Saturday, September 24, 2011

Never Give Up!

At a time when my personal life was starting to fall apart, making jewelry became my passion. At first, it was a hobby. My mind overflowed with ideas and techniques I just couldn't wait to try. After a few months, people would stop me in the mall wanting to know where I got my earrings, so I started to do small craft shows. Within a year I was selling to several boutiques in my area, creating styles geared to the clients of that particular shop. I did trunk shows at Nordstrom and in beautiful galleries on the grounds of world-famous resorts.


Creating even simple designs still brings me joy.

For several years I produced collections which included more than one hundred items. Seven sales reps carried storyboards of product and a framed color board with examples of the colors the products available. The line was shown in five major apparel markets and sold in more than two hundred boutiques and galleries, but success came at a price. 


There were times I drove three hundred miles to do a presentation to a boutique owner, who didn't even show up for the appointment. I've sold thousands of dollars worth of inventory to boutiques only for their check to bounce. It wasn't an easy path to keep trying to follow.

My health and creativity suffered from the grueling schedule and mundane act of recreating the same products again and again, so I switched gears.

Ten years into my career I hired a well-known sales rep who specialized in high end one of a kind fashion items in her beautifully appointed showrooms. I was thrilled to be making wearable works of one of a kind art once again. A significant market date was approaching, so I worked day and night to ensure the showroom was well stocked with a vast selection of products for my potential clients. Past show history suggested this would be a very successful show. Days after the show, no payment had arrived. Phone calls were not answered in the showroom or the home of my sales rep. Other artists who exhibited with her also started to call me. We discovered that this woman had taken all of our remaining product and all of our revenue from the show and left the country. The showroom was cleared out overnight. The devastation from this loss was a massive blow to my business and my spirit.

Time passed, and I continued to create. I slowly rebuilt my business, but my faith in humankind was forever changed.


I share these stories from my past with you in hopes that you will be inspired to keep following your dreams, even when the path you've chosen threatens to swallow you up into a black hole. Each of the negative things you experience along your journey will teach you to prepare for the next event in your life. Perhaps someday you will share your story, and it will, in turn, help others.

A few years ago, my hands became so weak from all those years of overuse; I can barely hold a bead cap to thread it onto a head pin. That's just part of the reason I'm so grateful for a chance to share what I've learned with others. I can still be a small part of the design process even if I'm only your supplier. I enjoy seeing what you've created and hearing about your success. 


Never give up!