If you cook a meal and use no herbs or spices it will most likely taste bland, right? Working on a project by yourself can be limiting and lead to a boring outcome. But, just like adding flavours to a dish, collaborating with others can lead to some unexpected and amazing results.
I think the biggest thing is to overcome your fear and just ask your favourite designer, interior designer, or architect to work with you. People are scared to be judged or get rejected, but we truly believe the worst thing that could happen is the person will tell you ‘no’ and that their brand is not aligned with yours which is totally fine and you can simply move on to a new muse or collaborator. Keep trying, you will never know unless you ask!
- The big question: How do I start a collaboration?
So how do we approach designers, interior designers, or architects that we admire so much? This is the easiest part, believe me! Prepare a text or an email that includes something about yourself and your brand, what your vision is and what you are looking to achieve from the partnership. Also include the reason why you want to work specifically with this designer, interior stylist, or architect, how your brands align and how you both can benefit from the collaboration.
- Barriers to cooperation are limitless
A significant trend now in creative collaboration is to connect with other people from the far corners of the world. What would we do without the internet? It’s such a great tool and we are blessed we live in this time in history (I’m not sure how my parents lived without it). You can now easily do a Google search for designers that take your fancy and that have similar brand values to your own. We did just that and recently contacted Pavel Vetrov, who is based in Ukraine and is the most amazing designer we have ever met. Our Monolith coffee table was an incredible collaboration between him and Hegi Design House that we’re super proud of.
- Honesty and openness lead to better outcomes
We found out through practice that the most important part of a successful collaboration is open and honest dialogue. Some questions to ask yourself and your collaborator include:
- What are you really looking to achieve?
- What really matters to you (your values)?
- What are your expectations on my part?
Recently we have been looking for a collaborator for the design of a daybed we had in mind. We found an incredible product designer Patryk Koca to work with and have been very honest in addressing what we can and cannot do in the workshop. For example, we don’t have a CNC machine, so we cannot produce certain parts of the design. We’ve found that being very honest and open about your strengths and weaknesses will help everyone to understand their roles in the collaboration so that no one’s expectations are out of sync with reality. I also think working with someone in a creative way can form a really personal bond and clear and concise communication is the best way to build camaraderie and trust.
- Success comes from a generous exchange of information
In point 3 I mentioned the importance to share your weaknesses and your strengths. In the early days we thought that being honest and exchanging information could harm our business. We have been proven wrong time and time again, and by openly exchanging information and knowledge, we’ve been able to create incredible furniture designs and built long-lasting connections with our collaborative partners. Offering designers different design ideas, you have in mind and allowing them to inject their own unique style and expertise always leads to a strong bond and unique products. Like we said before, everyone has specific expertise in their own fields and combining knowledge together results in greater outcomes.
- Agreement between you and your business partner
Entering a collaboration means also being happy to agree on certain things such as royalty fees, intellectual property rights, the use of the design, the obligation of you and the designer etc. This is a very important process in any creative collaboration, so please be aware of this and make sure you have an agreement in place for every project you take on. That way everyone involved will know all the information up front so that there’s no surprises down the track.
I hope that helped you to feel a bit more ready for your next collaboration work!
Warm hugs (it is super cold here in Gerringong),