I don't enjoy failing or falling on my face. First off it hurts my pride, second of all it hurts my darn face. I hate to have people to know I have failed -I like to succeed. I don't know what the big deal is - everyone fails, it makes us who are....blah, blah I get the positive spin on it. I don't know who says it but I do believe that as awful as failure is, it is part of growing , changing and learning from my mistakes. That being said, even though I failed....I turned this failure into an opposite of failure? A success after a failed attempt? Oh hell, I made lemonade out of lemons. Read on;
Submitted Products to Pottery Barn Kids
In January of 2010 I took the advice of a dear friend and I sent 4 product samples to Pottery Barn Kids. I spent an entire weekend on 6 or 8 designs, painting, researching and looking at trends. I spent a great deal of time on their site, trying to figure out what their designers wanted, comparing my ideas to their bedding and pretty much immersing my self in Pottery Barn Kids 101. I wanted to design Nursery & Kid's Room Decor products that complimented their products. I really felt I had one chance to make a good impression and I wanted to make a great one.
Of the 8 designs I created, I felt that four of them were good, no not good - really good. I got feedback from friend's in the industry, I made the tiles and shipped them off. I spent the next two weeks checking my email and voicemail almost every 5 minutes to see if they loved my stuff....I knew they would love it. After no response I sucked it up and I called them. The Head Buyer lady said they would review Jamie's Painting & Design at their next Design meeting, and I would hear from them. I never heard from them.
I waited for weeks that soon turned into a month and I did not "hear from them". After countless phone calls and emails I finally got the Buyer on the phone. When I re-introduced myself and asked if they had made a decision on my products her reply was, "We are not interested." Ouch! She did not let me down easily, she did not sugar-coat it. Pottery Barn Kids did not give a reason and they did not apologize for their (her) short and to the point answer. I was so shocked I did not even rebuke her or ask what they did not like my products. I am usually pretty good about asking the right questions and where do we go from here...this time, not so much.
I spent the next few days, okay weeks feeling very bad. I could not believe I had it so wrong - I always got it right. Well, not right, but the chances of 1 our of 4 of my designs being what they wanted, or liked - I had done my damn research! Most times after tons of research I got the design factor down. I felt I was like Austin Powers and I had just lost my mojo (is that even how you spell it?). I know it was not the end of the world, but I just felt crummy about the designs and my ability to make good products.
Making it Work
By summer I decided fu.........um, I mean screw it they were still my designs. I really liked, dare I say loved the four designs that would forever be known as PBK rejects in my mind. I dusted them off sucked in my pride and I added them to my 2010 line of new products. I figured they did not own me, they did not own my designs....I did. I did not hold up much hope of them being best sellers, but I thought maybe somebody somewhere would like them.
Within 24 hours of the Butterfly & Flower Birth Announcement going live on numerous websites we sold 3. This may not seem like such a huge deal, but it takes awhile for Google to crawl sites, it takes customers a while to purchase new designs.....this was odd. The Zoo Animals Birth Announcement has also had the same success, we sold 10 and it has only been out there for a short time. The Butterfly Garden Name Plaque & The Space Name Plaque sold for the first time last week a few times for both. A few of my other designs have had limited success, but right the gate these four, the PBK Four as I have re-named them seem to have some legs. Week after week these four designs are selling.
With new designs and even with old designs sometimes we don't sell a design till it has been on the market for 6 months to a year. It may take a good customer review, press or just word of mouth. We have been ahead of the game on designs and then when a bedding design has come out our product has sold like crazy. We have been known to go week after week selling one design over and over, for months sometimes years and then see the sales stop all together.
Am I Gloating? Why, Yes....Yes I Am
So, even though I am disappointed that Pottery Barn Kids did not select my products I sort of feel vintigated with my artistic talent. I am Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. The scene where she walks back into the exclusive Beverly Hills Boutique that refused to sell her clothes with bags and bags of clothes and she is dressed up in her new fancy shmancy outfit and she asks the woman if she remembers her, tells her what a big mistake she made. Ya that is me.
[Jamie, smartly dressed and carrying many tiles, stops into Pottery Barn Kids Corporate Office.]
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100405/Jamie: Do you remember me?
Pottery Barn Kids Buyer: No, I'm sorry.
Jamie: I sent you plaques and birth announcement designs. You didn't like them?
Pottery Barn Kids Buyer: Oh.
Jamie: You work on commission, right?
Pottery Barn Kids Buyer: Ah, yes.
Jamie: Big mistake. Big. Huge! [turns away] I have to go make tiles now!