CLIENT: DMC DOLLFUS-MIEG & COMPAGNIE
To introduce a new generation to the art of hand embroidery, the 250-year-old French textiles manufacturing company DMC launched a consumer-facing brand called Commonthread.
Our Initial Engagement
Create a product and content marketing strategy to sell DMC Embroidery Floss to the new target millennial demographic. Use a direct to consumer development model as a way to empower customers to become brand advocates and drive awareness to increase sales in retail box chains.
Collab began researching the market to identify trends in crafting and the maker movement. Our team explored unusual techniques and opportunities within the market that could create additional uses for DMC product to be used. We wanted to develop solutions for increasing revenue. Our belief that was by developing new applications, we would increase opportunity.
We enjoyed the process of diving into the history of DMC and all the exciting ways the company had evolved over time. We found tremendous inspiration in the culture of the company. Working with a client that has so much historical importance, and a dedicated following of loyal customers (with many decades of experience crafting with the finest products) felt historical to our team. We were moved by the project because it became clear to us quickly that much of what the company had built over the years was a metaphor for the changing landscape between a modern era and what previous generations value.
For us, it became clear that between the lines of what the client was asking us to do, and what we could see from our perspective, was an opportunity to pay homage to the past while carrying forward the brand in a meaningful way.
These conversations can be tricky because a brand so rooted in its past can often be fearful of change. DMC understood this challenge, and we were able to join hands and jump in the pool together.
As we explored libraries of patterns, and old photographs, we immersed ourselves in the history of DMC, identifying that as lifestyles changed, consumer behavior had as well. This was an insight that made us think more deeply about the history of crafting.
We started to uncover areas of potential fusion between the timeless art of needlework and the modern-day maker. This process and research were critical. It helped us to understand that although lifestyles change, there will always be a desire to create and make things and share. These are innate desires.
We discovered an ancient craft from Japan called Kumihimo. We tested the DMC product with this craft and found that it worked wonderfully for making friendship bracelets. We hosted a Kumihimo Party and let people use the product. We found that it was not only enjoyable, but it was a mindful practice as well. This practice paralleled nicely with trends we saw in areas of mindfulness and making.
We developed a Kumihimo Program for DMC, which included a redesign of the Kumihimo wheel. We designed and created beautiful wood Kumihimo wheels that were sold as product kits along with DMC Floss.
We were able to produce short runs in-house from our small batch lab, and this gave DMC an opportunity to do market testing before committing to larger volumes of inventory.
We launched a comprehensive content marketing strategy to market the kits. We designed the kits to transformable into mini-photostudios so makers could share their work in progress #WIP on Instagram.
The program was successful, and the proven concept was able to be scaled using our overseas production capabilities.
RAPID PRODUCT PROTOTYPING
As we continued to work with DMC, and analyze the market trends in the crafting industry, we uncovered more ways to engage customers. We began to host more events, do user testing and rapidly iterated products after the activities.
We discovered interesting ways to create more use cases for DMC's current product line, which helped increase market share and raise brand awareness.
We wanted to create a customer journey that would engage makers and help them to share their crafting experience.
CUSTOM PACKAGING PROGRAM
We developed a new packaging program as a value-added packaging system, designed to give the customer a way to store and catalog their DMC supplies.
STITCHING IT ALTOGETHER
By using Collab’s in-house fabrication tools, and creative team, DMC was able to manufacture small quantities of products to test at events and gain real-time user feedback and iterate quickly.
The value of having all of the design, rapid prototyping web and content development and production services in one place, with a skilled team wrapped around the work, created the conditions for Collab to develop immeasurable value for DMC.