Joanna Buettner and I first met for coffee. A special gleam in her eye drew me in from the minute we sat down. It was a gleam characterized by accomplishment, inspiration and excitement and for the next hour I was sucked into the story of how she took a unique challenge to stretch her boundaries and truly grow.

Joanna experienced first-hand how empowering it is to think big and succeed in unexpected tasks.

Life presents us with all sorts of hurdles and it’s our choice if we decide to hit the ground running and soar above them or side-step them altogether. The thing is we’re pretty much hard-wired to avoid discomfort, yet that’s where we grow the most and realize just how much we can do.

That’s what Joanna and her colleagues learned. As one of the seven pattern makers working on Apparel, Joanna and her colleagues were asked to throw away the ordinary process and think big.

Mission: Possible

Usually pattern makers get a brief from the design and marketing teams with information on how the future season’s patterns for apparel should be constructed. They add some input and then execute. Getting involved much later in the season, their ability to add to the creative concepts was limited. The new challenge to the team was to create a pattern concept already for the season kick-off.

Never before did they have the opportunity to describe their vision in this way during season kick-off and it was a bit unnerving, but the intention was clear: highlight the team’s creativity, passion, dedication, experience and confidence.

Back to the Roots

“Usually we work in a digital pattern system. This time we started with hard sketches. We were creating our patterns from draped pieces and everything was hand-made. We were putting all of our knowledge and experience to the test”, Joanna explains.
It was also the first time the pattern making team would be briefing graphics designers to help them illustrate their creative vision.
The challenge brought everyone together. They brainstormed as one team, cross-checking, exchanging learnings and creating mockups to constantly refine the construction and fit of their concepts.
The whole team even changed their workspace and spent most of their time in the sample shop so they could really create the new. “We got to go back to the roots of our professions and brought the tricks of our trade to life,” Joanna recounts.
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Show Time

After six weeks, it was time for each pattern maker to present their fresh concept and sample at the season kick-off, Trend Day. As I sat watching the models take their turns on the catwalk wearing these beautiful and innovative garments, I surveyed the room and saw a captive and inspired audience. Joanna and her colleagues jumped right into the unknown, believed in themselves and presented their ideas with pride and confidence amongst a highly experienced group of their peers.

Joanna explained: “Each pattern maker presented a unique garment. I think everyone was blown away by the diverse and creative ideas our team unleashed! ...
... It was a really proud moment...
... And it turns out that going away from the systematic approach also cracked open potential new directions for us in our daily business.”
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Haven’t we all been there? We’re offered an opportunity but at first we hesitate as we look at the enormity of it. Soon however – as we start to stretch ourselves, as we break our patterns and build new capabilities, as we blow right past our doubts – we realize that without such trials we could never become the better version of ourselves.

I smiled as Joanna summed it up perfectly at the end of our coffee talk that day, “I’m lucky I got to be a part of it because it’s true – the biggest challenge is actually your biggest opportunity!”

Joanna and team profited from taking on the challenge - now it's your turn.

Tell us how you are breaking old patterns and stretching out of your comfort zone in your work, sport or life!

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by Elly Kapyela 29.08.2016
As a start up company with no sponsors at our back, we tend to stretch ourselves in all ways to meet our targets..!

We are suppose to take videos and pictures in all Basketball activities for now( all sports later), yet we do not have professional cameras, so we use Smart phones to do so..! and in the end we Advertise and promote the game of basketball in our Region the most..!
It's easy to retreat and surrender and remain in our COMFORT ZONE since we do not have the tools to do so,. But this, never being a setback because we have the PURPOSE to fulfill and YOUNG TALENTED kids to promote and advertise.. Doing this we inspire ourselves and the community at large.

View more of our work in our YouTube Channel @Basketball255
and our Facebook page @Basketball255
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