Make Your Collaborative Efforts Stronger By Doing This #Art #Fashion #Education #Tech

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In the 1989 film, Field Of Dreams, the character Joe, glances towards home plate, and says “If you build it, he will come” which is often our reason to damn there do anything we choose.

In the past 5 years I have ran into a number of AMAZING creatives in the city of New York, some who have made themselves quite popular through social media have asked me time and again to collaborate. I often declined the gesture to follow through. Not because I’m unsure of my creative being or theirs, but because I’ve been forced to learn the business of retail. This is not a good enough reason to collaborate.  Here is where many of us fall through, instead of following through. I would love to create art with amazing people all day long, but as we’ve learned, art cost money, and those supplies are hella expensive if you are not yet being paid for your talent.

“If you’re not making money, it’s just a hobby”

What about Passion?

The popular shark from Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary often says “If you’re not making money, it’s just a hobby”, hence why I often looked at the creative process differently.  Passion is a great fuel to use in business and the creative process but it’s not a good enough characteristic for decision making.  Decisions should be based on research and evidence which is often the boring stuff. Studies have shown that H&M x Designer collaborations according to Forbes (contributor Greg Petro) although very anticipated often go into discounts.  In 2015 Maison Margiela collabo with H&M resulted into discounts nationwide, while a pair of black sandals that retailed for $29.99 were originally listed for $200, and a printed clutch that cost $34.99 in-store was originally selling for $179. This was also the case between the Adidas x Kanye West releases. Adidas then made the decision to reduce the price of future releases. Although very desirably the products were unattainable to his population. Two of the most frightening experiences for a collaborators are the failure to excite consumers, and sales going up only after markdowns reach 50% or more, as the result reported by Target. Both of which has nothing to do with Passion but with the business of retail itself.

“look at your idea from a different perspective”

The Bottom Line Is:

These collaboration does not move a retailer’s bottom line, and it would not move yours. Often through collaborations many have decided to “break even” through the duration of their product, but it definitely succeed in creating a brand awareness as a “streetwear credible” artist.  Let’s say you do create something you believe is amazing. Now what, you sell it right? As a budding entrepreneur this is exactly what I thought, again, not the case. Passion should allow you to look at your idea from a different perspective, and you might be surprised by the results, according Richard Branson of Virgin.

“research skills”

Study The Types of Quality:

The best collaboration is one where various qualities can come together and equally. We can independently bring our creative & business qualities together to create with intention to go retail. Which is almost the main reason for the collaboration.  The goal of a collaboration is to first create a desirable product, the second would be the retail opportunity followed by a profit.  Often times major retailers get into collaboration not because of the profit but the brand awareness opportunity. Bringing customers into the store and creating a relationship with the movers and shakers of the streets. Billionaire Boys Club released a Limited Edition t-shirt release, not to make a profit because their LE only issued 150 t-shirts up for grabs. In this case you have to work from the end towards to the beginning.

“instant gratification”

How To Catch A Fire?

I said you have to work from the end. This means research what already exist and if your product came out today how would it compete with what already exist? What is you introduction strategy and your exit strategy? The business environment is very different from the creative world. There is a true learning experience throughout the entire process. Products usually catch a fire (success) because it fills a need within a sub/culture. Beats By Dre filled a need for “better sounding” (not the best but at the time it was better than most) headphones for a very steep price point and succeeded. Then after the success of their staple product line they created a variety that allowed them to take on the athletic department with assistance of various athletes. What is the routine of your potential consumers? Febreze has proven to break the monotony of smells. By targeting households with children & pets. Do they shop online, or enjoy the physical experience of the location? People have a choice of shopping for instant gratification versus the 3-day – 1-week rate & fees according to  Are they collectors or consumer? This is where you set the price point. Collectors would pay top dollars whereas consumers would often by it for the utility and advantages of owning the product. What’s the utility advantage of owning your product over someone else’s?  Does it fit into a specific culture & are you prepared to actually market the product within the culture? Quality of the product?  Are the benefits visible?  Try it out, and survey a number of people within the culture you intend to sell it to.  Figure out a price point, projected sales goals, strategy, profit margin you intend to make.

Final Thoughts:

Many times we have amazing ideas. Some happen to change the world, some allow us to indulge ourselves others. Is your idea a business (longevity) or is a hustle (a way to make some quick cash and exist). Having your priorities in order before you get into a collaboration is important. What do you as an individual bring to the table. A creative vision, a marketing strategy, or even the research needed which ignites the process?

Bring something else than an idea.  Bring quality to your partner and the work involved in moving forward.

Thank you & Please feel free to share this

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