One of the core values of 407 is collaboration and how two minds can be better than one. Inspired by that, we thought it would be fun to introduce you to other movers + shakers who are doing what they do best together. We've asked our duos to each answer the same five questions. This way we can see their thought process individually and the overlap.
Today, we're excited to introduce you to two of our favorite ladies in the design + development world - Morgan (a little creative) and Alison (tiny blue orange). They've teamed up to help entrepreneurs manage #allthethings with their biz little + tiny.
Morgan is a brand strategist and print designer and Alison is a web designer + developer. Together, they're a comprehensive team that offers a range of services for beginners as well as those a little more experienced who are ready to up-level their shit. They believe in empowering people to take charge of their business so that they can work both in it + on it and are passionate about creating strong brands in #alltheplaces so that those you meet on the street have the same experience with your brand as those you meet online.
Without further ado, here's Morgan + Alison's thoughts on working together.
How do you collaborate together?
Alison: Morgan + I collaborate by bringing our strongest skills to the table + bringing out the best in the other person by asking them lots of questions, providing an outside perspective + being a sounding board. Having a second pair of eyes anywhere in the process is amazing, little alone for the whole process!
The best part of how we collaborate is that it is variable. Sometimes we go to our respective "corners" + come back with a design/solution to look over together while other times we will literally share a computer screen + work together to solve our client's problems. We are both willing to hear each other out, try new tools/systems/etc + laugh at each other. A lot.
Morgan: Alison and I have very different skill sets but very similar attitudes and personalities so we complement each other a great deal. We work together from start to finish, even on the parts that aren't our native skill set. It's great because each of us has our zone of genius - mine is in the beginning and Alison's is at the end. And we meet in the middle to execute design decisions together. A big thing for us as well is setting clients up for success after the project is finished so we try to be really future focused in everything we create and every decision we make. Though we'd love to work with people forever and ever, we're very careful not to hold their business hostage so they have no other choice.
Why did you decide to become a duo versus doing what you do solo?
Alison: We spent a number of months referring clients to each other. I really don't love doing branding + found Morgan's solutions for clients to be insanely inspiring. So I would always direct clients that wanted/needed branding help right to her inbox. And she is not a developer, so she'd tell clients to use me for their websites.
One project I was working on had an amazing brand by Morgan + I was stuck on the website design. So I reached out to Morgan to brainstorm + the final result was amazing. After that we said "why the heck aren't we offering these services together instead of making referrals + hoping the clients listen.
Morgan: We became friends online and for a while were referring clients back and forth to one another - to Morgan for branding and identity and to Alison for web. One day we said, "why don't we team up and do both projects together and make them one?" We still offer our respective services individually but when a client needs help from start to finish, soup to nuts, we tackle it together. We find this allows for a more comprehensive, hands-on service and allows the client to feel safe knowing that one team of people is handling their entire project rather than getting to a certain point and handing it off to someone else. It helps the project stay more connected and seamless in #alltheplaces. I always wanted to work with someone else so when Alison said she was game, I was on it like white on rice.
What’s one challenge you have you faced in collaborating?
Alison: The biggest challenge for me has been letting someone in on my process. When it comes to design, the client typically wants lots of info + sharing, so that was easy to collaborate on. But when it comes to website development, the majority of my clients don't care how or why I'm coding the way I am. I got very used to taking the designs, hunkering down + then emerging again when the development site was ready for review.
With Morgan on board, I needed to share my process with her + even include her in stages by explaining how I would do something + letting her run with that. As a recovering perfectionist, it's always hard to let go of control on something that is so near + dear to my heart. But Morgan doesn't disappoint + usually makes my process better each time we talk.
Morgan: It hasn't so much been a challenge as it has just getting used to something new. But combining our individual processes into a new one that we share has be interesting. It's brought the gaps to serious light but allowed us to learn some really important and big lessons - even if they are what NOT to do again ;)
What's surprised you the most about your collaboration?
Alison: I have loved, loved, loved learning how many ways there are to do the same thing. Watching Morgan Photoshop (yes, it's a verb) is mind blowing. She knows so much more than I ever will, so I learn each time we screen share.
Then when it comes to client intake, we have spent many hours learning how we both handle that in our respective business + how we want to handle it as little + tiny. And the same can be said for taking care of the client during the project + at the end.
We both take a lot of pride in customer experience + support, and we both provide an amazing product, but we still had super different ways to do anything.
Morgan: Not to mention the shit ton of information I've learned about how Wordpress and web development, working with Alison has made me a better designer. As a solopreneur it's easy to get isolated in my home office bubble and go days without seeing anyone other than my dog, which also makes designing sort of happen in a bubble. Having a second set of eyes from someone who knows as much and is equally invested in the project as I am has helped me see things I wouldn't have normally recognized and pushed my skills to step outside the box.
Who’s your favorite dynamic duo? Fiction or nonfiction. Why?
Alison: Sloth + Chunk from The Goonies.
They were both off-kilter/outcast type guys that didn't start off on the right foot. But by the end of the movie, they were best buds that could rely on each other. I also love how Chunk ended up taking care of Sloth in a more parent type role, even though he was younger + smaller. The storyline just makes me smile whenever I think about it.
Plus, they both shared a passion for food - and I have a major passion for food.
Morgan: Probably J.D. and Turk from the tv show, Scrubs. they had a total bromance and did anything possible to have fun at work. they told stupid jokes, made up songs and pretty much had the best time ever just doing nothing. Alison + I are pretty much like that too.
These ladies are hard not to adore. Go check out the video on the little + tiny site and you'll see why. BIG internet hugs to Alison + Morgan for sharing their collaboration story with us. We wish we could join you for happy hour every week and learn more from your genius minds.