During the summer, I met Tom Nardi, of Tom Nardi designs, at a maker's space vendor event in Kingston, NY. The event was going well but, then, it thunder stormed. We all took shelter under our pop up tents. (I was grateful that my umbrella was holding up.) My vendor neighbor, Tom Nardi, was lent a tent where the lining was catching the rain and his tent was starting to sag. We vendors took turns emptying the pools of water that were forming on his tent top. We all rallied together to protect our products (keep them dry!).
Draining his tent top required me to move away from my tent toward his table. On his table, there were these really creative and interesting home decor items. Mr. Nardi was a Renaissance man who has acquired multiple talents in woodworking, sewing, and crafting. I fell in love with a heart shaped box that he made. It was so intricately designed. Each time I watched it, I found new details to admire.
This was the start of my quest to collaborate with him! Tom, like me, is a hard worker. He thinks critically about each design and works meticulously to create his vision. His designs have whimsy, charm, and elegance. He loves to experiment with different techniques. I loved the texture and the basket weave design. The original box had a recessed lid with no hinges. I asked him to add the hinges.
When deciding who to partner/collaborate with for business purposes, it is extremely important that you find someone who has similar work values. They must be open to collaborating. The person must be open minded enough to consider your views and willing to modify their vision to incorporate your vision. A collaborator must be willing to trust the process. Tom was all of these things and more. This is why we were able to imagine, innovate, and execute our design concept.
Too often people are pressured to work with people who are terrible collaborators because the person has more celebrity or resources. But, that strategy could the open the door for a toxic or abusive partnership. For me, successful partnerships need to have mutual support and respect where all parties have a safe space to innovate and collaborate to create new and exciting products. I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with Tom to create the refined Home Makers Collection. Tom help me bring my charitable products collection to life!