Rejection letter

Wato all

As promised, warts and all, here is a copy of my rejection email. Fair to say not a great feeling. Message to self, keep on trying 🙂

I share it here to give others a chance to both comment, please do as you see nothing to concrete indicate why, not helpful to be able to look for possible improvements, new directions. Also to give some solidarity to those with similar experiences.

WE HATE HAVING TO SAY ‘NO’
Thanks so much for getting in touch with us. While we can see that there’s real potential in your products, we don’t feel they’re right for notonthehighstreet.com at this time.
We’re huge advocates of creative businesses, and wish we could say yes to all of the talented people – like you – who approach us. But after eight years of learning what our customers like (and have a longing for), 
This can be hard to define, which is why we don’t have hard-and-fast criteria (or are able to offer you any concrete feedback). Nor would we dream of making suggestions that could see you change products which are – more often than not – a creative labour of love. What we can do, though, is wish you and your business every success for the future.
Thanks once more for your interest in notonthehighstreet.com.
Kind regards
notonthehighstreet.com

As you see, not signed so no one you can talk to discuss. Work it out for yourself is the hidden message, whilst keeping the door open in case you get good in future.

It is a real frustration to me that, as so many things in life, the apparent need to be ‘nice’ rather than kind and constructive by telling a truth. A truth that, in the long run is so much easier to reconcile, than the tantalising glimpses; ‘we’re only able to usher in new products that we know for certain have that crucial appeal.’ That certain critical appeal???? Give us a clue as to; ‘While we can see that there’s real potential in your products, we don’t feel they’re right for notonthehighstreet.com at this time’.

Back to the doldrums of navel gazing as to the next direction to take. As always, please do comment, looking for possible reasons, lets have an open debate. I have broad shoulders, figuratively speaking, give me both barrels, please do. I am not  truth adverse I just have a challenge finding and being presented with it. How many of us are fortunate enough to get by to the best of our potential without the thoughtfulness, kindness and directed effort of constructive criticism. I very much welcome yours, ‘warts and all’ 😉

Very many thanks in advance.

Stu

 

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25 thoughts on “Rejection letter

  1. that is a really unhelpfull letter. in fact “piss off we dont like your stuff” would have been slightly more positive becuase at least its not so vague.

    I just went and looked at the site, and a lot of of it is extremely ordinary(theres an independent jewelery shop on my local and very ordinary high street that sells more unusual stuff than a quick scan of the pendants), maybe your stuff was just too individual and didn’t come with the right journalistic/designer reccomendation.

    or maybe you just didn’t send them a nice enough present

    • Awesome reply, thank you very much. Have to say, I laughed out loud after reading it. So very pleased that people feel as associated with the topic enough to comment. In the light of what has been written, by yourself and others, another post to look at some of the thoughts will be along very soon. Again, all my gratitude for taking the time to read and respond. Very best wishes. Stu

  2. Hi I’m not from the UK so I don’t really know the market very well but I did go check out their site its pretty ordinary and typical,the closest thing to your bracelet is something by Otis Jaxon,whoever he is,his price is comparable to yours so its not a matter of price so I don’t really get it either.I think your work is for a Bourgeois Bohemian target market. There are lots of people looking for original artistic made by an artist type of jewellery.Is this at all helpful? I think a conservative,typical jewellery site is not for you and who wants to be there anyways?Your work is too nice for those kinds of places.Thanks Marilyn

    • First Congratulations Marilyn, I checked your LinkedIn update, very best of luck in your making journey also.
      I hope to be able to, through posts such as these, be able to oil the wheels somewhat for myself and others who face similar marketing/selling challenges.
      As the previous reply, another post to look closer at the thoughts will be along shortly, thank you for giving food for it.
      Wow though, your Bourgeois Bohemian target market thought. I’m very honoured to think thats how my work could be perceived, and too nice, what a kind thing to write.
      I feel sure you are right, lots of people are looking for original work, where though remains a very real challenge. opusanglicanum, in the previous reply makes a point about being recommended, a lot to say about that, please watch out for the next post.
      Very best wishes

