Rejection reasons, thoughts and directions

Wato wato all

What a truly fantastic response to my rejection letter, thank you so much for all the kindness and support. In the darkest of times, its quite a comfort. However, the point isn’t to dwell on the negative, rather to look at possible reasons and fresh approaches that help to move an aspiring maker forward, regarding finding a platform;

An explanation as to why I chose to approach NOTHS to represent my work. I’m really very bemused as to what will sell, looking at the comments gratefully received, it is clear that the bulk of my work so far is not, on the face of it, very suitable. To get the whinging out of the way, I’m not selling near enough pieces to either give me confidence enough to make more. The other more earthy reason is, I’m running out of money to ‘waste’ on designs that are not popular enough to sell ‘where they are now’. Where they are now is something I will re visit to later in this post.

The new wave wire forged bangles proved to be a bit of a hit at the Jewellery Workshop in Porthleven. I have sold most all of the first batch in a few weeks. This gave me the confidence to make another run, having them photographed for the purpose of trying to be attractive to NOTHS. Why them? Two reasons, the first is purely financial; at this time, even if I was fortunate enough to be offered a place in another gallery/outlet, the cost of supplying them, sale and return, is highly prohibitive. I’m in enough dept, and parasitic enough to my hard working and long suffering spouse. The selling platform gives the opportunity to be exposed to a vast audience, NOTHS advertises on commercial T.V. Without the need for large amounts of stock, just a photograph of your work and a commitment, if the piece is sold out (if only), to providing the customer the option of waiting for a new one to be made for them. The other is a very clever piece of software that continues to work on my browser.

I feel sure we all look at other work; O/K I look at it all the time in an attempt to fathom desirable traits that people wish to see in a piece before committing to purchase. As written, NOTHS advertises on T.V. I looked them up on line, punched into the search ‘wire bangles’ and compared what was on offer, with my own. Tickety boo, thinks I, my forged bangles will not look too out of place here. Fair to say, I pretty much forgot about it for a while. Then when looking at a totally unrelated site, the bangles I had looked at were flashing on the page with a click to return to NOTHS. Very very slick and clever, it appears that if you look at an item on the website, somehow an add will present itself when you least expect it, to bring your mind back to the piece you last looked at whilst on the site. This was a large part of why I approached them.

Unfortunately, unlike the people who very kindly took the trouble to comment, this should have been the start of a better closer look at the site and a closer investigation to find out if my work was best suited to be there. I paid the price didn’t I.

To be eager to get somewhere is not good enough. The forged wire bangles perhaps could have ticked the box for them. One of the issues could have been, just these having a degree of mass appeal. Making me, at best, a one trick pony with little else to offer them, or anyone else.

I have to put my hand up to another, far more personal and embarrassing reason why I wanted to be apart of this site. I’m hideously useless and very apprehensive when it comes to meeting people over a table presenting my work. I used to have, my parents may say at one stage too much confidence and assuredness. Alas, as I have grown older, the scars have hindered me to the point where I’m almost paralysed by the thought of having a stall. For those of you thinking of selling your work I would respectively suggest you need to address this serious character flaw if you too are similarly minded.

Of the people I know of, both personally and by watching from afar, the thing that appears to bind them in success, is the confidence to stand up with their work and present it to the world. I do not suffer from envy, however if I’m minded to think of an emotion that resembles it in my field of experience, this is it. Not only that but valuable feedback if there for the person meeting and greeting people from their stall. This is pure gold for finding ideas and fresh approaches to make successful designs.

Long story short, after a string of failures in my work record, all I wanted to do was work alone. Having to, through necessity and choice, work with my hands since a child, I was drawn to this craft. Another word of caution to others who may be in a similar place, don’t forget marketing and presentation, I did, look where its led me.

My romantic vision of this type of creative work had me imagining, being alone, making in my workshop, whilst galleries and outlets email d me invoices and repeat orders. Not happening now, nor in any future I can see at this time. Highly unlikely, has anybody any idea of the path that needs to be trod to get to this, for me, end point. As you see, this is actually a third point why on line retailing appealed to me as an individual.

