I had a gut feeling that advertising in the Oh My! Handmade Creative Marketplace would be one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made, but I had no idea how much goodness would come in the way it did. When I signed up, I wasn’t aware that I’d also get a membership to the community forums which were still being built and I also didn’t know how many amazing people I would connect with there.
When the forums launched, I joined in slowly, traipsing around behind the scenes for a while, posting the occasional comment but really just soaking it in. Around June, I started to feel a little lull in my workload and I popped into a thread about collaborating on “sweet t-shirt designs.” Jenelle, from TrashN2Tees, was looking to pair up with some designers that have the skills to make designs for screen-printed t-shirts, a new product she wanted to explore.
Although I’ve worked with many clients on graphic designs, this world of more unstructured, community driven collaboration was new to me. I followed along behind the scenes for a while again, watching the brainstorming and excitement unfold…until…Jenelle posted a list of fun character ideas and my eyes stuck on the word “lumberjack.” I have no idea why I was so drawn to that idea, but I started to sketch some different lumberjack characters and then shyly shared my favorite sketch in the forums. He was a pretty big hit, a heart-throb with the ladies!
Jenelle was a fan as well, so we set up a phone date to talk about the details, and how working together could be mutually beneficial. We spoke on the phone for nearly two hours- our creative minds connecting instantly. I learned more about TrashN2Tees business philosophy and the incredibly creative and driven woman behind it. We brainstormed other products that could coordinate with the tees, like a fabric collection, a cut and sew kit, pillows, paper products, etc. We started to dive into the details of cross-promotion. Jenelle even gave me some excellent advice on SEO and streamlining my Etsy shop. Not only did I make a business connection, I made a friend!
After that, things pretty much started to rock-and-roll. I got to working on drawing up the lumberjack in Illustrator and creating the fabric designs, while getting input from Jenelle and the OMHG community. Jenelle worked on important business details, figuring out how to make the screen-printing come together, while also whipping up some wickedly handsome little lumberjack appliques made from t-shirt scraps.
Because of Jenelle’s brilliance with her business and with her networking and marketing genius, some big things started to happen! Jenelle was invited to show off her goods at the 2013 New York City Times Square EcoFest Fashion Show, which happened on August 25th. What a perfect opportunity to share the new lumberjack line with the fashion world!
But before the fashion show, she put her brilliance to the work again and came up with the idea to have a lumberjack party with some friend’s children, with the intention of rallying excitement and also getting some fantastically styled pictures. Since the fabric was just about done, I sent her a few yards of it and she sewed her heart out, making some skirts, constructing the cut and sew plushies, and creating some marvelous lumberjack hats. The party was a success and the pictures that came from it are adorable. She honestly amazes me.
As August 25th closed in on us, I helped Jenelle put together a lookbook to bring to the fashion show along with the added help of Jessika and the OMHG community. Jenelle was nervous about being part of such a big event, but we (OMHG) had faith in her and cheered her through! The fashion show was full of excitement and went off without a hitch, as the lumberjack line was debuted for the first time!
Today we are excited to announce the launch our full line of lumberjack goodies! TrashN2Tees is featuring recycled screenprinted & appliqued tees and cut and sew softie kits in her shop. Joyful Roots is carrying coordinating fabric for all the sewists and DIYers out there. We are still brainstorming more ideas like lumberjack party invitations, printables (thanks, Jessika, for the idea), and cell phone cases and it’s most likely that the range of products will continue to grow. We still have a couple of limited edition items in our shop from our pre-release, like hybrid screenprint/applique shirts and limited edition fabric bundles but they are going fast.
What’s more, a portion of the proceeds from our launch sales at both TrashN2Tees & Joyful Roots will be used to plant trees in the Atlantic Forest, to help protect and restore a natural treasure through PlantABillion.Org.
You can join us on social media today via the hashtag #lumberjackattack to get involved in the fun! We have a few things up our sleeves, that may just involve adorning yourself in an orange burly beard.
We will also be taking part in some other exciting opportunities like the National Sewing Month Giveaway at The Sewing Loft starting September 22nd. Jenelle is on a roll, having recently signed a book deal and been declared a finalist for the 2013 NYER Small Business Awards in Green Business Best Practices (at which ceremony she will hopefully be adorning a cute lumberjack dress).
For me personally, I can’t imagine how different my business and my day to day life would be without the Oh My! Handmade Community. Not only did it open the doors for such a significant collaboration, it has brought me deep and lasting friendships, advice & support, taught me new skills, pushed my creative boundaries, inspired me to advance my business, and has given me the feeling of belonging while I work alone from my home studio. Thank you, Jessika, for creating such a magical place. I know something like this could not exist without your wise and kind heart, dedication, and bravery!
The OMHG community helped start this collaboration now let’s help launch it! Visit Jenelle’s launch party post & learn how you can join in the party. Spread the news far and wide using the #LumberjackAttack hashtag, and meet up with Jenelle and Kimberly when they co-host an #OMHG chat on creative collaborations Thursday, September 19 from 1-2pm EST!