What makes for a successful collaboration collection/product to you?

As a collaborator, I think that open and honest communication is paramount. Everyone should feel comfortable asking questions, pushing back or compromising (to some degree!), and having a good idea of expectations, timelines, and what the collab process will be like.

I’d also say freedom to create is important, and I’d expect a partner to push back at times but not necessarily to stifle creativity but just to reign it in / help it make sense (someone who may collaborate may have little working knowledge of the development process or the real demographic of the brand, whereas the brand will have more experience, so they can offer some guidance that is useful!).

Lastly, commitment to quality – and that means product quality but also quality of customer service and problem resolution once the collaboration releases. As a collaborator, a lot of that can be out of their hands/control so that’s something that has to be honored by the brand.

As a consumer of collaboration products, I want to see something that reads authentic to the partner, both in terms of whatever colors, types of products, names, etc. that used. Brands should be willing to restock or otherwise have excessive quantities so that it doesn’t sell out so quickly that it leaves a lot of people out of luck.

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

For me, it’s all about quality of the product and how much I “need” (ha!) or will use and enjoy it. In store availability is an issue for me too….I dislike paying over the odds for shipping and also, I’m all about “instant gratification” that comes with having the item in my greedy little hands! The only 2 collaborations I can think of that I fell for in part because of the “collab” are the UD Game of Thrones palette and Christine’s/Temptalia’s Sydney Grace one (and for that, I did have to purchase online and pay a tidy sum for shipping and WAIT, but like everyone here, I trust Christine’s product would be fabulous – and it is – and who doesn’t want to show their support for her and this site?).

Andrea Avatar

1. Assuming it’s a fairly new brand to me and the collaborator is sb I know and trust.
2. Assuming we’re talking about a beauty related brand.

I would expect the collaborator to have a hand in the planning (input from the brand here if the guest has never done sth like this before) and in the creation of new products, it should have the brand at heart so obviously it has to be guided (so I’ll want to buy the brand again), but it should still feel as though it’s coming from the collaborator so I’ll want to buy it in the first place (it’s about making a blind purchase so “trust/faith in the collaborator” is key for me and if it’s sth that’s going on my face the risk I’m willing to take is smaller). The collection should showcase the brand at its best first and maybe expand in the future if it works well but I would be less likely to want to buy sth they’ve never done before at first. Neverthless it must feel like like I’m getting a piece of the collaborator, because that’s what gets me through the door.
I think these collaborations are about opening up to a new market and expanding the brand so, the guest is the bridge between me and the brand. I think this bridge should be mostly down to the guest because I’ll be buying because I trust the guest not the brand. With beauty, quality is at the top of my priorities so I can’t emphasise “trust” enough. I expect most direct marketing to come from the collaborator because, with a new brand, I wouldn’t be exposed to their usual marketing channels and if I were I would just ignore it. The drive to make the products known must come from the collaborator so I would expect them to “run most of the show”.
In the end, in order for it such a collaboration to work there must be trust and compromise but, like Christine said, schedules must be taken into consideration. The brand will probably focus 100% on this but the collaborator probably has other things to concentrate on. So a calendar must be agreed up and mostly stuck to, so I think extra attention must be paid to it at first w/ the brand taking the lead here because they know how long it takes to get things from paper to shelves.
Quality is paramount. If it isn’t there, I won’t risk it again, and I loathe the idea of getting on a list to buy anything, even if others say it’s amazing. If it’s not available I’ll move on (period). I’m spoilt for choice and very few things are utterly unique. I also can’t stand the idea of waiting for 2 months for almost anything…

Ana Maria Avatar

While I also don’t like collaborations announced far in advance and encouraging people to enter on a list in advance (sometimes without even knowing the product), there’s an incentive there.
The brand can see how interested people are and plan stocks accordingly. Especially with smaller brands, who carefully need to order specific quantities of SKUs. It’s no guarantee those people will buy or how many other will be interested after, but with a list a brand can plan better a collaboration.

