Collaboration Corner: Anne LaFollette & Kim Thompson Steel

The Hivery is not only a gorgeous place to work, meet friends, build community and get inspired. It is also a place to find potential partners. There are countless stories of members who’ve met and collaborated on projects—even built businesses together!


We are so excited to highlight
the amazing Hivery collaboration between
Anne LaFollette & Kim Thompson Steel


Anne LaFollette and Kim Thompson Steel

Anne LaFollette and Kim Thompson Steel

Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds?

Anne: After 20+ years climbing the corporate ladder at huge global retailers like Esprit, the Gap and Old Navy and achieving "success" at the executive level, I decided it was time for me. This also coincided with my son's departure for college at the Rhode Island School of Design. I thought to myself: he must have gotten his creative talent from somewhere. Maybe it's time I explored my own creativity! And I still have all those art supplies I’ve collected over the years in the basement...

Kim: I'm originally from Toronto where I started my career in animation before moving to California in 1995 to work at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).  When my daughter was tiny, I was laid off and spent a couple of years freelancing and teaching before deciding that my storytelling skills might translate well in creating short, web-based videos. Photography was just a hobby for me back then, but over time became a passion that led me to where I am currently—pursuing photography projects that encompass my love of natural light, food, landscapes, and lifestyle imagery of makers and their work.


How were you two initially connected?

Anne: I met Kim at The Hivery. I was initially a little intimidated by her because she has this amazing background in photography and video from her years working at ILM. ILM and anything associated with George Lucas, the Star Wars films and Pixar is the holy grail! We got to know each other slowly through the concierge team and seeing each other in the space.

Kim: I met Anne through the work exchange/concierge program at The Hivery shortly after she joined. I was inspired by her story of completely switching directions to pursue art and pattern-making after her corporate career. Her enthusiasm and energy were so engaging, and I absolutely loved her designs!


How did you come up with the idea to collaborate? Why was it attractive?

Anne: I wanted to work with Kim pretty much from the get go! I would periodically see new websites she had built and they were always gorgeous! But I really couldn't afford her or I wasn't quite ready to make an investment in my business. I built my website myself along with all of my branding assets. But I really love Kim's eye and her photographic style and thought maybe we could collaborate on an "About Me" video and updated photography. It ended up being brilliant. I had so much fun working with her and my video and new product shots and images are absolutely amazing. I wish I had done it sooner and we continue to explore what we might do together next!

Kim: As soon as Anne approached me, I was on board. You can't fake loving someone else's work, and since I am making a conscious choice to work with not only people I like, but do work I appreciate, it was a no-brainer.


Who else have you collaborated with at The Hivery and why?

Anne: I'm a natural connector of people. Whenever I meet someone new, I'm immediately thinking about who else I know that they should meet. I haven’t collaborated with anyone else yet, but I've connected a ton of people to other talented women at The Hivery who hopefully will collaborate on something together. A few recent examples include Barbara Waxman, who needed a graphic designer. I sent her the names of five talented Hivery members. She eventually asked me to connect her directly with Monique Johnson of Mojo Design and Tina Wolfe of Treat Street Snacks. Another example is Marci Rinkoff who needed marketing help. I connected her with the fabulous Prim’d marketing team.

Kim: Even though I used to be a concierge (and thus did tours and greeted folks as they arrive), I'm actually a bit introverted and sometimes reluctant to stick my neck out...which is why my collaboration with Anne worked out so well—she did the hard work! I have also done headshots for a few Hivery members including Meghen Kurtzig, Marlis Jansen, Lisa Rueff, and Lisa Joss, as well as helped build websites in Squarespace for Lisa and for Thais Derich. I recently did my first fashion shoot for Lindsay Regan and her new activewear line. I also shoot many events for The Hivery.


What is it about The Hivery that allows for such beautiful collaboration?

Anne: There is so much talent at The Hivery. I feel blessed to interact with, learn about, and learn from the women who spend time in the space. Grace has definitely set the tone for collaboration by the events she organizes and the interactions she has with members every day.

Kim: I agree with Anne—the wealth of talent, and the variety of skills that our members possess is truly inspiring. I would be happy working with and for Hivery members almost exclusively. When I do tours on Monday mornings, we always start at the member photo board near the door because, for me, it represents what The Hivery is all about: the community and collaboration that has blossomed from bringing women together in this space.


For women who haven't yet found a collaborative partner at The Hivery or elsewhere, what are two or three pieces of advice for them?

Anne: Introduce yourself to someone new everyday. Tell them about what you are working on and show genuine curiosity about what they are working on. Ask other members to introduce you to other members they think you should meet.

Kim: Our online community board, with profiles of all our members and what they do, is a gold mine. If you are looking for a coach, a financial advisor, a photographer, a writer, or anything that your business or life requires, it's so easy to type in what you are looking for and reach out in whatever way is comfortable for you. It’s one of the best benefits of membership!


Why is collaborating so important to you?

Anne: Doing everything by yourself is lonely! And there is so much more power and talent that comes from people putting their heads together to solve a problem or develop assets. And it’s fun! Collaboration creates a deeper bond between people as well. I not only know Kim better now but I appreciate her talent even more after our collaboration because I witnessed her talent in action. It was a beautiful experience to behold! I can't wait to collaborate with her again soon.

Kim: As someone who worked in a team environment for many years, I often found the years of working from home depressing and demotivating. Working on projects with someone is inspiring and brings so much energy and deeply-needed light to my life. And even when I'm working on an independent project, coworking at The Hivery offers that sense of camaraderie that working alone at home will never offer.

The Video Story Kim created with Anne