Note: This is a collaborative post with Tahir Fayyaz of Candy Pulse online merchandise.
A big and growing trend has emerged for creatives to expand their reach (and income) through product-creation in the form of placing designs on t-shirts, selling prints, making knitted products, posters, toys and other merchandise.
Sites like Etsy, Threadless and CafePress are making this a viable and easy option for more and more creatives, whether this be in providing the means to sell products or actually help create them.
This provides for great extra income potential, as well as a chance to further market your own brand and work.
Steve Harrington’s collaboration with InCase.
This is all good stuff. However, there can be a noticeable difference in terms of earnings and self promotional power through actually collaborating with a brand (established or otherwise) to produce your own line of products or have your design as part of a series.
You could work with companies such as a clothing line, toy manufacturers, iphone skin-makers, gift brands, stationers and others.
So, to take uploading your work to websites a step further, make the move to contacting a brand, creative group or company you like and get a conversation going on potential collaborations you could contribute to. Get on the phone and arrange a meeting with them if you can.
Even if a collaboration doesn’t go ahead initially, taking action in this way will have a positive impact on your self promotion efforts and image.
You will be regarded as enthusiastic, action-prone, innovative and confident in your own work by those you contact and may be called upon in the future.
Above: Droplets from Jam Factory, and Tokyo Plastic’s collaboration with Terratag.
As Tahir says, this is hugely beneficial from a business side too, because it will get you thinking about how it all works within all the different industries and products you work with.
Here are some ideas on collaborating with companies that could get your work really noticed and boost your income:
1. Making toys with a designer toy company. For example, the ‘Droplets‘ toys through Jam Factory and Crazy Label.
2. Work with a T-shirt brand who you think could work with your style. Tokyo Plastic and Terratag are a good example of a collaboration as their styles appeal to a similar market.
3. Accessories for various gadgets like the iPad are a big industry at the moment. InCase’s collaborations with artists like Steve Harrington is a good example of a successful convergence of company and talent.
So have a brainstorm on what types of products or collaborations with other companies you could come up with and give appropriate companies a call.
Thanks Tahir for your ideas and work on this.
Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section below this post!