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.