  3. Hi Stu,
    Being a seller on NOTHS I thought I might comment too! 🙂 I joined (well, paid a lot of money to be on there… plus the roughly third of the price that you pay in commission) 4 or 5 years ago and although NOTHS was originally started up just for people like you and me, small independent makers with individual and unique art jewellery, it has now grown into something different altogether. Basically, I think your work is too individual, upmarket and arty for them, they do the best with run of the mill personalised quite plain jewellery now and that is what they promote and seem to want to sell. You will see that the same sellers are featured over and over in their campaigns and most sellers never get a mention or a promo. They are constantly bringing in new rules that disadvantage just the businesses that made them what they are. The support for the small independent artist and maker is just not there anymore. The name NotOnTheHighStreet also doesn’t apply any more as you will find people/shops on there, who simply buy in, or even worse, import their products and basically just use NOTHS as another shop front, many of them are actual physical shops. I think I was lucky to get in when I did, I think if I applied now I wouldn’t get it. Saying that, I have done well out of them but I have learnt over time what sells and I now only sell my set collections on there, I keep my one off work on my own web site and also sell on Etsy, which by the way might be worth a try for you! I sell a few bits now and then on there but I do see other UK sellers that do really well, and that have clearly created a following of people and built up their sales. Give it a try, and as someone else said your market is different, you need people who appreciate artisan handmade work, and don’t worry about NOTHS, it’s their loss!
    Cheers,
    Carin

    • Hi Carin.
      I am so very sorry for the time taken to reply to your kind and thoughtful post. I’m not the most technical (computer) person and ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ most of the time. Having just noticed the notification, totally ashamed not to be more mindful of this site. I am often criticised by people who know me quite well for not answering emails promptly. Fact is, checking emails is, at best sporadic, oftentimes I don’t go near the computer for many days, unless I’m expecting a personal message of course.
      How very kind of you to share your first hand experience. Hope you read my other post regarding the hows and whys of my approach to them. Fair to say the selling, approaching outlets, is still a sticky wicket for me. As it is for most everyone I imagine.
      I have had a more in-depth look at the site and what is on offer. You are quite right, bit of a shop front, in the real sense of the word. It is sad isn’t it, the buying in of cheaply produced overseas products, presented under the banner of NOTHS. Deceptive perhaps, lucrative, almost certainly.
      It saddens me to learn you don’t think you would be accepted if you applied today. Amazing how businesses change to accommodate the most profit, rather than the original ethos’s that inspired them to come into existence in the first instance.
      I did try Etsy one time. I will try again fairly soon, I will post when up and running. I didn’t have a single enquiry or question when I listed about a year ago. I do think that the price points are critical, especially for Etsy. I would be interested to hear others thoughts. I am lead to understand that internet jewellery purchases are good up to approximately £45-£50. Anything above and its best if its branded, unknown makers struggling above this price point. The directions being worked on at this time will enable me to offer pieces up to this, again as I understand, ‘critical’ price point barrier for small makers like me. Thank you for giving me a push, it’s a comfort to know that some U/K sellers are doing well. As above, I should spend more time looking at sites to work it out.
      Your site looks very very nice. Simple to navigate thorough, informative and beautifully presented, welcoming for people to ‘click around.’ The diversity of your work is brilliant, fair to say you deserve all the success your work must provide you with. I’m humbled that you should keep an eye on this blog. I sincerely hope you get something from it, techniques and tools with luck, for sure you will learn little in the way of sales and marketing. Your contribution is so very gratefully received. You obviously ‘have the T shirt’ I know you feel some of the things written in this post having experienced them yourself first hand.
      I would like to take the opportunity to both thank you, and congratulate you on your very distinctive and wonderful work. The Allium series is especially striking to me. Just what I’m looking for, huge impact with implied movement, wonderful.
      Thank you for saying their loss. At this, financially, difficult time, I’m bound to say the ugliness of the situation is aiding my clouded thinking. What was I thinking 😉
      All my very best wishes.
      Stu.

      • Thanks for your reply Stu! You are right, money and profit rules,and NOTHS have now grown into a “beast”, with large TV campaigns etc. I guess they have to change as they grow, just a shame when it happens at the expense of the smaller independent makers.