Being weak in this way is, I know, severely holding my progress back. Everything I now look to make is tainted with the ‘need’ to be popular, to obtain a foothold. This was never a consideration from the start, as such it is alien to me and a real source of anguish that was not planned for.

I believed at the start of my making journey, I still do, that a market exists for everyone who makes personal items. I had absolutely no concept of the difficulty facing, me at the very least, a maker in a quest for recognition by the outlets that are needed to realise a personal potential. Worse than that, who to approach and where to look to find them? I have no idea at this time, only the desire to continue on this path has prevented me from throwing in the towel.

Those of you who read all of my posts may recall a reference to an old silversmithing book; potted version, if your not in the right mindset, you will make awful work.

This could very well be at the heart of my current situation. I share it here with you to give some comfort to others who may be similarly self ham strung as it were. Rest assured, a very intensive inner battle is being waged at this time. Being absolutely desperate to get out of my own way, it will happen someday soon. I will let you know when the epiphany happens!

Back to the selling conundrum, again i will ask for any and all advice that you may be kind enough to share. To be clear, and this is almost worst as a result of my position at this time; I am very happy with the work I produce. I love the process the finishing and the modification of tools and learning new techniques to realise them. I don’t take it personally when outlets reject me. I know I that as an individual, also my pieces, are Marmite – love or loathe me/it. Marmite still has a solid fan base though perhaps not mass appeal. I ‘just’ have to find my base.

Too hokey, though I will share my thoughts out loud to see if it resonates with anyone. Does a persons inner demons reflect in their attitude, and work, making them perhaps unconsciously undesirable to the majority of decent people. I appreciate this is a hideous self centred concept. I only mention it here as most other avenues have been explored by me. Again this could well be at the root of much that is presented to me at this time. Perhaps inadvertently deserved. If so, then a person must stay positive to the thoughts that change is not only possible, but essential and inevitable when presented with better examples and avenues. This is where I still hope to glean something form others who may be kind enough to ‘tell it how it is’ far rather than just be a fair weather friend.

This is where the rejection letter is, to my opinion, very weak, contradictory and wishy washy. By the act of applying, the message is clear, the person wants to join. By not giving a reason, how is this helpful? Imaging sending your CV to a company, going through their selection process, only to be told; we appreciate you wish to join, your CV has gaps in it, though we will not tell you what they are. Keep on trying and find out for yourself what you think we may want and by all means re apply. Is it me?

The same goes for not wanting to influence, why not, its up to the maker if they wish to act upon advice given. Again, by applying, the goal is to join, any and all help is surly implied should one not be successful in meeting standards that are not made clear when applying.

I have, to be sure to be written too much. Whats more worrying is that this post could have been over twice as long!!!

In conclusion, please do comment as this is, to my mind, the most important topic regarding the future success and long-livedness of a future maker. There is a justification in saying, all that I am good at can be tought. It is all mechanics, techniques and applied reasoned practice. Anyone can do it. You cannot help but improve with the right practice. The tip of an iceberg just touched upon here, is a far more difficult circle to square. 

If my work is to continue to be as one off piece, great, very happy with that. However if it has to become more mainstream, at the very least have a degree of it to help fund the more quirky designs. I wish that greater insights will be forthcoming in the near future.

Thank you all again for such a fantastic response. Please do comment, your interest in the topics I raise is a great honour to me, as previously said, its also a great comfort. What else can we explore and write about 😉

All my very best wishes.

Stu

 

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6 thoughts on “Rejection reasons, thoughts and directions

  1. Oh snoowie you are such an eloquent and lovable chap, you know where you need to be, (as you’ve said yourself) on a stall meeting, greeting and selling your beautiful jewellery, you have such passion when you talk about your pieces that how could people not be charmed by you and your work, sometimes the things in life which seem the hardest are the very barriers we have to break down, bite the bullet, be brave, book as many stalls as you can in as many venues as you can and just go see what happens, sure not every venue will be for you but learn from each one. Be true to yourself, have faith in what you do, its out there, you just have to go and grab it by the goolies! Get yourself out there, get people talking to you and about you! and if its not everybodys cup of tea, so what! Nothing is ever going to be easy at this stage in the game, embrace the challenge, each new person that you meet, may just be the one that is going to change your life.

