I've had a long love affair with BURU-- a sophisticated clothing line with mamas in mind. I can get around a brand like that! Morgan Hutchinson, the founder, is an absolute doll and we've run in the same circles for years-- all connected through The Southern C. We've worked together for several years now on content projects, and it was an obvious fit for me when this collaboration opportunity came along.
The collection uses dead stock fabrics in my signature colors: black & white, and pink. Perfectly JuJu. Even though a portion of BURU's line is manufactured overseas, they have a micro-factory in Los Angeles. All of my clothing pieces are cut to order in LA from fabrics that would otherwise get trashed or burned. I love that about BURU-- they really try to reinvent fabrics that would normally be wasted. The collection is feminine, flirty, and fun with a sophisticated touch. Right up my alley. There are limited quantities, and you can shop the full collection HERE.
Photographing the Samples:
It's important for these types of collaborations to gather your dream team together. With BURU based in Los Angeles, and me in Charleston-- all of the samples had to be styled and photographed by me in Charleston along with Morgan creating her own try on sessions simultaneously out west. I pulled together two powerhouses: Andrea Serrano and Libby Williams to style and photograph the collection. We chose the Ryder Hotel and Rainbow Row to showcase the fun and colorful architecture of Charleston. They were the perfect backdrop to the bold colors and patterns in the collection.
There's no better way to celebrate the launch of this collection than with family and friends at our Charleston home. I partnered with some local businesses like This Must Be The Cookie and Tap Truck Charleston to provide custom cookies and draft beer for our backyard BBQ by the pool. Freecoat Nails even did a custom nail art mani to match the collection. Chelsea with This Must Be The Cookie really nailed some of the pieces in the collection-- that dress cookie, y'all! AND-- Zack and Alli with Tap Truck Charleston could not have been any nicer to work with. You can book them for your next event or wedding-- the guests loved getting their beer served from a vintage truck.
How Does One Secure a Collaboration?
Anyone that knows me knows that I'm no stranger to collaborations--with license deals with the likes of Mitchell Black Home, Oliver Gal, and Jayes Studio; however, this BURU collab is my first foray into fashion. How does one go about securing an opportunity like this? Collabs don't just drop on your doorstep, and it can be very tricky to get brands to notice you for a potential partnership. Below are some tips on how to make it happen:
TIP #1 Give When There's Nothing In It For You
This is one of my life mantras and giving of my time and talents when there's absolutely nothing in it for me has always paid off tenfold. When the world shut down in March 2020, all of my content projects were either canceled or put on hold. I was forced in to a homeschooling situation, and I found that making lighthearted and funny content helped my sanity some days. I created two separate IG posts below wearing BURU captioning them with #sanitationchic, and #socialdistancing but make it fashion. These posts were not part of a paid campaign, and the brand never asked me to create them. I just did it for fun and made sure to tag them.
I asked Morgan when we started having discussions about working together, why me? Knowing that this is a brand that has worked with the likes of Brooklyn Decker, I knew that Morgan had so many options of people to do collabs with. We laughed about the quarantine posts and she said that she knew that I was someone that was funny and she loved my style. I do believe at the root of it I did something for BURU when there was nothing in it for me-- and they took notice.
TIP #2 Put Yourself Out There
Here's the deal-- unless you're a celebrity with a licensing agent no one's knocking on your door begging you to do a collaboration. Your content and social platforms need to be topnotch, and you want to engage on social and buy products from brands that you like before you reach out to them for a potential collaboration. I've always said-- in many cases, the deals go down in the DMs. BURU and I have had some banter and DMs over the last couple of years with posts and content, but I started putting it out there-- "we should do a BURU/JuJu collection". It could have fallen on deaf ears or a simple heart emoji in response, but Morgan was game and she reciprocated with "yessss-- let's hop on a call."
TIP #3 Put on Your Business Hat
This is when you really need to put on your business hat and think through what the brand and you need to get out of it. In order for this to work for both of us, BURU needed someone with social presence, styling skills, and content creation skills. Check. I needed the financials to work to make it worth my time and effort. Check (pun intended!). When you can both meet at a point that is mutually beneficial to you-- that is when the magic happens.
TIP #4 Go Above and Beyond
Regardless of what the business arrangement is, ALWAYS over deliver. ALWAYS. Morgan knows that I'm first and foremost on #teamburu. What does this look like? This means that during the fabric selection and mood board phases-- I completed them quickly and responded as soon as possible. There was never a time when she had to repeatedly request something from me. I was organized and delivered on all of the timelines. Bottom line is I made doing business with me easy. No one (and I mean NO ONE) wants to work with a diva, and making sure you come to the table prepared and ready to work is key. Collaborations have to move to top priority on your agenda as brands have deadlines on their end that can't be missed. Approaching the partnership in this way allows for the brand to get what they need from you and ensures that they may want to work with you again down the road.
I've always been of the mindset that two creative minds are better than one, and that my friends, is the beauty of collaborations. I could not be any more pleased with how the BURU xx JuJu collection turned out, and I hope you love it as much as I do.
This post contains sponsored content; however, opinions are my own.