September 21, 2008.
As I was going through my website and updating my biography for a project and looking at our timeline I started thinking about my failures, or more like things that did not happen. I know it is good to highlight my accomplishments and if you don't brag about your company, no one will....blah, blah, blah. Believe me I have read that book, I have torn out that magazine article and I have attended that seminar. However, being the humble person that I am, I am thinking that maybe I might not need to do that all the time, maybe it would be good to list the opposite. Like a time line that might list the bad things, or the things that could have been....quick now could everyone synch up that song What Might Have Been.
Jamie's Painting & Design "NOT" Time line*
*These are in no particular order, and most are from quite a few years ago, things that I have tried to block from my memory....some things were when I was hand painting the tiles, at home.
- Made tiles for Extreme Make Over Home Edition, only to have the cameras scan by the products so quick that if you blinked you missed it. Also, was promised to have company name in credits and on website for donating products - nope, nothing.
- For all the press I have gotten I have sent out tons of product samples to every baby magazine on the planet (most now out of business) and never had them featured.
- Hired sales representative for Pet Line of products, invest time and money in the hire....only to have her quit after weeks of negotiation.
- Interviewed on phone for Morning TV Show segment on Perfectionists, the producer hinted that I may not be pretty enough or anal enough.
- Flew out to New York, my daughter Abby was photographed to be on cover of bedding catalog - the film was ruined, no pictures ever survived.
- A Buyer from Nordstrom's discovered my tiles and wanted them sold in every store in the country. A day before she was to do a presentation with my tiles to all the buyers at a Sales Meeting, to convince them to pick up my tiles - she got fired day before meeting.
- Had record growth, huge Christmas sales with large company, they did not pay all invoices till July of following year.
- Did Trunk Shows for holiday season for large department store - travel up and down Bay Area to do shows - did not get paid till following year.
- Spent a month sending out press releases, story pitches and emails with reporters, editors and TV producers regarding my blog helping other Mompreneurs and Entrepreneurs - nothing ever came of it.
- Advertisement in Trade Magazine - not one sale, or call.
- Got products in very high end children's boutique (future blog post) only to have store owner refuse items, have to get attorney to force her to pay for samples.
- Got products in another very high end children's boutique - store owner hated products, sent them back and never paid for samples.
- Product placement got cut 3 times from Better Home & Garden Find It Guide
- Had relationship with Editor and planned interview at Pregnancy Magazine - editor left to stay home with children.
- Make numerous exclusive designs not once but twice for large bedding catalog - they never used them.
- Design 5 exclusive designs for another bedding catalog, buyer left company - never got into catalog.
- Sent out over 50 product samples to Pet Magazines and Celebrities - got only one thank you letter and no press.
This is not a list to make me feel bad about my places I am lacking with my company. This is a list to show others how many times I have fallen down, but got right back up. To get one shot in a major magazine, you have to have been trying for years. You have to be at the right place at the right time to win. I have had some luck, I have gotten most success from hard work and continued to keep going after door slammed in face (well not literally, but some pretty obnoxious NO's). After almost six years in business I did not give up after these set-backs. I kept going.
Another reason for this list is to show others that I am not perfect, my company is not just succeeding at everything and we have failed. I feel that information is good, and to look at your accomplishments and your failures puts life in perspective. I am sure I am also missing some set-backs, and I am purposely not listing all of them (I don't want to sound like a total downer), but these are some big ones I still think of from time to time.
Looking back, these snafu's or "woulda coulda shoulda" all helped with where we are today. I don't think it is bad to tell people - it can help you feel better about your losses or missed opportunities. My son learned a valuable lesson in first grade and he always tells me, "Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn" - this is something I try to use in business. I learned something from every failure - some of them I am not quite sure what I learned....but I will um, figure it out some day. And if you must know, yes the Nordstrom one still stings....even writing that one down still hurts.
So, anyone else willing to share big mistakes or could have been's? I know some them (you have told me off the record) but would love to hear them.....it will make you feel better, I swear.