Wearables chatted with Erich Campbell, who just joined DecoNetwork as its partner relationship manager, about how to improve the industry and the best advice he’s ever received.
Share your biggest current challenge you’re experiencing at work.
EC: My biggest current challenge is also the thing that has me the most excited; it’s the transition from being the on-the-ground technician creating decorations to being a facilitator and educator. Through my writing and interaction with my industry friends as well as my recent foray into direct education at trade-shows, I’ve had experience on this side of the fence, but it is still strange not to jump in and do the work myself. That said, I can’t think of a better place to be than to be able to help so many decorators and to be involved in the development of a product that can help be more successful.
What’s the best business-related compliment you’ve received?
EC: Recently, it would have to be from one of my seminar attendees, upon reaching the Q&A segment of our workshop, he waited anxiously through all the questions to talk to me personally. I’ll paraphrase, but he essentially said this, “I’ve been struggling with embroidery; the people in my business were so frustrated that we couldn’t get the quality we wanted. I didn’t understand, even the first things you said I didn’t understand – but when you finished the teaching today I suddenly understood everything. All of it made sense and I know what to do. I can’t wait to get back to it.” Admittedly, it made me wonder if I should change the order of my topics, but at the same time, being able to foster that kind of understanding and motivation is exceedingly rare and wonderful. The idea that I now have a mandate to do this kind of work every day rather than just permission to do so on my own time is just fantastic.
What’s one thing you’d do to improve the industry?
EC: I’d absolutely increase the amount of education and cooperation in all sectors; I think this is already happening with the rise of content marketing, but I can’t wait to see it permeate all segments of the industry. The free exchange of ideas and techniques helps us all improve and be the best decorators (and industry service providers) we can be. If we can encourage conversations, engage in focused, open listening, and encourage everyone to develop and use their voices, to share their work and their perspectives, I think we could vastly improve our industry and its visibility.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
EC: I’ve received so much good advice that it’s hard to choose- every piece I choose leaves out a hundred others I could share, but I’d like to give a little praise to something that someone in my new organization told me before I started; those of you who know Mietek from DecoNetwork may know that he’s not a ham like myself and probably wouldn’t want the spotlight here, but this is sincerely true; he told me that he is only comfortable when he’s uncomfortable. By this, he meant that growth only happens when one extends themselves beyond the comfortable sphere of routine and extends themselves; I really ruminated on that. Much as I am proud of my work as a digitizer and I’ll never leave it entirely behind, I am getting used to the minor discomfort and major excitement of being the ‘new guy’ and having a second act to my career that allows me to use my experience and my comfort in garment decorating to achieve something bigger that affects so many decorators.