        In terms of sales online I sell up to around £150 for one off pieces, so the £45-50 mark doesn’t always apply. Most sales are around £25-£35 but I do still sell the more expensive pieces. To be honest, since the financial climate went downhill my sales have changed in ways I didn’t predict. The smaller sales of £25-£35 have increased, the mid range sales have gone down but the bigger sales haven’t really changed much. Basically I think what has happened is that those that bought things for £40-£60 are now spending less because they have less money to spend on luxuries such as jewellery. However, the people who could afford to spend in excess of £100 are still spending that as they seem less affected by the tough times. Just my own little reflection though! 🙂

        Thanks for the comments on my web site and work, I do OK but couldn’t really live on it at the moment, partly due to me not having enough time to devote to it (have a 4 year old and another on the way… plus me and my husband run a web design/development business which also takes my time). I used to do a lot of fairs, they are quite hard work, doesn’t always generate much money at the time, but they are prettty good at getting your name out there, and people do pick up cards and come back when they need a present etc. I am lucky that I do well enough online to keep me more than busy so now I don’t do many fairs any more.

        Approaching quality galleries and shops might be a good one for you, check out the Indie Retail Academy http://www.indieretailacademy.com/ for tips on how to approach shop owners the right way and how to be prepared etc. I think having a few different avenues of selling works best for a smallish maker so to have your own web site, a few good shops/galleries, perhaps selling through Etsy and doing the odd fair now and then. You will soon build up a loyal following that will keep coming back for your work. Eventually you will be in a situation when you can choose which one of those avenues work the best and you can focus your efforts further.

        I still have a lot to learn when it comes to marketing and sales, getting out there to sell myself more, keeping on top of social media etc. etc. Can’t remember the last time I blogged for example! 🙂 And I always struggle for time to work on new collections, so many ideas and so little time… Sadly the making is a very small part of running a successful jewellery business these days, so much to try and stay on top of!

        Keep going, I’m sure you will find the selling avenues that suit you and your great work.
        Cheers,
        Carin

      • How very kind of you to share some private knowledge about the price points. Its more than I could have asked for, thank you, a smashing heads up on a possible direction for me to take regarding on line sales from a person who ‘has the T shirt’ as it were. The other link looks interesting, the retail academy. I have tried some sites such as these. On balance, its fair to say the advice is often times, I have found, American market balanced and not specific to our type of work, though some very good general points can be gleaned true to add. I will give it a go, thank you very much for informing me.
        It’s interesting what you write about the higher end, along with the lower price points affected less. I have heard this from others. As one of my first bosses said; either be content to be at the bottom of the pile and be supported by the middle classes and their taxes. Better still be rich like me and be shielded from most things and have the middle classes make me more. With luck the higher end will be sharing a bit more as the economy appears to be picking up, a return to a fairer balance would be better for all eh.
        Congratulations on your upcoming addition 🙂 I can say, whenever Im made aware of people such as you and your husband. I feel a pang of guilt, why can’t I be as productive. It will be a great thing to see how much more you achieve in future years when life settles down for you all. I look forward to seeing the wonderful things you will make in the future to compliment your already very impressive line up.
        I do need to ‘get out of my own way’ as it were. I’m bound to say, I’m sure I made it clear in my posts. The thought of engaging with the public is not a prospect I relish. Alas, I’m sure it’s the best way to go. Galleries and other outlets appear to want to see some Providence. The problem with most of my work to this point is the time taken to realise it, hence the price appears prohibitive when compared with other offerings. Experience teaches me, if I can engage, some will appreciate the difference. My trouble is, I don’t think my current line up will go down well on Etsy and the like. I did sign up a year or so ago, for a year. Alas, not a single enquiry. I feel it would be better for me to look to the price point you so kindly share to see if I could re launch my Etsy experience, with luck achieving some success, rather than not a sausage. Time for a new making direction.
        Your encouragement and kindness is greatly received. I extend to you all the very best of luck also, and thank you for sharing your upcoming joy, all your family must be over the moon.
        Very best wishes.
        Stu.

