I don't mean to sound sycophantic, but working on the Rock n Roll Bride for Crown and Glory collection has definitely been one of my favourite projects to date! Thinking back to the seedling of an idea I had to collaborate with Kat way back in March, and seeing where the collection has landed up today just makes my heart sing. Designing the pieces in line with Kat's vision, testing my own skillset and learning new techniques, thinking up cute ideas for the collateral; it's all got my creative juices well and truly flowing! No matter how much you love what you do, there are periods within business that can become stagnant - there's only so many rose headbands that can keep a girl sane, yknow! So it's incredibly important to mix things up, take some risks and just have some fun! Here are my top tips for a successful brand collaboration;
- Partner up with a brand, designer or individual that gets what you do! The best brand collaborations are those that can translate super easily between the others' customer base. The collaboration needs to have a comfortable fit, for everyone involved, or it could just become a car crash. Lanvin for H&M? YES! 100 times yes! Kate Moss for Carphone Warehouse? Not so much...
- Talk money, super early on. Time to put on your big-girl panties- having the dreaded moolah talk doesn't come that easily for a lot of people (especially us British!) but it lays out both parties expectations and hopes for the collaboration from the very start. You could consider signing an up-front payment type deal, a commission based deal or a mixture of the two. Whichever which way fits for you both, get your cards on the table as soon as possible to save embarassing conversations later on.
- Don't let it detract from your bread and butter. New stuff is super duper exciting and it could become really easy to get swept away in it and forget your core customer base, and all of a sudden you've a whole bunch of bills to pay and no orders to cover them. Set yourself a deadline that will allow you to work on both the new project and your existing commitments seamlessly.
- Communicate! Both Kat and I are self-confessed, prolific emailers; in fact, during the 4 months we've been working on this collection we've exchanged over 500 emails. What can I say, we like to talk, and mostly about our cats and glitter. While not all parties will require this level of inbox violation, make sure you're keeping everyone in the loop and they'll likely respond the same.
- Get something on paper. Depending on the type of relationship you have, even if you're collaborating with the best of friends it's still a good idea to right down what both parties are bringing to the collaboration. Again with the Money Talk, it'll save either party getting the wrong end of stick. You can go down the solicitor route, type up a list of your responsibilities and goals, or sign the back of a napkin; whichever is suitable for your partnership.
Most of all, have fun! If your collaboration isn't putting a fire in your belly and a smile on your face, it's probably not the right direction for you to put valuable time and resources right now. Do your research, aim to learn new skills, take a few risks; and keep pink champers on ice for your launch date!
Photos by Alexa Loy