They say you can’t mix business with friendship because when you do, the lines blur between what's right and wrong. Problems arising from working with a friend include jealousy, frequent misunderstandings that give way to conflict and the loss of professionalism over time.
But Mohd Hafizi Radzi Woo (Fizi) and Izree Kai Haffiz (Kai) prove that with the right attitude, you can defy the odds.
Fiziwoo was founded in 2009 by Fizi and was joined by Kai two years later. The duo faced a lot of hardship in their journey towards success but their shared troubles have strengthened their bond over the years.
Today, Fiziwoo's designs are taking the Malaysian fashion scene by storm, with famous faces like Marion Caunter, Fyza Kadir and Tasha Shilla often spotted in their peplum-atic creations. Starting from next month, Fiziwoo will also be available at multi-brand stores in London, Paris, Nigeria, Jakarta, Brunei, Singapore and Kuwait.
Fizi and Kai, who are featured in our Generation T List this year, dishes out useful tips on nurturing a successful business while maintaining a strong friendship as a foundation.
1. Strike a balance
"I'll be honest, having a business together and remaining the best of friends is not easy. It takes a lot of coordination for us to work so it’s important to understand each other, tolerate bad habits and of course, compromise. Fizi and I balance each other out because we understand each other’s way of doing things. For example, I’m more extroverted and he’s an introvert, so it’s a good mix," says Kai.
2. Always support each other
"Some days, I’ll have a creative block during the designing stage but Kai knows how to handle the situation smoothly. He’ll suggest I go home for a few hours to take a breather and come back to work when I’m refreshed," adds Fizi.
3. Have fun outside of work
"When you are committed to your work, it consumes a lot of your energy. Fiziwoo is our 'baby' and we are like parents fussing over our child. It's important to know how to have fun together outside of work to release stress—and keep the friendship," opines Kai.
4. Give each other space
"Kai and I see each other every single day and there often comes a time when we just can’t stand seeing each other’s faces. It’s crucial to have a close friend outside of your friendship that you can vent to, to give each other space," says Fizi.
For more stories on achieving balance, click to read how entrepreneur and mother of three Datin Dian Lee finds Zen in the chaos of life