  4. Thanks for posting this. In addition to being very unhelpful, the letter seems so generic. I have not done very many shows so I don’t have much experience with this sort of thing, but I often get the feeling that in addition to having something that the jury feels will sell well to their customer base, there’s often an element of total luck or randomness. Hard on us artists who identify so intimately with our work: If someone rejects my work, I feel it is a direct rejection of me — right or wrong. There’s also another thing at work that I experienced when I entered a contest a couple years ago at the local metalsmithing store. I was just learning saw piercing, but produced a piece that I felt was my best work, and I did not feel that it was less skillful than anything else at the show. In fact, I was very proud of this piece, despite my limited skills. I was happy I entered the piece, and not surprised that I did not win. What surprised me was that a while later I was at a small craft fair and came across another metalworker whose work I have admired for a long time. We started talking and I showed her one of the pieces I had with me. She said excitedly, “YOUR work is at _____!!! Your piece is one of 3 that the staff are showing to everyone who comes in!!!” I was thrilled to have this acknowledgement from a peer, especially one whose work I love. But then she told me about a conversation she had with someone else at the shop. Her piece didn’t win either. Turns out that, before any pieces were even entered or judged, the judges had a clear idea of the “look” they were going for. They had almost decided what kind of piece would win before they saw the submissions. This was a bit shocking, but not entirely (I’m pretty cynical by nature). I’m proud of my piece and not sure it would have won any prizes, but it highlights how others, right or wrong, knowledgeable or not, are sometimes put in charge of our futures and our financial stability. I don’t know what the answer is. Public recognition and acceptance to shows are essential to our continued survival, and constructive criticism would certainly help us to grow as artists and jewelry makers, rather than a form letter with happy sounding words that crushes our souls.

    • Congratulations on, what was clearly a very well thought out, designed and made piece, any chance of seeing it please 🙂
      I can relate to how you felt when recognised by an artisan you personally admire. I had a similar feeling when Victoria Lansford (what a shameless bit of namedropping eh!) Featured two of my repousse cuffs on her brilliant website as student of the month. As I taught myself, using her instructional DVD, this was indeed high recognition of the many hours I devoted to the whole process from the master who inspired it.
      Puts it in the context somewhat of what is written. Both you and I were recognised by ‘authorities’ if you will. Having to get past the beige army that is the management class remains a misery. Presenting, as it appears to me, somewhat of a sticky wicket for those of us not fortunate enough to be confident, competent or even aware of the culture that tips the nod to some, leaving the rest to ponder in the wilderness.
      You are very much more deserving, as you do participate in competitions and go to fairs. I do not, I will elaborate in the next post and give reasons why this retailer was chosen for me to approach.
      Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply, greatly appreciated, it will give food for thought with the upcoming ‘rejection2’ post.
      Very best wishes. Stu

  5. I agree with everyone else, the jewellery on NOTHS is safe, middle of the road stuff. They clearly know what sells and what their clientele are looking for and are not prepared to take a punt on something more individual, edgy maybe? I also noticed quite a bit of personalised stuff in the jewellery line. Might be worth thinking about without compromising your design ethic. If they don’t want you, to me that means this is not the right outlet for you, not that your work isn’t good enough. Keep looking for the right place to engage with the clientele who will appreciate your work!

    • Thank you very much Julia. Fair to say you must have to deal with similar challenges with your distinct style. Its just very difficult to find ‘the right’ place I find. Part of the reason for posting is to try to discover another perspective on the hows and whys of the market as well as the making process.
      I will keep looking, I’m also about to write a response to why I approached NOTHS, and also possible learnings from this post. Your continuing support and input is very gratefully received and anticipated.
      Very best wishes. Stu

