Collaboration ‐ Disarmingly Simple & Rare?
When we first approached Advaitha and Juhi the creative heads of Advaith and Doh Tak Keh respectively, to share their experience of collaborating together, we weren't sure if what we were asking them to do would be a breach of contract since technically we are the sales and marketing reps for them and creating content should be 'our job'. However, the very definition of collaboration entitles us to take those risks and experiment to achieve a whole new creative goal. Read the beautiful co creative journey of these 2 designers breaking stereotypes in the voice of Advaitha, Creative Director Advaith India ‐
"I have worked with people I could absolutely not get along with, where I had to take the backseat on collaborations, but I have also worked with people who I blissfully got along with and can be inspired by and create without any qualms. I guess that’s what every designer wants with a collaboration - some space, and a Peace of Mind.
Juhi, the founder of Doh Tak Keh, and I started working together months ago. She needed someone to share her studio space with and I needed a place where I could have people help me create. It was a pretty convenient situation and seemed to work well in each of our favour. However, the real test for us was being able to create two collections in less than a month for a deadline we both had to meet.
It was stressful, we had a lot to do and COVID was looming over our heads. But once we actually managed to design and produce both our collections (very successfully and on time, might I add) with just one embroiderer, one pattern maker, and one seamster in our team we realised the whole thing went by so seamlessly and peacefully (emphasis!) that we couldn’t even fathom how we’d done it. A few things, however, really did help along the way.
1. Work with people you understand. And I really really do mean this and it is possibly the most important thing to consider. Everyone has a different approach to creating, and being able to understand that and working in harmony with it is the only way to get things done. Juhi and I are similar in the way that we’re very open to mistakes and just let the process take its course. We realised we didn't have time to stress over every single detail, and if either of us really had been super analytical, believe me we would still be sampling this collection.
2. Understanding finances - I really am nobody to be talking about finances since it’s something that I’m still trying to understand but it doesn’t have to be a very formal agreement between people. In our case, we maintain an excel spreadsheet where we log in our days and who we worked with and an expense sheet for all our bigger purchases, and tally at the end of the month. In terms of materials like threads or beads we go by the rule ‘what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine’. We purchase our own materials but if we do need to ‘borrow’, we don't even ask anymore. See, this is where mutual understanding comes in place. It always balances things out.
3. Share please! Every time either of us find a resource, like a potential vendor or something that could be helpful with, say, marketing, like The Inde Project; the first thing we do is share it with the other. This has cut down so much work for us. It’s built our list of resources and brought down time spent in focusing on everything at one time. For example, I take care of communicating with a couple vendors on behalf of the both of us, and Juhi figures out our marketing or PR. We treat each of our businesses and goals separately but work together in trying to meet them (if that makes any sense). This also plays a major role in bringing down expenses like shipping.
4. Respect and empathy - Juhi has been working with our team for quite a while now and it’s only been a few months since I joined in, however, one of the most important reasons we work well together is the fact that everyone in our studio has a mutual respect for each other. We always take it up as our responsibility to care for our team and that has really built a great level of trust, and a safe space amongst us.
5. Strengths and weaknesses - I am primarily a textile designer and Juhi is brilliant at silhouette design and construction which has worked out very conveniently for us. If I ever need help with designing, I have someone who I can reach out to whenever, and if she needs help with textiles, I’m always there. Constructive feedback also really helps in this case - you need someone to experience and critique your work in order for others to perceive it well.
6. Do your values align? Okay- so it's okay even if they don't and you have the ability to be respectful towards each other but it's even better if they do! Understand where your values lie and have someone push them back on you when you’re tempted to forgo them in exchange for something more convenient. This really helped us push each of our work to better standards and served as a constant source of inspiration. Also, it again helped when coming to sharing resources (fabrics mainly), and in turn, cutting down costs. Oftentimes, most creatives find it hard to work with others due to either a dispute in ideas or even just differences in the way they work. I guess that's the beauty of design - everyone has a different approach to it and once you understand that you can create amazing things together." To create amazing things together, the way our designers are, let us help you get your ideas from sketch to store. Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment here.