This month was a proud month for me - I had a tutorial on making a lampshade featured on the Spoonflower Blog! You can read it here, and see the lampshade below. This was the result of working with two professional partners - Dannells, who provided the lampshade making materials - and Spoonflower, who provided the fabric, printed up in my Woodpecker with Orange Berries Design. In this blog post, I'm going to share what the experience was like, and what I learnt.
First of all, it is important to explain why I chose to collaborate with Dannells and Spoonflower - and that is because I was already an experienced user of their products. Through Spoonflower, I sell a collection of fabric designs. I have sewn a whole range of items using their fabrics, and I rate the quality of their printed fabric in terms of colour saturation and accuracy; the level of detail reproduced; and their light-fast inks. Using the lampshade making materials sold by Dannells, I have made many different lampshades of all shapes and sizes. Their kits are easy to use and their materials are very high quality - the resulting lampshades are built to last. It was essential to me that I collaborated with partners whose products I was happy to endorse.
So how did I approach these partners and win their interest in collaborating on a post? Well, I had already featured a number of lampshade tutorials here on my Three Bears Prints blog, including using a lampshade kit and making a large-scale lampshade. When promoting these on Facebook, I was sure to tag Spoonflower and Dannells, so they could see what I was creating using their products. When I decided to approach them, I was able to demonstrate that both the blog and Facebook posts had been popular, and could have wide appeal. I was able to make the case that it would be beneficial for all of us to collaborate - people could see how they could use Spoonflower and Dannells products to create something unique for their home - and I would have the opportunity to share my learning and showcase my Woodpecker fabric design.
The experience of creating this blog post was a fun one. The aim of the blog post was to show how easy it is to make a lampshade if you use a kit - anyone can do it. I recruited one of my friends, Andrea, to make it. She is a fantastic sewist, so although she had never made a lampshade before, I knew she had a great eye for detail and is very precise. Another friend, Rachel, came to take the photographs. I am extremely grateful to both of them! Then came the hard part - pulling together the blog post, and making sure I stuck to the guidelines for the Spoonflower Blog. Once the draft had been submitted, my collaborators at Spoonflower and Dannells did a great job of making sure that the instructions were clear. The editing stage took a considerable period of time, as we all had to be happy with the content. In fact, the whole process - from initial contact to publication - has taken just over 6 months.
The whole experience was positive, and I learned a lot. Things I would do differently? This would include taking more time with staging the photographs, and doing it in a room with better natural light. Nonetheless, I have been amazed and impressed by how inviting the post looks. The visual appeal, together with the edits made by Spoonflower to make the language encouraging and friendly is something I have learned from. And the impact of the blog post? I've noticed a spike in website views, lots of downloads of my free lampshade tutorial, as well as an increase in sales of my fabric designs. It has also allowed me to establish a relationship with my collaborators at Spoonflower and Dannells, and I am now working with them on a number of new projects. So if you are an artist or crafter, and you have an idea for a project which you would like to collaborate on with a specific partner, I would encourage you to go for it!