From a Beyonce Nod to an IKEA Negotiation: Did Senegalese Designer land a Profitable Deal?

Photo via CNN Style

Your next IKEA run may soon include a jaunt through an authentic African designs section.  Swedish retail giant, IKEA, which owns 392 stores across 48 countries, will collaborate with Senegalese fashion designer, Selly Raby Kane, and other fashion designers, architects, and illustrators from across Africa, for its 2019 flagship collection.

Photograph by Omar Victor Diop/Instagram

Selly Raby Kane is familiar with seeing her work in the spotlight. Queen Bey has rocked Kane’s designs on the summer ’16 streets of New York; a photo of which received hundreds of likes on Twitter.

Photo: Selly Raby Kane’s Instagram (@sellyrabykane)

While information regarding the specific details of the IKEA agreement is not available to the public, “The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world,” said Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA according to The Young empire.

Our experience with seeing good and bad deals pitched to creative types makes us wonder whether this young fashion designer made the best of this impressive corporate deal. What are the best practices when it comes to partnership agreements? Kane’s profile suggests that she has a savvy business mind. She earned a degree in Management /Business Administration and a Master of Product Manager for textile and clothing Industries in Paris and launched her brand thereafter. The IKEA deal, however, may be her first major collaboration.

Photo via CNN Style

So how do you make the best of your corporate deal?  What are the best practices with partnership agreements?

Think about the nature of your agreement. How will the partnership work and what’s your ideal outcome? The answer to this depends on the type of business that you and your partners have, and the goals of your venture.

Kane’s deal with IKEA is likely a sales and distribution agreement.  However, these best practices will apply to any partnership agreement.  When considering what type of agreement to draft, be sure to research various resources for a framework on how to create a partnership agreement.  A good attorney can also be of value in this process.

  • Don’t lose your power: Negotiate!

Weigh the pro and cons of various types of partnership agreements and don’t overlook a limited partnership agreement.

A limited partnership avoids one of the main drawbacks of a standard partnership agreement: the assumption of liability each partner makes for the other.  By retaining experienced legal counsel to negotiate a limited partnership agreement, you can avoid this pitfall. A limited partner is not liable for the actions or obligations of the general partner.

  • Have a written and signed partnership agreement. 

Whether a standard or a limited partnership agreement, it’s paramount that the contract is clearly detailed, written, and agreed upon by all the parties. Again, to ensure a well-drafted written legal agreement, the parties should retain a mutually agreed upon attorney experienced with business partnerships. A well drafted collaborative agreement will positively impact possible future disputes.

  • Prepare for scrutiny.

Once the agreement is in place, maintain financial and legal affairs in an orderly manner.  Working with big businesses and especially multinational companies like IKEA, may mean more frequent audits. This is a good time to have proper procedures in place.

  • Map out your exit strategy.

This is the final point but not the last consideration.  You should map out your exit strategy fairly early in your process. Change in the nature of any given partnership arrangement will inevitably change over time.  The terms of the partnership agreement should provide an exit strategy that allows the partnership to dissolve without interrupting the operations of a successful enterprise. For instance, the agreement should provide buyout options for each party.

Having an opportunity to partner with a major corporation, TV studio, or record company is always an exciting prospect.  A good attorney can help you to remain level-headed and business-minded.   We will continue to follow Kane’s journey for updates.


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