Growing your business is an exciting and a big step but it certainly doesn’t come without its challenges. Back in 2009 I did a lot of thinking and soul searching about what was next for Le Papier Studio. Up to that point, my business had been very successful and naturally I wanted to grow it to the point of a recognizable brand – of which I am so proud of today!
And to do that, what better way than pairing up with artists whose work I admired! I knew the collaborations I had in mind were going to make my brand bigger and better.
The very first company I reached out to was Laurel Denise. We clicked from our very first phone conversation. It was like we had known each other for years. We feel the same way almost 3 years later. Laurel has been a pleasure to work with and in the process we’ve become great friends. We email each other often with business and life related questions. Laurel recently became a mama, so we have than in common now as well.
A new jewelry line, the ever – so – popular Laser Cut collection was born and quickly became our bestseller. You can imagine how we both feel about our collaboration!
Around that same time I joined forces with Paloma’s Nest to come up with another great product – our Silhouette Ornaments. Paloma’s Nest creates the blanks for our ornaments out of the finest materials which we than grace with our silhouettes. What a perfect combination!
I started collaborating with Elephannie – the leading Etsy shop on wall decals also in 2009. Back than, Elephannie was one of the few shops on Etsy that offered custom cut decals. We launched a collection of Silhouette Decals which continues to be one of our bestselling home decor products. Coren is the sweetest gal on earth not to mention a super business woman and a mother!
Last, but certainly not least, we paired up with My Perennial – a Chicago based company that offers one of a kind gifts and accessories for the modern home. Jen (the heart and soul behind My Perennial) and I met over lunch on a Saturday and ended up chatting for a few hours. We talked about business, life and family and it felt so good to connect with a fellow local small business owner. We collaborated in creating these lovely Canvas Silhouette Pillows – which have been so well received.
These collaborations have been a two-fold – they have helped grow my brand while maintaining and staying true to my story and they have been mutually beneficial for both sides. How can you benefit from collaborations? There are a few essential steps that make for great collaborations:
1. Approach a company/artist whose work you love
Collaborating with someone whose work you admire, is beneficial as it allows both companies to build off of each others’ expertise and talents. But first and foremost, you must find the right company/individual to collaborate with. This means you should research and write down exactly what you’re looking to achieve from this collaboration. What do you like best from the company you want to collaborate with? Is it their design esthetics, their sense of style, the way they market their business?
2. Communicate and listen to what they have to say
Communication is key when you start out and throughout your collaboration. Be open to new ideas and suggestions. The best of products are born from brainstorming amongst companies. A true collaboration is the best way to illustrate each companies’ strengths. When I approached Laurel Denise, I had an idea of what the product would be – but I was open to her suggestions which we ended up going with. I trusted (still do) Laurel’s expertise and years later they haven’t let me down.
3. Develop a working plan and goals together
Keep in mind that a collaboration is for the benefit of both companies. In today’s economy, collaboration is an evolving business model in that each party receives value from one another rather than exist on its own. Take for example marketing. A company that is focusing their attention in marketing itself is missing a huge opportunity to market. When two companies are working together in marketing a new product, their efforts are rewarded many times more.
4. Work as a team and be respective of each other
Treat others the way you wish to be treated! This goes without saying. Collaborating offers amazing opportunities for companies but none of it would be possible without the basic understanding of respect. When you enter into an agreement to collaborate with a fellow artist/company make it your top priority to be respectful towards their time and talents.
I am constantly researching of other companies/artists I can collaborate with in bringing my customers new products and services they’d appreciate. Currently I am working with a few more artists and hope our collaborations will be making their debut soon.
On a personal side, it’s nice to work with like-minded artists whose work you adore. On the business side of things, you have an opportunity to create a product you’ve been dreaming about and in the process take your business to the next level.
Have you collaborated with other companies/artists? If so, please your thoughts on this subject in the comments area below. If you have any questions, please free to leave them below as well.
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