by Sara Tams of sarah + abraham
When Jessika announced this month’s theme, I knew right away that I wanted to write about three successful collaborations that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of over the past few years.
The first was with Nicole at Honeybunch. Nicole and I met online shortly after I launched my Etsy shop in 2007. We got to know each other a little, and she expressed an interest in selling my products in her shop. Unfortunately, my pricing structure doesn’t work well for wholesale accounts, and Honeybunch is based in Canada, which meant higher shipping costs. Over the next couple of years we tinkered with products and pricing, continually trying to work out arrangements that would be mutually beneficial.
In August 2009 Nicole had a great idea. She was in need of a new color printer, and she asked me what I thought about her buying the same printer and materials that I use so that I could email PDFs to her instead of printing and shipping products to Canada. This has worked out beautifully. I’m happy selling PDFs to her, and she’s able to make a decent profit and deliver the products to her customers faster by printing them herself.
Later in 2009, as I was looking for new product ideas, I came across Meg’s Olliegraphic shop on Etsy. I fell in love with her illustrations and noticed that she didn’t offer printed items, only printables. I contacted her to see if she’d be interested in working together, and we were able to work out a royalty-based arrangement that has been great for both of us. The Olliegraphic line that I offer has been well received by my customers, and in addition to paying Meg royalties, I provide a link to her website on my Olliegraphic product pages so that my customers can contact her for custom designs and/or printables.
My latest collaboration was with a friend, Jen Doerzaph, who approached me with an idea to make high-quality, completely hand-sewn pillows featuring Olliegraphic designs. I ran the idea past Meg, and once she approved the designs, Jen made a bunch of samples to photograph, and we were quickly able to begin offering the pillows.
I’ve been so pleased with all of these collaborations. I think that they’ve worked out so well because all of us have been respectful of each other, flexible, and truly interested in creating arrangements that we can all be happy with. None of us are trying to get the better end of the deal or succeed at someone else’s expense. I believe that when two (or more) people enter into a collaboration with honest intentions and a desire to create a win-win situation, they can accomplish so much more than they’d be able to on their own.
Have you collaborated with other small business owners? Please leave a comment and let us know about your experiences!