OPINION: Why one brand opts for collaboration over celebrity endorsement

Mantra Jewellery founder, Jo Stroud, reveals why the brand has decided to collaborate with well-known figures, rather than opt for celebrity endorsements….

In August, Professional Jeweller reported on the dangers of working with the ‘wrong’ celebrity, when choosing someone to wear, advertise or endorse your products.

At Mantra, we have taken a different approach.

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Rather than seeking endorsements for our range, we have actively partnered with people who are celebrated in their field, to co-design pieces of jewellery, and co-write accompanying mantras. This way, the piece genuinely reflects the philosophy of the collaborator.

This has proven to be an incredibly successful approach for us, introducing us to whole new audiences, and giving Mantra a clear positioning in the wellness sector.

Julie Montagu is a celebrated yoga instructor and successful author, who teaches at TriYoga, London’s celebrity yoga studios, and headlines at Wanderlust, the global wellbeing event. An American who married into the British aristocracy, she co-anchored Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding for the BBC, and has a huge US following.

Julie worked with us on two Mantra necklaces. First, she wanted to reflect the message of her latest book, ‘Recharge’, focused on self-care. We worked together to create the mantra, ‘Recharge my body, reclaim my self’; and then she created the necklace design, featuring her personal mandala.

For the second, Julie knew instantly what she wanted. She has lived by the mantra, ‘She needed a hero, so that’s what she became’, her whole life, and was keen to encourage other women to step up and be their own heroes.

Both of these necklaces have been very strong sellers, and it is Julie’s Instagram posts, to her own followers, that have created the buzz.
Another collaboration, with ex-Hollyoaks actress turned eating psychology coach, Mel Wells, has been equally successful.

Mel helps women transform their relationship with food, recognising that food addiction is often masking a deeper unhappiness. Her core philosophy is one of self-respect and self-love.

The Mantra which Mel created reminds the wearer that she is ‘a goddess, worthy of great love’.

Mel has helped thousands of women to transform their lives, and this necklace has struck a chord with many of them — to the extent that our first production run sold out straight away.

This same collaborative approach is how we work with charities too.

Our ‘Mantra Changes Lives’ initiative gives 25% of the sales to charity — with a view to ensuring we always give back as a business.
Working with charities from MIND, to Bullying UK, to Care International, we have adopted a partnership approach again, creating the mantra and the design together with the team at the charity.

Our most popular piece has been ‘Strength’, with mental health charity, MIND. The mantra, ‘I am strong enough to stand alone, but wise enough to ask for help’, reflects the charity’s core objective of ensuring no one has to face a mental health issue alone; and helps remove the stigma, encouraging people to ask for help.

It was featured by fashion magazine, Cosmopolitan, as a perfect gift for young women facing the challenges of today’s world.
New Mantra collaborations are coming soon with Leah Wood, Ronnie Wood’s daughter, who is a vehement environmental campaigner; Wanderlust, the global wellbeing brand; and Modern Muse, a charity which inspires young women in education — where the girls themselves have created the design and the mantra.

For me, collaboration is the way forward.

From Steve Jobs’ famous belief, “Great things in business are never done by one person”, to Charles Darwin’s irrefutable, “In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate most effectively have prevailed”, the future involves collaboration.

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