  6. Stu, I don’t have much to add to the previous comments – all very astute and helpful. I speak from experience, having had a few rejections in the past two decades! Personally, I have not been successful with online sales. My work is not trendy enough or maybe it needs more of a human touch. Craft fairs and fine craft galleries (where the staff is usually more knowledgeable about what they sell) have always been better outlets for me. You say (in your next post) that having a table at a craft fair is not your thing… I am a very shy person and don’t particularly enjoy “selling myself”, but this is what works: engaging with people on a personal level, taking the time to talk about your pieces, the inspiration behind them, the process, the tools you use, the quality of the materials, etc. whatever makes them unique. I wholeheartedly agree with Julia’s comments and her suggestion (in your following post). I hope you give it a try. I think you’d be amazing and quite a hit (and your jewellery as well) as you are such a passionate and eloquent (and talented) kind of guy 🙂

    • I am very grateful for your thoughts, I feel like I’m swimming against an invisible rip current. I know the causes, the sensations and have a vague understanding of the lay of the land that encourages them. Alas, practically, I’m still having real challenges avoiding getting caught up in them and being swept away from where I wish to be.
      I do think craft fairs and specialist galleries are the way to go. Alas, I still am struggling personally with the former, and intellectually, inasmuch as I have no idea how to discover and approach, with the latter.
      I still hope to find out, passing on anything that may also be of assistance to others, something of the approaches to bypass the craft fair route. I truly feel you are right when it comes to the internet, I tried Etsey and also a start up online business called Two Red Trees that was started up to promote English craftspeople, no joy there, I didn’t sell anything from either.
      Interestingly Two Red Trees appears to have taken a similar route to NOTHS. They initially were enthusiastic and helpful when I first applied. After a period of time they decided to charge a monthly fee as well as commission for any work sold. As you can imagine, in the light of no sales, this was untenable.
      I do think the internet is, at this time, not suitable for makers like you and I presenting one off and individual designs. Customers appear to be ‘safe and price sensitive’. I have written about it in my final dissertation submitted for my final year. The forged wire bangles were, to my eye, far more ‘commercial’ and repeatable than anything else I have made to date. Thats another reason I tried to go with an online retailer, also the price points were, again to my mind, very competitive for this type of work.
      Challenges raised here all point towards the balance between making what an individual maker wants, and making what is need to survive, and/or subsidise valuable income. I feel certain I have not reached that target, nor anywhere near it at this time. Even my repousse work is compromised with the considerations of saleability and repeatability. The commissions are a wonderful bonus for me, and represent a welcome distraction from introspective ‘battles’ and struggling to interpret what others may appreciate with personal and cost considerations taken into account.
      It’s so very kind of you to write you think I would be amazing and quite a hit. It never ceases to amaze me that we are all seemingly able to see the potential and best in others, whilst at the same time discounting our own gifts and appeal.
      I’m bound to admit, I used to have confidence aplenty. I would have at one time relished the opportunity to engage with people. Alas, setbacks and cowardice has made me a very different person today than I was only a few years ago.
      I don’t know who said it, though I will repeat the quote; no one can insult you without your permission. It’s a poignant one, and the words I need to internalise and make a mantra. With the kindness and support of people such as yourself, Hope springs eternal eh 🙂
      As always, thank you so very much for continuing to join me on the journey.
      Very best wishes.
      Stu.

  7. I received the very same letter! A silversmith too! I am really pleased now that it worked out that way as NOTHS are selling high street items at inflated prices now. I have a shop, where I sell lifestyle/gifts along side my silver work. I contacted them about selling my jewellery on there and got “the letter”. They then contacted me, in an unrelated way, asking me if I had considered selling my other stock on there. I had a quick scan and Items I am selling in the shop for £3.99 are on NOTHS for £10.99. So I cant help but see it as a bit of a rip off now. Not for the creative hearted anyway. Co operatives are always good to get involved in… shared costs, shared risk, shared man hours… but sharing the love too 😉

    • Welcome to the NOTHS rejection club Jo 😉 Not to worry, we will not remember least alone care this time next month eh.
      Co-operatives are a great thing I feel sure. Though I will say, I know someone who is in a mixed gallery, with very mixed results. Some dismissing the others work, wanting to push painting, rather than sculpture for example. I guess its like any other relationship, inasmuch as compromise is a way of life. Its just making sure you are getting something back in return for your compromises. I would dearly like to be part of something that shared the love 🙂 sounds tickety boo to me. I was talking to someone recently – ‘why don’t you start a gallery then’. Fair point well put. As the co-op example, I’m a guilty as many others who are searching for ‘them’ rather than getting off my but and starting something myself.
      I agree, its a tragedy that a company that appears to have started as far more idealistic and supportive of individual makers, such as us, should turn to the dark side. I suppose thats business, I’m reminded as to why I left to start this, I was hoping more reclusive path.
      Very many thanks for getting in touch, fantastic to have you aboard, please do keep chipping in. You never know, the next reply, yours perhaps, could be the start of a better direction for all of us.
      Very best wishes.
      Stu.