Andrea Avatar

Hi Ana! I understand where you coming from and I would find it worthy for a well-known brand that I just loved loved loved. For a brand I didn’t know at all (will I love it or find it average?), I wouldn’t want to pre-order, pay and get my products at “(eventually) at some point in the future”. Pre-ordering means there aren’t even reliable reviews available so it’s too much of a gamble for me.
I’ve ordered from pretty much everywhere and my last order from an Indie brand in the US took months to arrive to my door, unlike what was advertised… Would I order from that brand again…? Let me tell you, the will isn’t here at the moment and I won’t even read their reviews because I don’t want to feel tempted either.

kjh Avatar

From the artist’s POV, you said it all. We seem to have a slight decrease in influencer collabs and to be moving towards themed sets. I had zero idea what Money Heist is. Since I’m hardly the target market for that sort of collection, I am merely an onlooker. The SG collabs have been lovely. Good quality, well conceived, readable (side eye at Norvina) and complementary. Got to the point at which I pretty much ruled out anything other than SG.

Ana Maria Avatar

Authenticity and personality. I want to see products that I can tell even without knowing that they belong to that collaborator and that brand… not something generic, not some random products from that brand slap a collaboration name in on it.
I don’t expect people to be in the labs formulating products or mixing colors for the perfect shade, but I want to see people actually trying multiple iterations of the products, being involved in the creative process, trying to educate themselves on formulas to be able to explain things to their public.

While I do acknowledge the limited aspect of a collaboration, I would also want brands to have a decent stock or be able to restock, I hate the scarcity approach used most times.

Quality is off course a must.

Lesley Avatar

I am only interested in collaborations that involve individual creators. A collab between a brand and a company, like Colourpop x NBA, does not interest me at all. The creator must have a vision that appeals to me and the brand has to be good quality. I love Temptalia + Sydney Grace because Christine’s artistry is coupled with a really great formula. By contrast, Emily Noel’s collab with Revolution a few years ago had some great shades for me but the quality was so awful that it got decluttered pretty quickly.

AJ Avatar

As a consumer, there are a few things I want to see from a collab:

1. I want it to make sense. For instance, Temptalia x Sydney Grace made a lot of sense because you were frequently posting color combinations, dream palettes, etc, and are generally known for a love of eyeshadow, I think.

2. I think it should have some appeal to people who aren’t super-fans of the influencer, celeb, or whoever that is collaborating with the makeup brand. So it shouldn’t just be a reskin of an existing product, for example. It should be something that could interest anyone and might introduce new people to the collaborator.

3. It should be good quality and a good value for whatever price is being asked. I don’t want to pay a premium for a sub-par product just because it has someone’s name on it.

4. Limited time collabs are fine, but there should be enough product made that people who are trying to be more intentional in their purchasing can wait for reviews, or younger fans can ask their parents to buy it as a birthday/holiday gift. I’m totally over FOMO in beauty marketing.

Nancy T Avatar

As a consumer, I feel a very real need to see the shades, formulations, and vibe to mesh as seamlessly as possible with what identifies with the actual collaborator’s personality and captures their vision for the collab well, plus, what I would expect to see coming from them. For the brand, I am looking for a level of quality that reflects well on the collaborator. And, as you stated above, enough product made to satisfy the fans of who they collaborated with. Restocks of the products done in a timely manner if the collab sells out too quickly is much appreciated!

Kira Avatar

I agree with everything you’ve said here! The colors, packaging, and marketing are important for whether I want to buy something, and the customer service aftermath leaves a lasting impression on how I feel about both brands after the fact. Side note – every time I see all your palettes line up I swoon all over again!

Genevieve Avatar

A successful collaboration to me means that the collaborator has quite a say in the products that are being created in their name. The expectation is that the shades chosen will reflect their personality, being inclusive to all skintones and be of exceptional quality. That’s what I would expect.
As far as the Temptalia and SG collaboration – that was absolutely perfect. The quality of the SG eyeshadows, with your flair for seeing shades that work well together means that it was going to be an excellent product.

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