1) "When a door opens for you, walk through it." - Joan Rivers
OK, I didn't get to see her at the Barnes and Nobles in Manhattan for her book signing. But I read about this from Ellese Launer's blog post. But it is so true. Last year I went to a workshop hosted by a friend, Holly Luttrell of Edward Owl. She is also a jewelry designer in NY and has experience in the retail fashion world. She taught a few of us designers how to approach a buyer at an interview and I was told that Henri Bendel hosts open see for emerging designers twice a year. All I needed to do was to line up and bring my A game. And I did. I figured, "I have nothing to lose but my dignity, which is worthless if I cannot sell." I took the chance, and I got in to their 2F for my 3-day trunk show.
One day you will look back at all the choices you made and doors you went through, and see that some doors opened for a reason and that was how you get here. Then you should be grateful and continue on with confidence.
2) Be grateful for what you learned. Be generous with your knowledge.
So pt 1 leads to pt 2, I am grateful for the things I learned from my fellow designers and peers. Do not feel that you don't deserve help or sympathy. A little advice goes a long way and everyone deserves it. Because we can always pass on the knowledge and help to someone in need. And that is how the world gets better. But never take things for granted.
3) Do not evaluate the success of a single event with the immediate return.
Every opportunity leads to the next one. That is a lesson I learned from going to the Arts Business Institute workshop during BMAC, a wholesale show designed for artists to sell to boutiques and art galleries. Like wholesale business, the world runs on relationships. No one will trust a newbie on the block with no credibility. You have to keep doing things a few times at your own expense, and get people to hear about you more, before the real volume of wholesale orders or sales will come in. Like this trunk show at Bendel, I didn't make as much as I would in other trunk shows, but I learned a lot. And I met a great designer friend, Brandy Pham, who is not only talented but generous and kind, taught me a lot about breaking into the fashion jewelry world. That is invaluable.
4) Sometimes it is ok to just do it.
I had always been a control freak (maybe still). I planned a lot before I act. And I think impulses were dangerous. But a person can only see what are in the present. We plan for our future based on what we can see right now. So in a way, planning gives us a false sense of security but in fact, it is just another gambling on our lives. Yes I agree that some level of planning is needed to ensure we eliminate the 100% chance of failure. But when you are faced with a dilemma and things can go either way based on what you see in front of you, then just follow your heart. The only way to not regret an action is to be able to answer to yourself, that you have tried your best to make things work, to make yourself happy. If it does not turn out the way it should be, maybe it was never meant to be. And it is ok. Because now you can move on.
5) Failure is ok. It is not permanent either.
After I got in Henri Bendel, I applied for Zappo's emerging designer contest. I didn't get picked. I also applied for a scholarship, and I didn't get picked either. I was a bit disappointed (but it is easier to overcome because I got rewarded anyways). But then I got a nice email from both contacts, saying that they wish I would continue and that they look foward to seeing my new collections. I am sure they say that anyways to everyone. But you know what? It is true. I can still submit my new work next time. And I may still be picked. Today is just not the right day for me. That's all. And that is how I will keep working, until I think I have done enough. Which kind of brings me my last point, ironically...
6) Never say enough.
That includes "Enough I can't do it anymore." "I have hear enough and see enough, I think I get it." "I have said enough." "I know enough about (this and that) to know this is (right or wrong)." "I have done enough for now." or even "I have enough stock." "I have enough SKUs." "It is bold enough."
Because, it is never really enough. Well, maybe "I have said enough" could really be "enough." Sometimes.
Well, I think I will stop here for now and maybe do more of this later. I need some chocolate now...
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