The first Fashion By Mayhem email I ever marked as important started off simply “Hi – This is Jenna Lyons. From J.Crew.”
Wait. What? (Lemme read that again…)
It went on that she had read our story and was excited by what we were doing.
Huh? *looks around for hidden camera*
It was the first among hundreds of emails pouring into my inbox on February 26, 2014 that did NOT read “can’t wait to see which Oscars dresses you replicate.”
Jenna then wrote that she was reaching out to see if we’d be interested in doing a small collection designed by … yes – a 4 year old!!
The email was warm and friendly. If I thought that it was an idea that sounded like it would be fun for us, I could let her know and we’d set up a time to chat.
I remember reading the email and being certain it was a set up. As in, it’s probably some kind of wicked virus that if I reply to it, my laptop will explode or at the very least melt before my eyes. (My thinking is irrational on occasion.)
So I read it a few more times to myself. And then I read it out loud to Keith.
His reply was simple: “You should probably reply to that one.”
But doesn’t J.Crew have a PR company that reaches out like the rest of the “big brands”? You know, one that sends out incredibly vague emails hinting at who they MIGHT work for but requiring us to sign an NDA(non-disclosure agreement) before they’ll even talk to us. And why on Earth would she just lay the whole idea out there from the get go? Nobody does that (filed under: things I know for sure)!
Clearly, Jenna Lyons does not know how this is done. The President and Executive Creative Director of a company is not supposed to reach out to random internet strangers with an offer to work with them.
But she did. Because …
So with a guarantee from Keith that he’d replace my laptop when it melted, I hit the reply button.
And what happened next was nothing short of magic.
A volley of friendly emails led to a conference call with four of the top J.Crew execs in which I made it very clear that we had ZERO design experience. ZERO. NONE. NADA. “We tape paper together. Sitting on our floor. That’s it. I swear. Just so we’re clear.”
But they invited us to New York anyway. To sit on the floor and tape paper together.
And it was amazing.
You may have already read about that first trip to New York, and even seen that image of Mayhem working her selfie game with Jenna and Jenny Cooper (head of crewcuts).
But what you don’t know (yet!) is that Jenny Cooper’s office became design central for Mayhem’s collection with crewcuts which will be available Summer 2015!!! And yes, the collection was designed by a 4 year old. With a little help from her new friends.
But let’s not even call it designing a collection. Here’s how it went down … Mayhem and her new crew all sat down on the floor and played. And made stuff. Out of paper and tape and beads and glue and crayons. And they laughed and hugged and had more fun than I would have imagined. And then they sprinkled their magic J.Crew fairydust on it and turned paper into fabric. And when it was time to go, Mayhem cried. Because she didn’t want to leave. (You wouldn’t either … trust me on this.)
And folks, that’s how it’s done.
OK, not really. I mean, there is more to it. I think. I was too busy sitting back watching, tearing up and wondering how in the world this all came to be, to pay attention to the logistics.
We have LOTS more to tell you about our fun collaboration with J.Crew, but for now, the cat’s out of the bag and we’re just happy to finally be able to share it with you.