A few thoughts about “no.”

A few weeks ago, I spent a little (okay, a lot) of money that I didn’t have, and submitted my application to the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair here in LA. This is a huge show – Renegade has shows from coast to coast in almost every major US city. Getting accepted would have been huge for Honey&Ollie in terms of exposure and in terms of my projected holiday sales. Just huge. I wasn’t exactly counting chickens, but I was mentally preparing myself to go jump into something big.

Going in, I knew that I wasn’t ready for Renegade, but I knew I could step up and be ready by the time it rolled around. I was excited about the challenge and put some things in motion to help myself get there. Again, forward momentum, building steam, I’d already started doing all that stuff even before I got accepted. Maybe a little counting chickens? I just wanted to be ready.

When I sent in my application, I told myself that even if I didn’t get in, the important thing was that I applied, that I was here doing this, that a lot of people don’t get in their first time applying or their second, or even after they’ve actually done the show once or twice… blah blah blah… well that’s all still totally true. It is. And… it’s still just darn disappointing to have them say, “No. Sorry. You are not renegade enough for our awesome DIY mecca of a show.”

So here is the million dollar question, was not being accepted, being judged and found wanting, was that a failure? I don’t know. I keep going back and forth on that one. I suspect that “failure” vs “success” in this instance is really all about how it is framed. No I didn’t get in. That feels like failing. But just the act of applying propelled me forward into new territory with my business and it got me to start thinking about myself and my abilities in a new way. I went from the idea that I could do small local shows because that is what I was “ready” for, to absolutely believing that I seriously could step up and do a huge national show with the potential for multiple thousands of dollars in sales. It got me making different, bigger, business decisions for Honey&Ollie. All of that stuff I put into motion is still in motion. It will still work for me. That feels positive and successful.

I have my ideas about why Renegade didn’t pick me. One huge reason boils down to “craft show math” – X jewelry vendors / Y spots = Z jewelry vendors not getting spots. There are other factors that I suspect came into play for me personally not getting that coveted spot. These are all things I will be addressing before I make future applications to this show. And believe me, I will be applying. There are at least 3 Renegade shows on this coast every year. I plan to be knocking at the door to them all until they let me come play. I may only play once and decide it’s not for me or not the right venue, or I may fit perfectly and want to come play every year. I have no idea how that will go. But I’ll find out, eventually, because I’m not going away until they let me on that field at least once.

This failure was a disappointment. But the simple act of trying has changed the playing field for me, forever. It has changed the scope of what I know I can accomplish.

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to fall on your face or have people tell you no. There’s a lot of good that can come out of “no.” It’s okay to make a hot cocoa with whiskey and extra whipped cream and drink that and cry on the cat and bitch to your friends for a few hours after you get the “no.” You may need to do that. I did. But when you’re done with that? Get back up, dry off the cat, flip the jury committee the bird, and keep going.

Just get back up and get in there again. Don’t give up. You are braver and mightier and able to do more than you can imagine.

About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
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13 Responses to A few thoughts about “no.”

  1. Who said you were found wanting? could it be that instead of something lacking in you/your offerings, that they had already chosen a vendor with a similar style/offering? (I don’t know their process, but I know a little about vendor choosing processes generally, which reminds me to poke you about a little show up here in San Jose called PantheaCon which happens over Presidents’ Day weekend. Don’t know if you’d be interested?)

    • Rainy says:

      I am *very* interested in Pantheacon. Do you think my stuff is appropriate?

      Being found wanting is simply the way I *felt* at the rejection. It isn’t whether or not I actually was. The simple fact that that’s where I emotionally ran with it is what makes that what was real for me. Logic didn’t really play into that process at all.

  2. You have no effing idea how BADLY I needed to read this…right now…at this very moment. Bless your heart, your soggy cat, your alcohol-riddled liver and your Free*bird* that flew to the jury committee….perfect timing. It’s been a rough day here, and I was questioning myself and my own failures/successes/breaking-evens.

    Now…back to steppin’ forward…

    (((bleary-teary hugs)))

    • Rainy says:

      This. This. Thank you. It’s completely what makes this whole blog worthwhile, because every once in a while, somebody finds something that resonates for them. Thank you for the gift of knowing that.

      Keep on steppin, lady. *HUG*

  3. TheLabRat says:

    ::reading, cocking head, a smile twitches, forms, turns into an approving grin. I stand up, and begin clapping at my monitor:: Everything you said here, Rain, is right, true and awesomely inspiring. You GO, girl! You show them who’s Da Bombad General! No one can make you stop applying, no one can make you stop looking over that hedgerow and saying “I wanna play Over There”, and you Will do it. And I do think you’ll like it enough to want to do it again and again. It’s a different venue, a different feel, and something that will help you grow, even after you’ve been once or thrice. Every time you go to a show, an Event, a Gathering of Like Minds, you stretch, imagine, and wonder ‘what if I…’

    Huzzah, Rain! Huzzah!

  4. Denise says:

    I’m glad you applied. Keep applying to shows like this. Keep challenging yourself. Someone will recognize the awesomeness that is Rainy that we already know about.

    Juried shows are really stressful. I know that mine are different than yours. I have to apply to get into the photo shows and then some random people give out awards. I haven’t entered many of them recently but the last one I did was the Alameda on Camera show. It was the third year I participated. Last year was the one that made me realize that the jurors don’t really appreciate photography – they want photo-based artwork.

    This year, I took that to mean, don’t bother putting stuff in a frame. So, I got together with a few of my trusted artist friends over few bottles of wine and we came up with putting my photos in snow globes. It was the weekend it was supposed to snow in the Bay Area this February, so that was my theme and I ran with it.

    The internet told me how to make my own snow globe (1/2 corn syrup, 1/2 water and some glitter). I had SO much fun making the pieces for the show. You know what? I didn’t win an award. But I challenged myself to think outside of the picture frame and it was fun. And now I have the mad snow globe skills I’ll need to make holiday presents πŸ˜‰

    • Rainy says:

      Oh man, I really want a snow globe!! How cool is that, you can make them!

      Yeah, I think your work is definitely more in the “fine art” category than mine, but ultimately I think the jury process when you are sitting in our seats is probably the same. You submit work. Someone judges it according to criteria that is totally subjective on some levels and it’s in that subjectivity that you may or may not agree with their opinion. Then, someone tells you yes or no. It’s frustratingly passive, after you submit that work.

      • Denise says:

        Yes, it’s really passive and frustrating to wait for the results. The good thing is that these juried things ultimately motivate us in one way or another. Or, it at least it motivates some people, like you and me and that’s completely not passive.

        I shall have to make you a snow globe πŸ™‚

  5. Bjo Trimble says:

    Huzzah for you and your attitude about being rejected by a show! I applied to Convergence, a huge fiber show, to teach dye classes and was nicely refused. I know one of the problems: I haven’t gotten off my fat apathy and been published to get a “name” in the field. It was a huge disappointment, but I’ll recover, and go on. — Bjo

  6. Emma Crew says:

    I try to mentally frame these things as “the worst that can happen is they say yes,” because if they do, I’ve got to actually present the conference paper/write up the pattern with all the math/make the big pile of stock to sell. πŸ˜‰

    Of course it still stings when something doesn’t get into Knitty or whatever, but then I get the “well, THAT’S a weight off of my shoulders” thing following the sting.

  7. foxandpen says:

    This is something I needed to hear. *hugs you* You inspire me.

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