A couple of months ago, we decided to partner up with an incredibly dynamic girl from Montreal named Matu. She’s a great crafter, creating beautiful leather goods in her own workshop. At this moment, to us, she seemed unreachable. Today, we proudly share common products imagined by us all, crafted by her and sometimes, have a drink together!
But wait, why would you partner up with anyone?
We’ve learned so much from this experience. It all began with the idea of a product we wanted to sell, but the problem was that we simply didn't have the necessary skills. We are designers, not architects nor leather workers obviously. Let’s find someone who can do it for us!
Right, but now where? Who? How?
When it all began, back in November 2014, partnering sounded like a fancy thing to do when you run your business. We were hearing everyone around us saying “Hey, we’ve partnered up with this hot trendy guy, with this awesome new company… to bring you the best service in town!” and then, a really strange feeling appeared: We were afraid that nobody would want to partner up – aka. be friends – with us.
We reached friends of friends on Facebook, did some Google research, cruised markets until we spotted a couple of great workers with products we loved. We simply wrote them emails with a 100% answer rate and then, met up with those who were interested in having a beer. We began to understand that it’s all about connections and not really money or fame.
Our tips: To know if (s)he’s the One, begin by asking yourself 3 simple questions:
- Do I know him/her?
- Do I trust him/her?
- Have I already used his/her product?
It was quite difficult not to see similar workers or companies as competitors. Your alliance can be powerful, you may serve your clients better, combine your visibility, add value to both sides.
Alright so how do we “set up” a partnership?
" Well, we’re not a big company, there are only two of us and a dog hence, so we had absolutely no idea where to begin."
MISTAKE #1: NOT DOING PAPERWORK.
Bah: ( Unfortunately, you HAVE to write somewhere in a Google Doc all the details of your partnership. Be brave. What you want is to keep a healthy relationship in the long run, especially if you start something with a friend or family member. Write down what you will exchange, how much, when, the prices, how you deal with it if everything goes wrong (or everything ends well!) and approve it on both sides. Sounds boring I know, but necessary. You need to talk enough about every detail, be honest on both sides. Don’t start too quickly especially when you don’t know your future partner. Oh and be realistic about your goals, you’re rapidly ready to conquer the world when it comes to combining strengths.
MISTAKE #2: THINKING IT’S ALL WON.
Have lunches together, meet online… we’ve lost precious partners because we weren’t capable of maintaining close relationships, a synonym of confidence. Also, like in a couple, it’s a two-sided effort. Think long term!
MISTAKE #3: NOT KNOWING THE TYPE OF PARTNERSHIP YOU WANT TO SET UP.
Do we only talk about them? Them about us? Is it sufficient? Do we pay them only the price of goods? A salary? Do they have to work for free in exchange for visibility?
Well, to choose, there’s no secret: discuss and be realistic. Do not pull strings, don’t let yourself be abused also, just be honest. Everybody has something great to put on the table. Make a list of your commitments and stick to them.
We’ve definitely realized that it’s only the beginning of a long journey made of happiness and sometimes, deceptions. Having a product you never thought you could create in your hands is so exciting. Having someone letting you down when it comes to delivering items to customers is also part of the game.
If you’re also going through all these exciting highs and lows, drop us a line so that we can all congratulate each other on making things happen anyway.