This past week was a rejection milestone for me - how so? For the very first time I took drawings of my four retro mobiles and one example of a actual mobile (Retro Robots) into a well known and popular gift shop in downtown Frederick, MD to learn if I might be able to sell them there. Since the shop has all kinds of fun retro products (including fun wind up tin robots) I've felt my "bots" would be perfect in this gift shop..
Two months before I obtained the owners name and email address from an employee of the store and wrote the owner an email (along with attached mobile images) to learn if she might be interested in selling them; but alas I never heard back from her even after sending one more email to see if I could connect with her. Thinking maybe she was just busy I waited a few more weeks but no word from her. I didn't want to give up so easy so a few weeks ago I went back to the store and again talked to the same employee who this time wrote down for me when the owner would be in the store.
With trepidation I want back to the store a third time with a boxed mobile and four drawings and this time the owner was behind the counter. Knowing that if a customer walked up to the counter (there were several in her shop) I would not have a shot at speaking with her so I quickly introduced myself and told her the employee suggested I come in person and speak to her about my "products" and that I had emailed her about them as well. She appeared to tense up and give me the "eye" (a sort of here we go again, yet another person wasting my time kind of look). I nervously asked her if it would be OK to show her my product illustrations that I felt would be great for her shop - she said sure but if a customer walked up that was it - we where done.
I quickly opened a folder and showed her the three Calder inspired mobiles and the Retro Robots mobile that I thought would be perfect for her shop. She said "these are great" and then cut to the chase asking me "what are you asking for them?" I said $89.00 wholesale. She told me there was "no way she could offer them to her customers since most everything she sold in her shop had a price point of around twelve dollars. Twelve dollars!? I immediately felt that sinking feeling of dread; my robot mobile which I thought was so perfect for her shop was not so perfect after-all, at least price wise.
The owner of the shop then said, "These need to go into a museum gift shop, a science museum shop or some place like that. People are used to buying higher priced stuff like this at a museum gift shop so try and sell them there". Upon hearing this my spirits immediately got lifted up, the feeling that I failed at her shop suddenly disappeared with a renewed hope that there was still another possibility of selling them elsewhere.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, the writer of the famous novel, the Great Gatsby was well known for receiving over 120 rejection notices for one of his novels. In fact upon its release the Great Gatsby was known to be a failure of a book. F. Scott Fitzgerald, taped hundreds of of his rejection letters all over his walls but he kept on writing. His life has a sad ending but in his younger days he refused to give up and wrote and wrote and wrote. Today the Great Gatby is one of the most successful novels of all time.
What the story about F. Scott Fitzgerald means for me is to not give up. I've received my 1st rejection on my products - rejection #1. Yahoo! It's clear to me to keep receiving rejections, keep collecting them until someone says "Yes" moving me from a no to a yes.
I'm going to print this blog post out and tape it to my wall just like F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Rejections? Bring um on!