Rena Tom Rena Tom

Birth of a Project

Yup, I’m at it again. I just launched a new project that I am quite excited about. Treasury Project is a test, a what-if, that I hope will be a great experience for both the people involved and the people who collect the “treasures”. It was also fun to work with a friend, Kelly Lynn Jones, on a project together. We are both big believers in collaboration so after many years of knowing each other (almost 10!), we are working together.

You can head over to the website to learn more about Treasury Project, but I thought it would be interesting to talk here about how this came about, and what we learned in the startup phase. I know a lot of people feel like they have great ideas for but, for one reason or another, never seem to execute. Here are some takeaways from this small but complex creative project.

1) Use what you know. Kelly and I had casually discussed collaborative art projects in the past, including the rise of subscription e-commerce, or monthly boxes of goodies. We thought it would be fun to try it ourselves, but to focus on areas we were comfortable with and knowledgeable about – artists and designers.

2) What is the hook? We are also into presentation so we knew the physical box itself should be key. As a result, or box can be hung on the wall so that it becomes part of the art installation in your home. This feature helps make our project stand out among other subscription and collaborative projects.

3) Give yourself time to succeed. We actually started talking about this project in January, and at that point decided to launch in the fall. That’s a pretty long time, but our schedules were so crazy that we knew that it would take that long to pull everything together.

4) Make lists. Who’s doing the logo? What features need to be on the website? Who’s setting up the Twitter account? When do we need to contact the artists? How much will they be paid? The first meeting or two were all about logistics. Solidifying details as soon as possible was crucial to feeling confident to move ahead with the project.

5) Stay on deadline. We have a calendar and are diligent about reminding each other, and our artist participants, about dates and requirements. If one milestone slips, we readjust the calendar accordingly.

6) What’s the end goal? Of course we’d love this to succeed beyond our wildest dreams, but if it doesn’t happen, do we have an exit strategy? Conversely, if it does happen, are we prepared to ramp up to maintain momentum? Visualizing different scenarios helps keep us prepared for any contingency.

7) Make sure it’s fun. This is a personal requirement. If there are more tedious than exciting moments, maybe the project should not proceed. Consider what you want to get out of it, and make sure to keep that in the front of your mind. If you can’t stay excited about your project, it will be that much harder to convince anybody else to be excited about it.

What creative project have you been thinking about? What’s stopping you from doing it, and who can help you get over that roadblock?

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2 Comments

  1. As Rena said, it is easy to have an idea, but to realize it is a lot harder. It is so common to become overwhelmed by all the steps needed to create the project, especially the crappy ADMIN parts that are just not that fun. It was also interesting while Rena and I were working on this, we both started a whole new businesses on our own at the same time, so that was a funny and (extra hard + more work) parallel we had with each other.

  2. Rena, you’re ridiculously amazing. Just saying. And Kelly, it looks like you are, too!

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