  8. Hi again Stu,

    Thanks for well wishes!

    Just a quick comment, the Indie Retail Academy is run by a Scottish lady so does apply to UK retail and is actually pretty good. Takes the scariness out of approaching shops and galleries!

    Carin

  9. Read this with interest. I applied and got the rejection email only mine was much shorter than yours so you should be pleased! I find their lack of willingness to give feedback is not in line with the President of NOTHS’s statement of championing small businesses tra-la on their website. If they were that keen on championing them they’d make some effort to give constructive feedback, not necessarily on the product itself even but more as to why it failed their own criteria. For those just starting out, a NOTHS rejection is possibly going to be an even bigger knock than those further down the line who’ve been knocked a lot!

    Nina

    • Fantastic to have you aboard the NOTHS rejected train. Please don’t feel too disheartened. This is one of the main reasons I write this blog, to share the experiences to give others some comfort. I’m going to, with luck, update with another post to share some good news regarding a new outlet. Still a firm believer that ALL work will sell. What was a shock to me, guessing you are experiencing similar. The amount of time, trouble, wasted effort and set backs like the letters we both received. So important not to give up. On with the quotes that I’m too dull to remember who made them, or where I heard them. I firmly believe that it’s the ones who keep at it who will prevail in the end. I heard it said that success was 80+% just turning up. From someone (me) who has had many setbacks along this journey, please don’t let the buggers grind you down. Its been my experience, end buyers, purchasers of our work, are far more interesting and easier to satisfy than many people who are the gatekeepers of the outlets that present it. To me, it would appear many times that image is very important to buyers (shops galleries ect) people who are attracted enough to our work are just interested in the work, not a perception of the person who made it and their presentation skills. I so agree, feedback is soooo difficult to obtain. Well meaning people will tell you what they assume you wish to hear. All very politically correct and strategically advantageous to the fence sitters who will keep a door open, rather that tell it how it is. Of no practical use to us, where do we find constructive criticism? feedback that is relevant and useful? I still struggle. The paradox, as I see it, is the ‘criteria’ that outlets such as NOTHS judge us, though don’t want to share. In this companies instance it would appear to have been taken out of the hands of the visionaries who made it a success. Once the sales increased, fair to assume, the company became attractive to mainstream company/business people. If you look at what is on offer, this is a shell of an ideal that was started. I feel a little foolish for trying to ‘get in’. Fair to say though, its still a lesson learned. Please do keep in touch and perhaps share other experiences that may be of help to others. I still feel a little mad when I see decent, creative people go by the way because they either don’t have the right business attitude or image approach, perhaps their face doesn’t fit. Nothing to do with work made that may well be spectacular. Rest assured, there is a place out there for all of us. The tricky bit is finding them, with luck someone who could/would give some advice may read this, or other blogs like this one, passing on some ideas. Now on to another search engine marathon eh 🙂 All my very best wishes. Stu 🙂

  10. I think that NOTHS has caused a huge problem for creative, artistic people, because unless your work fits into the ‘mass market’ genre (which surely is a huge contradiction in that their name is NOT on the high street) you do not stand an earthly of getting accepted. Their fees are huge, and it seems to me that they have become a necessary evil for a lot of sellers.

    People shop on the site because they believe they are getting unique individual things, which in a lot of cases is just is not true.

    So for the rest of us, who are trying very, very hard to sell our quality handmade items online, there is nowhere to turn. I sell very well indeed in person, on a stall, so I know that my things are in demand. But I daren’t even think of NOTHS, with a family to support along with my husband, I cannot afford the fees and would no doubt be rejected for being too individual anyway.

