Post by Dominique Terry.
Frances Darwin hosted a Member Invite with us back in June. She runs Henna Heals. Henna Heals was searching for the "Henna Crown" design for their summer collection. "Henna Heals specializes in creating temporary henna art for people experiencing hair loss."
What lead you to launching your own MI?
Frances: I decided to launch my own Member Invite after I won the "Design Artwork for Florence + The Machine" Creative Invite. It was my experience being an end-user of the Talenthouse platform that gave me the confidence and basic knowledge to host my own contest. I enjoyed my experience with Talenthouse, and I felt like others would as well. On one level, I admired the way that Talenthouse democratized creative opportunities by allowing anyone in the world to participate in their contests (because usually there is an age restriction, or you have to be a citizen of a certain country, etc). On another level, I enjoyed the level of legitimacy that Talenthouse could lend to my company, in that our contest would be advertised along with contests for better-known brands and celebrities. I knew that working with Talenthouse would be a lot easier than trying to create/ manage a contest of our own. When I received an email from Talenthouse inviting me to host my own Member Invite, I was 100% on board.
TH: What were you aiming to find with the MI?
Frances: With the Member Invite, I was aiming to find skilled creatives from all over the world. I wanted to inspire our own artists with creative ideas that lay outside of the standard henna-art tradition. Also, I wanted to bring awareness to "henna crowns" and to henna in general, as I think there are many artists out there who could use this as a healing medium for people in their own communities.
TH: Do you have any advice for other members considering Hosting their own Member Invites?
I would advise other members considering hosting their own invites to be as clear as possible about the voting process.
TH: How did you develop your artistic skills?
Frances:Personally I am a photographer/videographer by trade. I am slowly learning how to do henna myself. Initially I wanted to participate in the contest along with everyone else, just for fun, as an excuse to sit down with my sketch book and develop my skills...But unfortunately, I was so busy running the company and the contest, that I didn't have time!
TH: What did you enjoy about your Member Invite experience? Think about all the stages of the process, from building the project to voting and so on.
Frances: I enjoyed building the Henna Crown invite because it was easy, due to the simplicity of the platform. It also helped that I had a dedicated member of the Talenthouse team to assist me when I got stuck or confused, and to help me stick to a contest launch deadline. I enjoyed watching our Twitter followers and Facebook "likes" increase on a daily basis.
TH: Has hosting an MI opened up any other creative possibilities?
Frances: Hosting this Member Invite has been a humbling experience, because it has allowed us to collaborate with artists from all over the world.
It's incredible to know that our message of healing and empowerment has inspired people from around the globe to create something unique for us.
Our winning design was from an artist living in Hong Kong, and we had submissions from Brazil, Canada, US, UK, the Netherlands, and El Salvador (just to name a few).
I think one of the most touching creative possibilities is the fact that we may be getting some more unofficial submissions from a middle school class in Florida. Their teacher contacted us, saying "I was just looking at your "Create a Design for Henna Heals" contest. If you are open to it...I would love to have my students create designs with your customers in mind...Even if you don't ever use them, it would be a lesson filled with compassion and that is always worth it... After viewing the Member Invite my students openly chatted about women that they know who had lost their hair due to chemo. Some of the students said they were going to put crowns on our balding football coach.
I think it was one of those special moments when art crosses over from curriculum to real life experiences.
TH: How did you come to choose the winning piece?
Frances: Every member of the Henna Heals team was given a chance to vote for their top 5 favourite artists, #1 being their most favourite and #5 being their "least" favourite. Points were assigned to each number, and the artist with the most points won.
Check out the interview Frances did with the lucky winner, Sarah Mush.