With a take-way coffee in hand and under the guise “how are you doing in lockdown”, I met up with a self-employed and creative acquaintance for a walk and talk. It soon became apparent that we had the same attitude and vision on entrepreneurship and the world as it is today. The walk ended with the idea to start something together, to join forces; mostly to keep us somewhat busy during lockdown. So Marte, (the creative self-employed acquaintance) and I got started; what do we consider important and what do we encounter in our current way of working that we don’t like?   

Marte and I had already regularly worked on jobs together, but we didn’t know that when we were actually working on them. We only found out about it when the job had already finished or when we ran into each other in the pub. I had taken photographs for a company and then Marte, who is a graphic designer, used them to make a flyer, website or menu. We were both of the opinion that if we had been able to communicate with each other before or during the assignment, we could have delivered an even better result. 

As a client you often hire an agency or some freelancers. If you choose to work with an advertising agency, you pay for the office, the assistant, the car and everything else needed to run their office, and will see this reflected on your invoice. But the advantage is that you can have the entire assignment done in one place. If the client opts for freelancers however, they have to communicate with the photographer, and the website builder and the graphic designer themselves, which creates noise. We want to avoid the pumped up invoices and the noise with our new company BLEI. (which means happy in Dutch) 

Marte as graphic designer and website builder, and me as project manager, stylist and photographer tackle most of the disciplines you need for a complete package, and if the assignment is not within our combined abilities, we hire freelancers we have worked with before. The creative people involved communicate at the same level; they understand each other and all parts necessary for a beautiful end result to come together. Thanks to our collaboration, you have your photographer, graphic designer and project manager on speed dial, and their entire network close-at-hand. 

And it is not only the client who benefits greatly from the collaboration; I myself even more. It feels like we can handle anything together. Marte and I are the same and yet completely different. She is no longer an acquaintance; she is now my partner in crime, my friend, my sparring partner, my mirror. Every week I enjoy the lessons I learn from and with Marte and I am ever so grateful that she is part of my tribe, my community.