    I have tried putting a few of my products online, and when I get some good traffic I get sales, but otherwise I think it is extremely time consuming, hard work to get yourself noticed.

    • Wato Lottie

      Smashing to have you aboard, wonderful to know such creative people take the time to read and comment.

      I’m over the moon with Reens’ ginny pig, I’m about to post and will show the little beauty at my bench, giving a link to your fantastic site. Thank you so very much, it’ll make a wonderful surprise.

      I will comment further on points made about the rejection letter and other challenges in the post. Do read and, if you feel you would like to, your comments would be very gratefully received, not just by me but others embarked upon a similar path.

      Wishing you a very happy and busy Christmas.

      very best wishes. Stu

  11. Enjoyed the letter and I have to say that some of what they said is true for each individual sales point. They have figured out what their range of clients are looking for from them and are sticking with that formula. Okay – they could have told you that a bit clearer – On the other side as an sometime artist I have one story that I will relate – I was Blacksmithing for about 5 years and started to make some knives. I started out with Railroad Spike knives. I used to leave them in their rough state on the top half of the blade, obviously sharpened and cleaned on the other, handles varied with twists and designs. I had several fellow BSs deride me for their rough look and told me they look like crap (they used other words) and would never sell. Okay… I didn’t make many of these, but the ones I made over the years I liked and many others seemed to as they all sold, after a while. Five years go by and I begin to see real Bladesmiths work proliferate the internet and lo and behold they have the same design scheme. So my point is there is a market for your work, you just have to find it. Rejection is part of the craft and at least they sent a nice unsigned letter for you poke fun at. 🙂 The Christmas Season or Holiday Season is upon us and I am sure that someone will be interested in your work. Sally Forth! There be creative things to do!
    See ya at the Forge!
    Vince

    • Thank you Vince for another perspective, smashing to have your thoughts, thank you.

      I do feel the need to clarify a little regarding the ‘tone’ if you will of the message I have attempted to convey.

      Your story about the ‘rough’ work resonates with me. I also am very happy with the work I make. Like you, it takes time and effort, sometimes ‘wasted’ effort. Though its never wasted is it, if nothing else a new perspective or skill is learned in the process don’t you think.

      I fully agree that most anything will sell. The challenge is in the finding of appropriate outlets, therein lies the true root of it for me, and I would say a silent majority of people like us. This is a difficult subject to get right. The risk being to my mind, points raised coming across as whinging or needy, fishing for complements. My attempt is to try to take out the emotion and bringing a more formulaic approach, where possible of course. Forgetting the work as it were, concentrating upon the attitudes towards it by the gatekeepers to the buying public. The public buyer in my experience, is far less discerning regarding concepts, image, photographs and the like, also more honest in their feedback as to the winning and loosing aspects of a type of work. Without similar openness and honesty from outlets being approached, flogging a dead horse, worse disheartenment and retirement from the creative path could result through a lack of advice that could be so easily given.

      Quite right, as you say they have researched their market and know what is appropriate for their clientele. What is it? why is it a secret kept from people who wish to partake.

      Where the rejection letters don’t help is in being very fuzzy, sometimes even ambiguous. The very things I try to ‘cut through’ with posts such as this.

      Thank you once again Vince, your comments are greatly appreciated.

      Wishing you a busy and very happy Christmas.
      Stu

  12. Dear Stu

    I got the very same letter! I mean yeah it hurts, but seriously it looks like they just skim
    through the work, giving the same letter to everyone, with no proper feedback.

    As of now I’m doing well on Etsy, and hopefully will continue to do so.

    Cheers
    – Mats

    • Quite Right Mats. I posted it to give other some comfort. As the saying goes, your not alone. However, it can be very upsetting when your on your own gazing at a letter that is dismissing you for no apparent reason other than the ‘special something’ that is talked about, though hardly ever explained. Sorry for the time taken to reply. Haven’t been here for months due to JMC.
      I wish you all the success in you’re continuing journey. Etsy and beyond.
      Very best wishes.
      Stu

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