collaborations can be tricky. the relationship has to be right. if there is a potential company that you are trying to get in with, make sure that when they see you, they know that you are completely on their brand. wearing, being aware of, or promoting their already existing business is a great way to get on their radar. if you love a shoe company, make sure that if you don't already own their product, you exude the lifestyle that the particular brand promotes. do not jump the gun, so to speak, on potential partnerships. nothing should be forced on either end, and everything should feel 100% natural.
striking while the iron is hot is crucial, so if you are riding high on a wave of success, or a giant press hit, that is the perfect time to reach out. the build up should already be in place. don't blow it by reaching out too early, or when your brand is not as developed as it should be. you wouldn't want to work with a no-name newbie, would you? (sorry, truth). it will also be harder to reach out later because they may just look right over you having brushed by in the past. develop your own brand before you get anyone else from another company involved.
you need to be very confident and aware of your own brand before getting your branding and marketing confused and tangled up with another. a partnership is just like any other relationship. as any relationship guru says, you need to love yourself before you can love someone else. the same goes for business partnerships. (sorry that was the cheesiest thing ever...EVER)