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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.

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.

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.

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
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