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When best friends make the best business partners

Sliding into a stranger's social media DM isn't usually a successful endeavor, but for these two BFFs turned creative partners—everything seems to be working out just fine.

Most peo­ple mind­less­ly scroll through their social media feeds out of sheer habit, not expect­ing much to come out of it. But what hap­pens when you acci­den­tal­ly stum­ble across anoth­er kin­dred spir­it and instant­ly real­ize you’re per­fect­ly in sync? Accord­ing to the two­some behind grass­roots cre­ative agency Kollektiv49, you take it one step fur­ther than mere­ly fol­low­ing each oth­er — you go into busi­ness togeth­er. We talked to Ava Carstens and Daniel Wesche about how they met, how they got @kollektiv49 up and run­ning, and what it’s real­ly like being best friends with (strict­ly busi­ness) ben­e­fits.

What is Kollektiv49?

Kollektiv49: It’s an agency that fea­tures a cre­ative net­work plat­form and a blog, com­prised of two leads and a ros­ter of free­lancers. We tai­lor online dig­i­tal acti­va­tions and offline ana­log expe­ri­ences to pro­vide real moments and encoun­ters between brands and their tar­get audiences.

You’re best friends that have built a bud­ding busi­ness togeth­er… How did you two meet?

Ava: We found each oth­er through Insta­gram and it was click’ at first sight! I liked one of Daniel’s com­ments under a mutu­al friend’s post, so I scrolled through his pro­file and I enjoyed the over­all look of his feed. Plus, his bio men­tioned that he was an art direc­tor based in Ham­burg, which was per­fect because I was look­ing for a cre­ative spar­ring part­ner, so I wrote him a DM. That’s how our sto­ry began… Every­thing felt good right from the start.

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What are the biggest ben­e­fits of best friends work­ing together?

Kollektiv49: Famil­iar­i­ty! Work­flow, process, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion is much eas­i­er if you know each oth­er well. Every new client or project means spend­ing a lot of time togeth­er, so you auto­mat­i­cal­ly put more heart and effort into your work when you feel sur­round­ed by a pos­i­tive and warm atmos­phere. We’re so grate­ful for our friend­ship and the team­work that has come out of it.

And what are the com­mon challenges?

Kollektiv49: If the work­load is high, the friend­ship often has to be placed on the back burn­er — pri­vate chats become short­er, and busi­ness dis­cus­sions become longer. As such, you have to take care to be real­ly sen­si­tive and respect­ful with one oth­er dur­ing the stress­ful periods.

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You’re quite suc­cess­ful, hav­ing worked with adi­das, Zalan­do, Toy­ota, Sam­sung, and many oth­er top brands in the past. Who are some of your dream clients for future col­lab­o­ra­tions?

I’d like to work with more sus­tain­able brands, NGO projects, and any­thing deal­ing with the music indus­try — launch­es, book­ings, events, con­certs, etc…

I can’t name a sin­gle dream client — I love the diver­si­ty. For me, the per­fect mix for our client ros­ter lies with­in dif­fer­ent indus­tries: Mar­ket lead­ers, local heroes, medi­um-sized busi­ness­es, and inno­v­a­tive start-ups.

How do you adver­tise your busi­ness prod­ucts and services?

Kollektiv49: Word-of-mouth, most­ly. Also through our Insta­gram, web­site, newslet­ters, events, and through the social media chan­nels of the brands and com­pa­nies we work with.

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Where do you find inspi­ra­tion for your cam­paigns and acti­va­tions? How does it work when you two aren’t on the same page?

Kollektiv49: This might sound cheesy, but it’s true — we’re inspired by every­day life. We always keep each oth­er updat­ed on what we’re think­ing, and if one of us feels over-inspired by a poten­tial con­cept, we’ll hop on the phone to talk it through and exchange ideas.

What advice can you give friends look­ing to go into busi­ness together?

Kollektiv49: 1 — Always have a detailed vision. 2 — Keep­ing a calm mind is help­ful. 3 — Trust in your per­son­al-pro­fes­sion­al relationship.

Shop the sto­ry: Ava is wear­ing Eva, and Daniel is wear­ing Adam.

14 Dec 2018 · neubau eyewear