SECRET INGREDIENTS / 03
we all have those companies we love, and with a sigh say “i wish i could work with THEM!” i know i do, and it’s been so rewarding to actually get to do projects with the brands i’ve admired for so long.
there are a few tricks i’ve picked up along the way that have helped me to get some really cool opportunities, but the most important thing you have to do is PITCH!
if you want the chance to work with a company, reach out to them, show them you get it and that you can create something really cool that aligns with and enhances their brand. SHOW rather than TELL them that you understand their brand and know how to reinterpret it.
here is the process i go through when pitching a new client:
• first i’m going to pick a company i love and whose aesthetic is somewhat in brand with my own. for this example we’ll use kate spade.
• then i’m going to come up with an idea of how i can make the partnership come to life: throwing a daytime party at my home using kate spade products. (they would give me a budget to create this party content, and we would work together to make the party come alive on designlovefest and possibly their site as well.)
• next i’ll create some graphics that will make them feel something, and show them what exactly i can offer. its’ important to make them visualize your collaboration.
for this kate spade party i’m going to create…
-moodboards with color scheme, photography style, etc. you can use color and patterns to evoke emotion, as well as photos that are unrelated but still create that feeling.
you can see here i didn’t just put up pictures of dinner parties, but cool images that all add up to set the tone of the project. it’s vital to do your research here. you really have to understand the brand inside and out, so take the time to dig around. look at what the brand pins on pinterest, read their blog. you can even use things they’ve put out there and put your own spin on it.
• a product roundup – this is where i pick my favorite items from the brand to highlight. when you’re making this, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to use all products from the brand. i’m showing dishes and an outfit from kate spade that will be linked back to them, but you can pick supporting pieces from anywhere to create a cohesive styleboard that doesn’t feel contrived or over-branded. the entire party obviously isn’t going to be kate spade, but they just need to see you will represent their products in a beautiful way…
above: statement necklace / tumblers / striped bowl / festive plates and cups / party dress
• examples of what you would create once hired. you really want them to feel like they’re already working with you and that the partnership is seamless and makes sense. for example, if you wanted to do a video, creating a still-frame mock-up allows them to really imagine the final product. it’s also really important to include as many examples of past work of an equivalent style that you’re really proud of as you can. like, “for instance we shot this video that i think could have a similar vibe.” and hotlink that so they can see you know how to actually execute your ideas.
when you have this, draft an email to the right person (research again!) saying that you love the brand and would love the chance to work with them on this project. explain the vibe, when you’d like to make it happen. if they respond and they seem interested you can give them a quote for your services. here’s mine…(ps, you can include more specifics under each category. example: “5 final retouched photos” or “1-2 minute video”)
this part is important–people can really underestimate the time it takes to create something like this. you may need to hire photographers, stylists, videographers, etc. plus your time designing, managing the project, posting and more, so really budget for what you will need to make this work. make sure your pricing is on point and that you know what you’re worth!
once you have all this together, attach any other pertinent docs (like your media kit if you’re a blogger—show them your reach, influence and audience) thank them for their time and send! short and sweet.
chances are the company will be excited about the prospect of working with you—after all, you’ve eliminated most of the work for them! any good company worth its salt will be open and excited to new and fresh ideas, and even if this one pitch doesn’t pan out you will definitely be on their radar for future projects. this i can promise.