This would have to be one of the coolest things we've done. Collaborating with Crunchyroll was an idea inspired by my admiration of Street wear brands. To be honest, I don't buy from street wear brands. But I definitely admire how the culture is strongly interlocked with the brands that subscribe to it. Street wear is truly one of the most innovative subset of fashion when it comes to branding. A big thing in street wear culture is when two brands collaborate on a product. Something about that union always ends up making both brands more appealing. When brands like Bape and Stussy collaborate on a shirt or shoe, that particular item always seems that much cooler than its individual brand parts.
So taking a page out of their book, I went ahead and tried my luck with a company in the anime culture that's truly pushing the envelope. Crunchyroll is easily one of the coolest things to happen to anime in the US. Allowing me to comfortably watch anime from my couch on my LED Tv, is a luxury I am still getting used to. So it made awesome sense to me that a union of our brand with theirs on a shirt, would be a very cool idea. And our fans seem to agree with us.
Doing the collaboration with Crunchyroll was an idea a year in the making. It didn't just happen overnight. I was looking for a way to get the word out on our brand using the power of the Crunchyroll brand. I sent out a couple emails and messages to the gate keepers at Crunchyroll and never got a response back. I had tried this about 4 times! It was only when I decided to put myself in their shoes, that I realized why they were probably not paying any attention to us. First problem is I had no credibility in their eyes. Second problem was, I knew no one over there and no one over there knew me. So feeling like a guy trying to run for presidency, I setup a long campaign to gain Crunchyroll's trust and respect. Basically, I had to build up some "street cred" before approaching a brand like Crunchyroll. Initially we listed our shirts on their store, just to get some exposure. We made some sales, but most importantly, we got noticed by Crunchyroll! Crunchyroll employees were apparently buying our shirts and we got emails from them expressing how popular our shirts were in their office. I was filled with joy that my meticulous plan was slowing taking shape. Over time we gradually built up some serious rapport with two pretty awesome individuals over there.
So around April, I proposed the idea of a collaboration, and to my surprise they embraced it immediately. And over the next couple of weeks we had meetings to hammer out the details and expectations from both parties. Of course my brother was tasked with coming up with a design, that was an embodiment of everything the collaboration represented. A seriously difficult task that took him 2 months to sketch.
Being our first collaboration, we failed to realize how much trouble it would be to meet outsider expectations. Our deadline was more conservative than we thought. As a result we were behind one extra month. Needless to say the folks at Crunchyroll were very accommodating, and it really took the pressure off us whenever we got reassurance from them that they had faith in us to see this collaboration through. After 3 months of working on the collaboration, we finally had the shirt ready for printing. Crunchyroll made a few minor revisions and gave us the green light to print.
3 weeks later our love child was born. It is currently available at the Crunchyroll store. Both our brands came out of this project feeling great! After an experience like this one, is safe to say we will be doing more collaborations in the future! But most importantly it showed me that any goal can be accomplished with the right attitude and required amount of effort.