    • Bec, as ever, you are a super star. When I see how busy and creative you are, I feel a fraud with too much time on his hands.
      In my head, I agree wholeheartedly with the way you describe barriers. You know me well enough, I could tell someone else similar. My heart however is the weak link. I will work on it.
      Not to be too silly; it’s the new people I attempted to mix with that, among others, have contributed to the reforming of beliefs that I arrive at now. I know beliefs can be changed, time to stop navel gazing and wishing to be a self sufficient recluse eh;)
      All my love to you and your very special family. Thank you very much for all your support and kindness.
      Snooie 🙂

  2. The way I see it you have a couple of choices – be true to yourself, create things you like and wait for like minded people to find you or create what will appeal to the masses. The second option may well go against the grain and cause you more stress long term – there’s nothing worse than making things you hate! But if you’re chasing the money, that can be what it comes to. Personally I’ve created things that are simple, easy to replicate and sell which then supports my creation of things I love and want to make.

    On the selling front, I feel your pain! I don’t particularly like being a sales person and actually I’m personally put off by the hard sell, pestering sales person – that makes me walk out straight away.

    We have a stand at the newly set up (mid-July) Creative Cornwall in Cornish Market World at Par. We take turns doing a duty there and when I’m on duty, I don’t engage with people unless they linger, pick things up, make eye contact or actually talk to me. I prefer to leave people to browse and if they seem interested, then engage with them. The people running Creative Cornwall are looking for new stand holders so if you’d like to take a punt on this, I’ll give you the email of the organiser. Or pop down to Par on Saturday, I’ll be on stand duty and can introduce you to the management. There’s no long term contract, you can try it for a day, week, whatever and if it doesn’t work for you, you’ve only lost the stand charge – which is reasonable.

    Keep plugging!

    • Thank You Julia, sorry for the length of time taken to reply, not had the computer for a while.
      You are so right about more stress long term making what you don’t like. Surely becomes more of a job then, not hard to imagine. When I started out, my eyes were, I thought, wide open. I expected to have to be around for quite a while, even then no guarantees of where a maker imagines they will be in a future in ones imagination. Reality has a habit of biting you doesn’t it. Another quote I can’t remember where it came from is apt to repeat in this context; If you want to make god laugh- tell him your plans.
      I have a long term goal of just making short run series, like the forged wire bangles, and having a steady flow of the more costly time consuming pieces, like the reposse and chased jewellery and larger hollowware. When I started this journey, I never imagined I would be making a fortune, now or in the future. I know the market is small and difficult to establish yourself in. The amount of talented, oftentimes time served awesome craftspeople out there is intimidating if you linger on the thought. Fair to say however I didn’t expect this part of the journey to be so difficult to fathom, let alone break through.
      When I started perhaps I should have begun with the smaller, less personal and simple types of work that would have acted as a better foundation. I am trying to come up with less personal and simple work that will act as my bread and butter as it were. The forged bangles were, are if you like, an attempt to be better represented in this context. Also it is hoped they will generate enough interest to encourage greater interest in others types of work offered.

      I’m off to London this weekend, I am able to go to St.Austel next Saturday, if you’re still there. I haven’t been there for along time, would be great to see the market and to meet up with you, if not then, the next time it’s your turn.

      Thank you very much for all your support, I very much look forward to seeing you soon.

      Very best wishes.
      Stu.

      • Good oh Julia, I’m down to help out a friend with their car. When I can finish I’ll be on my way. If possible I may come over for a short time in the morning before starting. If the challenge of the car is too time consuming I will catch up another time. If I’m not there, please let me know your next dates. Thank you very much. Very best wishes. Stu

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