I debated on writing today because I am not sure if I have anything very interesting to discuss today. After putting in some really long hours the past week or so, I think it is time for me to take a breath. I had to smile to myself when someone who placed an order put a note that said how anxious they were for the patterns. It really made me feel good to know that the hard work I invested was appreciated and people like the design.
It isn't always like that. I am not mentioning this out of anger or disappointment, but because my goal here with my blog is to paint a realistic picture of what it entails to run and operate a small, home-based business. There are many good days, which I love to share, but there are also some times when things don't turn out as I expected, and I think it would not be a realistic representation if I didn't share the not so positive things as well. Fortunately, they don't seem to happen too often. But I don't think that many of you would think much of me if I only talked about the great things that happened and not the failures. Not everyone loves every pattern that I make.
Creating patterns for others is like that. When you look at things logically, it just HAS to be. I have made patterns (recently, as a matter of fact) that haven't sold. I actually had a pattern last month that didn't sell even ONE copy. When I showed the project and posted it in my groups, it got lots of 'oohs' and 'aaahs' and I thought I had a winner. But when I posted it in the newsletter and put it on the site, nothing came of it. Not one sold as of yet.
This happened before recently as well. Just before Christmas I previewed a pattern in one of my painting groups and everyone was (I thought!) clamoring for it. I got several email messages from people who wanted it and since it was only partially done, I decided to make a list and told the interested people that I will email them as soon as it became available (in a few days). They readily agreed and I wound up with I think eighteen names on it. It made me work harder and was great motivation.
Long story short, I finished the project and posted the pattern on the site. I made the announcement in the group and put lots of pictures of the finished pieces and kits, which were (I thought) cute. I then sent out emails to the eighteen people and waited for the orders to roll in.
They just didn't come. I think that only one person actually followed through and ordered the pattern and a kit. I had cut several kits out in anticipation of the orders and they are still there in my bin. Every time I see them, I am reminded that nothing is a 'sure thing'. I think it is a valuable lesson.
Do I think that the project was ugly? Or that people were just being 'nice'?
I don't know.
I do know that there were eighteen people that took the time and energy to seek me out and write me in anticipation for the pattern. It was a bit confusing.
I have thought about these things and tried to figure out what happened. Perhaps it was timing. Maybe the three days that passed from when they first asked to when the patterns were done was cutting it too close. These were holiday pieces and while we were still several weeks away from the holiday, maybe they got filled in with something else.
It could have been that people were over extended. I know how December can be. (These were Christmas items) People make lists and by the time they get to the bottom, they may see that they don't have as much to invest in things as they thought. The bills from earlier purchases start rolling in and they see the direction they may be heading and may want to put on the brakes a bit.
Or maybe it was impulse. Maybe they were delighted by the first photos of the project and after thinking a bit on it, came to their senses and thought – "maybe next year."
It is hard to say.
But it was a good lesson for me and a great reminder that nothing is a "given."
We take risks when we design. Even when we think things are sure. I had a designer friend who was commissioned to do a piece for an organization. She was on her way to a show at the time and that was stated at the beginning, but the solicitors still wanted her work. When she returned from the show, she shuffled her schedule around and busted her hump to get the piece done as quickly as possible, putting her other work on hold. When she presented the finished project, the organization rejected it, saying it just wasn't what they wanted. They backed out of the deal.
She was devastated and I was livid on her behalf. I thought it was pretty crappy of the organization to treat her that way. Her designs are darling and she definitely has her own style. I can pick her work out from a hundred pieces (and that is a GOOD thing!). I am sure the piece she did was of the same caliber as what I have become used to seeing from her. She always does quality work.
I suppose that is what prompted me to write this. It made me think of my own failure(s) mentioned above. As an artist and designer, we NEED to learn to NOT take these things personally. It is all part of the vocation we chose to follow.
To many, these disappointments could be the end for us. It may be the last straw for someone who is struggling to make things work. But for those of us who realize that everyone likes different things, it is just a mere hiccup in our road to success. It should be used as a lesson, and while it should be noted, it should not be treated with more importance than it deserves.
People are different. They like different things. I like different things than many people I know, but that is what makes me unique and makes my designs stand out from others'. Instead of looking at my differences as a curse, I have learned to embrace them and count on them to put me in a place where no one else has gone. My differences will make me successful. So will yours.
I hope the next time things don't go just the way you like, you remember this and keep moving forward. Don't let these things hold you back. Be true to yourself and follow your heart.
I suppose I DID find something to write about after all. Funny how that works. ;)
I plan on taking the weekend to get some things tied up around here. We had an incredibly busy day yesterday with our update. It was a thrill to see how many people liked our new designs. It made me feel as if I may be somewhat on the right track. For now, anyway.
I have lots of fun things to keep me busy this weekend:
-I need to do a little sewing repair on my winter coat (It seems like a small thing, but I have been saying that for weeks! I need to just get it done!)
-I need to work on our 'organizational project' that I began showing. (Yes – we are working on it. Keith is almost done building and there has been a piece sitting in the middle of our bedroom for several weeks that I need to take time to paint. I promise a full blog or two on that result soon.)
-I needed to do some baking and cooking. I made some pecan sandies yesterday and they are incredible!
-I need to change my 'all season tree' to a spring theme. The polar theme is beautiful and may be my favorite, but it is time to change it.
-I also have gifts to make, painting to do, classes to take and a myriad of other things that get put on the side when I am 'working'.
I suppose it looks like a long list, but it is all good. Call it "spring cleaning". Whatever it is, it will feel good to do.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Today is Friday the 13th, so I will show you a photo of my beautiful black kitty, Coco. The boys seem to get most of the press because Coco is much quieter and gentler than they are.
She is a beautiful and gentle friend.
I am off to have another cup of coffee and a cookie or two. It is going to be a beautiful weekend. Have a great one yourselves.
(Coffee service by April Glader of Coffee Cat Pottery. She makes absolutely wonderful pieces!)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"