On the other side of finding new collaborations, keeping expectations in check and taking care of whoever you choose to work with, lies an important question. What’s the cut? What’s the economic benefits from collaborating? DANISH™ asked three Danish brands about this. Design is at its strongest when independent and free – this benefits everyone, they believe.
ONECOLLECTION: CEO and Co-Founder Henrik Sørensen
Despite the fact that having too many soft values in a company can be an Achilles heel, the two founders of Onecollection were very keen not to measure their collaborations in just numbers or market shares: “It’s simply not our approach. When we enter collaborations, we expect it to be a long process. Looking back, we have over time been very patient – but this is important as we know that good things develop slowly,” he says. A long-lasting collaboration might easily appear as a form of employment, but at Onecollection they take a different view:
“It’s an advantage for the design to be independent. In this way, the two parties are more equal in some funny way and you get more respect about each other’s work. It’s way too easy to agree on everything if it’s kept within the company, such as when a company has its own in-house design department.” Finishing off, Henrik Sørensen adds one more comment that refers back to the soft values of Onecollection: “At the end of the day, we really prefer to collaborate with people we enjoy working and having fun with. And often, the best ideas don’t show up during office hours!”.
MATER: CEO and Founder Henrik Marstrand
As the CEO of a company that works with external investors, Mater needs to also be able to measure its sales and turnover. Market share issues can be tricky, but one thing the company thinks is also important to focus on in the business side of a collaboration is its PR value: “Measuring the PR value of a collaboration is particularly important to us when working with designers who are connected to us with more than one collection. Some things have a great PR value and naturally get a lot of publicity, and these attract customers and help the sales of other, more commercial products done by the same designer,” he explains.
As for the economical perspectives of a collaboration being beneficial for both parties, Henrik Marstrand holds this recommendation: “With a collaboration based on royalties, everything is calculated in sales and turnover. We all have an interest in moving the product by selling it, and the designer should be able to incorporate this in their pitch”.
There is also a difference in the form of working. “For a designer, a regular employment contract contains the risk of becoming a pretext for inaction, where the commercial interests within a design might not get enough attention,” Marstrand explains, and supplements his statement with this view: “I believe in collaboration as opposed to hiring, as a collaboration encourages people to challenge themselves. That goes for the designer as well as for the company, who continuously need to evaluate how the collaboration can create value. I also like the larger amount of flexibility collaboration allows as you are not that attached to one another so you can make changes if things are not working out well.”
AVIENDO FAIRY TALES: CEO and Founder Anders Nielsen
For Anders Nielsen, measuring the value of a collaboration is relatively simple: Does the product sell or not? If not, within a collaboration, both parties have a degree of flexibility, which also explains the advantage of a collaboration for both the company and the designer: “Along with the idea of sharing and learning when working on different projects, at the same time there is total flexibility for both parties, which can only be a good thing,” says Anders Nielsen, who continues: “A design project is seldom full-time and employment is often not viable, especially for smaller companies. This solution also gives the designer the possibility to work on – and earn money from– several projects at the same time. Most would probably call it a win–win.”
This article is the last one in a series of four articles about scaling the size of your business through collaborations.
and finally about how human relations affect a cooperation.