I’ve mentioned several times that I’ll tell you more about my collaboration with Malena “Malenami” Björndahl. It has been so great working with her and I want to share how it started.
As a business owner you need to have many roles, you have to be an administrator, salesman, marketer, do the “actual job” ie pattern construction, do all the small things (buy new ink or paper, run errands and just fix stuff) and quite a few other things as well. I delegated some tasks right away, like the accounting. Other things I’ve had to do myself, due to financial limitations, even if it has not been my “strong side”… Marketing and managing social media is one example. After listening to a lecture by Zanna Metzer from Sisters in Law arranged by eXpression about these topics, I realized that I needed help! My Instagram feed was all over the place and it didn’t have the “right visual look” that I wanted. I already knew this, but after the lecture I decided that something had to happen. I talked to my business coach at eXpression and discussed how I could change and improve my work and as so often we came to the conclusion that if it’s something you cannot do yourself, you need help from others. Either you delegate it, or you get help from someone who can teach you. We have a saying in Sweden: “Alone is not strong”.
I’d for a long time followed the blogger and influencer Malenami and really liked her way of taking pictures and writing. It felt so genuine, warm and welcoming. She also comes from Ostrobothnia in Finland where I grew up and had quite recently moved to Umeå, just like me. I wanted to work with her! In addition, we are both named Malena, I mean, what are the odds of that? (So to make it less confusing, I’ll write Malenami about her …)
I contacted her and asked if she was interested in coaching me in social media and also taking product pictures for me. We started by talking about me and my brand “Pattern by Malena”, what it is I want to convey, my “niche”, my visual design language and how I want to communicate with my customers and followers. I got a lot of great advice and ideas for how to work. And if you scroll in my Instagram feed you can see an “before” and “after”, at least for me it’s very clear …
One thing I struggled with earlier was the lack of good pictures to post. I wasn’t done with my patterns yet and couldn’t then take good product pictures. But now that I started getting to that stage and Malenami took such beautiful pictures of herself and her children in my clothes, well then it became a lot easier too. During the winter I also went to a photo course to make it easier to use my camera. I’ve had that camera for maybe 10 years, but it’s mostly the different auto settings I used. Now it became easier for me to take better pictures, both for social media but also for the sewing tutorials.
During the time that Malenami coached me, we also talked a lot about clothes and design. She mentioned that she and her family were going to Thailand during the winter (before the pandemic happened) and what kind of garments she wished she had for herself and the children. One thing led to another and we decided to do a collaboration, a CoLab. She got to do what she’s good at, design the clothes and photograph them and I got to do what I’m good at, design patterns and sew the garments. I’ve always worked in teams before and getting to collaborate with someone again was so great!
Hummingbird tunic and trousers for children are the first garments in our collection. We had (and still have) plans for a larger summer collection for linen garments for both women, children and babies, but I didn’t have enough time during this spring to complete all patterns unfortunately. But it will be a next summer too, so stay tuned!
All pictures taken by Malenami