Teaming Up for Creative Collaborations
Though I myself have not participated in any joint-creative-ventures, I am so intrigued by collaborative projects between fellow makers. I love to see what can happen when two makers team up to bring their crafty super powers together and develop a new offering!
Since this is not something I have firsthand experience with, but that I can see is an emerging topic of interest, and a brilliant business opportunity, I reached out to my friend Jenelle of Trashn2Tees to get some insight on collaborative projects. I specifically asked her about a recent collaboration with Kimberly of Joyful Roots.
Together, they brought a line of Lumberjack goodness to market including fabric designs and kits for making your own plush lumberjack.
Jenelle, please tell us a little bit about yourself first.
I design boys clothing and accessories made using 100% reclaimed and recycled materials available at TrashN2Tees.com. In many ways I’m a solutionist and I love the challenges that come with finding creative solutions from unwanted, unwearable, or worn out materials. To date TrashN2Tees has diverted more than 220,235 tshirts from our waste streams.
How did your lumberjack project come to be?
The #LumberjackAttack collaboration took roots in a creative community based forum on Oh My Handmade. I love working with others on projects both big and small that challenge us to think outside the box.
What was the process like going forward? How did you coordinate and communicate?
For me, it’s always an adventure to partake in someone elses creative process and I’m endlessly inspired by the possibilities. In the past I’ve collaborated with knitters, graphic designers, wood workers, soap makers, clay sculptors, and now I can add a fabric designer to my list!
Collaborations can come about many ways and for the #LumberjackAttack collab I was seeking out a graphic designer or illustrator to help me launch my screen printing styles. I had shared a few themes and ideas but for whatever reason Kimberly was seduced by the novel idea of burly men with beards and sent me an email right away.
Kim and I, having never met (and being a thousand miles apart)- made a coffee date via modern technology quickly started talking about ways that our lumberjack could potentially take over the world. Our ploys began taking place from end product out. We knew what we wanted to make & who was going to buy it.
We had a time frame, too. Jack went from being put on a screen print tshirt, to an applique design, a sewing kit, and eventually to a complete line of coordinating fabrics. (And… we’re not even finished yet!) Kim and I talked daily throughout the process- sometimes through text messages, online, or over the phone. She is amazingly talented and I’m honored for the chance to work with her.
Together we navigated pricing, percentages, rights, copy, and marketing strategies.
Tell us about bringing this product to market and how that went.
Because we openly shared updates on the collaboration within the creative community and around social media, when we finally launched our product line a virtual party ensued!
We put on our best plaid shirts, beards, and hats. I even hosted a real life Lumberjack Party to celebrate (and to get great product shots too!).
A local woodworker created handmade axes for the kids to play with! My screen print designs, which are on 100% recycled content tees (they’re made from 50% recycled cotton and 50% recycled soda bottles!!), were debuted in NYC Times Square at the EcoFest Fashion show. And our Lumberjack Sewing Kits are available in stores nationwide!
Did you learn anything about yourself, your individual business or about working collaboratively that you would like to share as a final takeaway?
I briefly mentioned that I have worked with many makers and brands alike, my collaboration with Kim and the involvement of our community ignited the fuel to a fire that was much larger than anything I could’ve (or she could’ve) done alone.
Our best work is done when we go all in and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. I’ve never ever worked with another maker and had a horrible downright awful experience- each time I challenge myself to look at things from a new perspective, be honest and respectful, and always make sure that I have something valuable to bring to the table.
The Lumberjack Launch has been featured a few different places, please visit any of the following for more:
It is clear that Jenelle and Kimberly were very successful in their collaboration and certainly this is an inspiration to me and I hope for you as well!
If you have ever participated in a collaborative project or venture, what are some key things you learned? Would you do it again?
Image Sources: TrashN2Tees