Putting this clever collaboration on your radar and as a case study, sofa.com created a new fabric collection with the iconic fashion brand Biba, which just launched this week. I love these collaborations where lifestyle brands come together and create something new, fresh and exciting. If you know me, you know well that I’ve been a big advocate cross collaborations for many years. After all, that’s what ESTILA CIRCLE is about. More than ever before, businesses – big and small – should come together and support one another. While bigger brands seem to embrace it more, small brands are still little bit behind. So if you’re the small guy in your market, please take notes and inspiration from this. Don’t put limitations on yourself or don’t say that you can’t do something similar. You can. Our STUDIO/ESTILA is busy working on materialising some amazing collaborations with fashion, interiors brands and artists.
Anyways, let’s go back to the collaboration and the collection itself. If you don’t know sofa.com (this is for international readers), it is a furniture brand known for good value, high quality handmade sofas, chairs and beds in stunning fabrics. It was established in 2006 with a belief that customers can buy sofas purely online and risk-free (with sofa.com free return policy). Nowadays this seems normal but back then it was very unusual. Within 5 years sofa.com sales reached £13mil and the company was listed in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 in 2011 and 2012.
The Biba label was started by Barbara Hulanicki and her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon in 1964. The brand had gone through several ups and downs before it was officially closed in 1975. After many attempts of relaunching the brand, finally in 2009 House of Fraser bought the company and relaunched Biba very successfully, going back to its original visual aesthetic and signature retro style.
THE COLLECTION AND COLLABORATION
Biba has been doing well since House of Fraser took over the label and sofa.com team has noticed a shift in customer demand. As sofa.com designer Claire Wilks reveals: “Over the last couple of seasons our customers have demonstrated their love of the bold and the beautiful, increasingly going for deeper colour palettes and printed designs when it comes to choosing their forever sofa. These Biba fabrics marry the two flawlessly, infusing 70s-inspired patterning with rich saturated contrasts of colour.”
The collaboration and its process took several months especially when it came to choosing and making the final four designs and prints. A lot of work went into working closely with the fabric mill in Italy to carefully choose the design in scale and detail whilst trialing the prints and colours on various fabrics. Commenting on this collaborative collection Ruth Newman, Buying Director at House of Fraser said: “Biba has long been known for it bold and beautiful prints and we are incredibly proud to see this new fabric collection come to life across the sofa.com handcrafted range. Inspired by the brands era-defining style, this new collaboration sees Biba’s rich heritage reimagined for contemporary living – including the iconic filigree logo adorning sumptuous velvet and, of course, there couldn’t be a Biba collection without the brand’s signature leopard print.”
1.FIND A COMMON THEME AND VISION
As you can see from the comments above, both brands shared a common vision of how the collection should look like. This gave the collaboration a direction, focus and a goal.
2.EMBRACE CREATIVITY, SHARE KNOWLEDGE
Not only that both brands brought their own expertise to the table, but also they embraced the creative process. That’s what collaborations are all about, engaging creative thinking and mindset, working together on something unique and unseen before.
3.TAPPING INTO NEW MARKETS AND BROADENING EXPOSURE
Collaborations like these are win-win when it comes to exposure and entering new segments of the market.
I hope you got inspired by this case study and collection. You can find more details about it on sofa.com/biba.