Melanie Mueller is the founder and designer of Mel Boteri, an emerging custom handbag label based in Atlanta that is on an upswing. She recently partnered with Daily Candy to sell her Lauren clutch, a one-of-a-kind exclusive and with Mercedes-Benz USA. Since there are many benefits to partnering with a company to grow your brand, we asked Melanie about her experiences and what makes a good partnership.
What types of partnerships have you had?
I have worked with a variety of partners. From collaborating with non-profits to donating a portion of handbag proceeds back to a cause and co-branding collections with other up-and-comers as well as established brands, I find that each partnership has its own unique benefit.
What is compelling about a partnership?
The beauty of a partnership is the ability to build off of each others strengths in order to accomplish a common goal. This is especially true for a small business, such as my own, where resources can be limited.
What did Daily Candy and Mercedes-Benz seek out from you to make this partnership work?
Each partner has to deliver on their particular strength in order for a collaboration to be successful. In my case, this is handbag design and production so Daily Candy and Mercedes-Benz both relied on me to create pieces that were high-quality, unique and spoke to their specific clientele.
Why did you decide to do these partnerships?
Daily Candy has a huge following of women who count on them to seek out the newest, most unique, next best thing. This partnership allowed my mostly local brand to gain some brand recognition at a national level, in a fairly short period of time.
In the case of Mercedes-Benz, I wanted to align myself with a brand that held similar values to Mel Boteri such as their vision to consider every detail, a dedication to expert craftsmanship and the commitment to luxury and sophistication. This was a way for me to elevate and position myself as a luxury brand.
How has this helped your customer reach? As a new brand, these partnerships have helped me reach new customers which may have been more difficult for me to acquire on my own. I believe these partnerships have helped strengthen the loyalty with their existing customer base by continuing to seek out “the genuine, the unique, and the next” in the case of Daily Candy and to deliver “The Best or Nothing,” in the case of Mercedes-Benz.
How do you decide who to partner with? Whether it’s retailer, promotional opportunity, etc…
When deciding which partnerships to accept or seek out, it is important that the company I work with shares a similar target market, brand values, quality and attributes as Mel Boteri.
Is it okay to turn down partnerships and why?
Yes! I feel that a partnership works best if you both provide a related product (or service) to the same or similar customer base. It is important that the partnership will strengthen your brand and not dilute it. The partnership must be mutually beneficial for both.
How do you pitch a partnership? The key is letting your potential partner know what it is that you can do to help them (not vice versa). Whether it is opening up a new distribution channel for them, or offering a brand extension, the key selling points should be whatever it is that will help them succeed.
Can you give us some general advice when thinking about a partnership? Do not rush into it and do your research!
You can heck out the entire line at Mel Boteri.
Emerging designer or have a resource to share? Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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