turn them into automatic enemies! Before creating her own brand, Madam C.J Walker attended Annie Turnbo Malone’s, another pioneer in the Black haircare industry, Poro College where she learned the skills to sustain her own business. 

Entering your industry with a, “me against the world”, attitude creates an isolation that could limit you from gaining knowledge and valuable relationships.

  1. Collaboration protects your peace- Collaborative environments inspire creativity, reduce stress, and allow individuals to maximize their strengths. Partner with people whose strengths offset your weaknesses to usher in peace and boost productivity. Happy people are healthier people and a healthy you stands to make more money. 
  1. Mo’ money, mo’ power- Power is defined as the ability to act or produce an effect. It is the ability to fill a need. Madam C.J Walker saw herself as the solution to a hair care crisis and often invested her profits into philanthropic efforts to help uplift the Black community. Collaborative efforts often draw larger audiences which leads to higher sales and the more money you make the more change you can create. 

Madam C.J. Walker’s goal was to help Black women create positive relationships with their hair and Curly Contessa supports this legacy by painting naturalistas on our products to instill a sense of pride. 

Just as Women’s History Week evolved into an entire month in 1987, Black women-owned businesses have continued to revolutionize society, especially when working collaboratively.