Jacob Winter picked up a new hobby during the pandemic. He discovered he was good at making tufted rugs—and people loved watching him create his designs on TikTok. After his rug-making videos went viral, Jacob transformed his hobby into a full blown business.
Jacob and his team at Mush Studios are challenging conventional designs by creating playful rugs in fluid abstract shapes. The result? Standout décor statement pieces that are undeniably Mush designs. “We felt like we were missing this otherworldly, unconventional, not that serious, kind of aesthetic within rugs,” Jacob says. “People wanted something they had never seen before in terms of shape and texture.”
Ahead, learn how Jacob created social media content that directly grew his business, and the strategy behind his long-term partnerships and unique collaborations with established retailers and brands.
Diversifying content to become more than a “TikTok brand”
Mush Studios’ TikTok videos racked up 23 million views in just 12 months. Jacob didn’t want the business’s success to be truncated, and knew the brand would have more opportunities to grow if they expanded past their TikTok virality. “We didn’t want to just be associated with TikTok, or known as a DIY fast fashion brand,” Jacob explains.
To achieve that, the brand expanded its range of content on the platform. “We thought it would be the best idea to showcase how we were going to operate as a brand, what our day-to-day work life was like, and who we are as people,” Jacob says.
As Mush Studios’ content on social media shifted, it attracted an audience that appreciated the product as much as the process—and the brand’s sales grew as a result.
Developing strategic partnerships with other brands
Since launching in 2020, Mush Studios has collaborated with luxury retailers and brands like SSENSE, MRKT, and Frankie’s Bikinis.
“We’re big believers in manifestation, so early on we layed out who we wanted to collaborate with, what brands we wanted to work with, and what retailers we’d want to share our essence with,” says Jacob. His vision from the start included partnering with retailers and brands he had looked up to since childhood. When companies started to reach out to him, he was more than ready.
These companies not only had to share similar design values, they had to believe in the longevity of Mush Studios and be willing to invest. “For any retailer [we work with], we have to make sure we’re aligned visually,” says Jacob. “Since we were such a young and new company, we had to know these retailers were going to fight for us by investing in our brand.”
Through their love of interior design and fashion, Jacob and his co-founder, Franki Peroff, have found these unique collaborations to be one of their favorite parts of growing the brand. “Once you have a partnership, it’s important to keep it,” Jacob says. “There are always more projects to come, or they could tell someone else about you, so always show you’re invested back.”
The co-founders have put every part of themselves into the business, and have seen the brand grow as a result of their authenticity and willingness to experiment and think outside the box when it comes to traditional design and content creation.
Tune in to the full Shopify Masters episode to hear Jacob share how the team transitioned their viral success to sales, built partnerships with major brands, and scaled their production.