Community Over Competition: How to Collaborate with The Saddle Shoppe!
I often preach "Community over Competition", but don't always give clear ways that we can make that a reality. I LOVE working with other businesses, creatives, ranchers/moms/influencers looking for a specific product, etc. But how do these relationships come to life?
It all starts with a simple point of connection. As a business, I strive to be friendly, AND accessible. Being nice to people is only a positive, if people can actually reach you. I pride myself in quick, detailed, friendly responses, and I work hard to maintain that.
So as a business, when I am looking for new collaboration partners I am looking for a few things:
1. Someone who comes with an idea or a goal--It's an attractive attribute in a partnership, when someone knows what they want.
2. Being professional, precise, and friendly--Everyone, and I do mean everyone, wants to feel special. If you are reaching out to someone new to work with (or a seasoned partner), making them feel wanted and "worth the effort" is a major plus.
3. Paying attention to the businesses current needs, postings, and collaboration requests--nothing is worse than someone who asks "are you offering any collaboration opportunities", five minutes after you posted something regarding one on your story. If you cannot take the time to read and pay attention to my page, we probably won't be a good fit.
How to Decide What to Collaborate on:
There are two main ways to look at this: What products/services could you use some help with? Or, what businesses/people could you explore with, learn from, and improve with? To determine this, you can make lists, have individual brainstorming sessions, or wait for the inspiration to strike--but waiting has never been my thing.
What products/services could you use some help with?
This method of thought is useful when you are wanting to create a new product or service and either don't know how to create it, or find yourself incapable of certain tasks. For example, you are a clothing boutique, and you want a custom design made for a shirt. You aren't an artist, so you need help with the design work. Reaching out to an artist with your idea, is an awesome way to make a connection.
What businesses/people could you explore with, learn from, and improve with?
This method of thought is useful when you are wanting to grow and improve your business, while working with others and expanding your connections. An example of this would be, you are a clothing boutique, and you want a custom design made for sweatshirt. You are capable of drawing and printing the product yourself, but you seen an artist who designed a piece you LOVED. You want to work with them, not only to bring an amazing design to your customers, but also because you want the connection with another amazing business.
How to Reach out to The Saddle Shoppe (or other's) to Collaborate With:
How you contact a business can set the tone for the entire interaction; they say first impressions are important. I love working with new people, but I want to feel like we will be a good fit for each other before we dive right in--And I want you to know it will be worth your time and efforts too.
If you find a business on social media that you want to work with, form a friendly, well-written message requesting more information about x,y,and z or the contact information for the person in charge of collaborations. If you can, finding an email or contact person can often be even better--this shows initiative on your part--how serious are you about this collaboration opportunity?
The other big piece about a well-formed first impression, is knowing what you want, or at least some ideas. For example: "I recently found your page (or have been following you for years), and seen that you do a lot of custom artwork on your notebooks. I am a new artist looking for businesses to promote my artwork, and I think your notebooks would be an amazing opportunity for us to collaborate. I do have some samples of work I can send you. Can you send me a good contact for collaborations, and I will reach out to them with more information?"
Most often, people want to collaborate, but don't know what to collaborate on. This can be a major roadblock, but you never know until you try. For example: "I recently found your page (or have been following you for years), and seen that you feature a lot of custom artwork on your products. I am a new artist looking for businesses to collaborate with, and was wondering if you had any need for some custom artwork with any of your products? Are there any areas that I could be assistance with, as I would love to learn from you and collaborate with your amazing business."
It's not a perfect system, or a guaranteed yes. But when two brains come together, you are far more likely to come up with a way to grow and improve, than if you stay within the walls of what you already know.
Current Collaboration Partners TSS is Seeking:
I am ALWAYS open to new ways to connect--so don't let the fear of the unknown stop you from reaching out. Some of my best business relationships and products are the result of a collaboration idea.
Currently I am seeking partners for the following ideas:
1. Graphic artist/artist who can help me with my Christmas/Holiday artwork for my seasonal stationery. I don't have a huge budget for this, but would love to work with an artist who is wanting to grow and expand their business.
2. Podcast host looking for someone to come speak on their show about small business tips, collaboration, and/or starting up a business. Really putting myself out here, but I want to get more into speaking and would love to be a guest on someones podcast!
3. A engaged couple looking for someone to design a custom whimsical/western invitation suite, at a highly discounted price. It is NOT wedding preparation season for most, which is why it is the perfect time--I'm not overly busy, and have the creative itch to create something special!
4. Boutiques wanting to expand their western gift section, coming into this holiday season. I have had the incredible opportunity to work with some boutiques on wholesale stationery for this holiday season--but, as busy season is approaching here at TSS, I fear I can only take on a few more wholesale orders. If you are interested, let's work together sooner, rather than later.
Interested in one of the above opportunities? Have other collaboration ideas? Want to work together, but aren't sure how? Send me an email at email@example.com, and let's connect today!
So, What's Next?
No matter if it is with The Saddle Shoppe, or another business, being friendly and interested is the first step in a strong, lasting partnership. It might take months, or years to come up with the perfect idea to collaborate on, but if you never make the connection, the opportunity might just drift on past you, without you even knowing. Take the risks in life--it's worth it!
Let's make a list together: In the comments, leave a collaboration idea (either something/someone you are looking for), or a collaboration opportunity (something you can offer to someone else). Can't wait to see the amazing community of collaboration, we can create!