Dealing with REJECTION

Those of you who follow my Facebook Page may recall that I submitted artist applications to a couple of art galleries in my local city a little over a month ago. This may not be that big of a deal to most people, but you may remember, outside of my safe-zone of cyberspace, I am incredibly shy in real-life. Walking into an art gallery with the intent to ask about submitting my work, IN PERSON, was something that took me awhile to convince myself to do. (I’ve sold in galleries before, but that was a few years ago and it’s been awhile.) After gathering the courage, I selected a couple of galleries that I thought my bead work would be the best fit for.

One of the two quickly responded to my submission with a general “We are not accepting new artists at this time.” Okay, fine. That is understandable, especially since I sell jewelry and accessories which can be a pretty flooded market anyway. But more importantly, the OTHER gallery I submitted an application CALLED ME BACK. They sounded really excited about my work and asked me to bring some samples in for judging.

“Your prices are great and I think you will be a really great fit for our shop,” the woman who called me told me. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I quickly rounded up some samples of my items to bring in. I tried to grab at least 1 of everything that I sell. 1 bracelet, 1 necklace, 1 headband, 1 ring, 1 pair of earrings, 1 lanyard, 1 hair clip, 1 barrette, etc.

About a week later I got another call from the gallery, from the same woman who had called me before. She told me it had passed level one of the judging process. Basically, that meant if I only wanted to do a visiting artist contract I was approved for that. (Such a contract would mean a 40% consignment fee would be taken from my sales, or $70 a month, whichever ended up being greater, and I would be limited to 3 months of selling time.) “Or you can apply for a full-membership,” she suggested to me, encouraging me to do so. A full-membership sounded like a much better deal. Only a 20% fee would be taken out of my sales, or $45 a month, which was greater. Also, I would get more gallery space and more say in what went on in the shop. Members had to work at least 3 shifts a month as part of their deal, but that sounded like fun to me, and totally worth all of the benefits that came along with it.

However, in order to be given full membership, every single current member would have to approve of my work, not just the 3 or 4 who already had approved me for the visiting contract. Feeling confident and excited at this point, I told the gallery I would like to be considered for full membership. And then I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the gallery to finally get back to me. Like, almost a month eternity.

Feeling pretty confident, I began making new pieces, saving them from being listed in my Etsy shop to be introduced at the gallery for the first time. (Once I was approved, that is, but surely they would approve me. The people I had talked to really liked my stuff, so they probably all would!) So I’ve been working away… looking forward to the moment when they would finally call me telling just how much inventory they’ll need to fill up my space!

Finally… I got the call.

The same woman who had been so enthusiastic about my work before didn’t sound quite so excited this time. “Everyone voted. You’ve been rejected… from both a full membership and a visiting membership.”

Wait… WHAT!?!?! Not only did they reject me from the second level of membership, but they also rejected me from the contract they had already approved me for! How does THAT happen? I had been so SURE that this would go through. I had been so excited to tell of you that there was now a cool local place you could go to check out my stuff in person. I had been SO READY to tell my family and friends about it. SO EXCITED for them to all feel PROUD of me. Now… now I feel like I’m back at square one.

I was very courteous and nonchalant when I was told the reasons for my rejection. First being my color combinations/choices. (Oops, did I pick too many wild color schemed items for my samples? I hadn’t really even thought about it.) Secondly, the metals of my findings. (Remember that GREAT PRICE that I mentioned earlier? Yeah I couldn’t do that if I used solid gold earring hooks instead of surgical stainless steel, sorry.) These were valid enough reasons I suppose, but having the artist’s heart that I do, I still can’t help but feel CRUSHED. Now it’s going to be even harder for me to gather up enough courage and confidence to get past my shyness to apply elsewhere. It may be a little while before I get past this episode and try again.

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24 thoughts on “Dealing with REJECTION

  1. Heather March 26, 2012 at 8:35 am Reply

    What was their excuse for revoking your visiting artist approval? Don’t feel to bad, artists and galleries can be real snooty and clique-y, believe me I know. There is a very good reason I’ve left the local art world where I live. I’m a human being with feelings and I don’t play “let’s snub the newbie” like they do. I was a rock star in college and did well at local art shows outside college but I HATE the attitude.

    Why not try hitting up local boutiques, hair salons, consignment shops etc. I bet they’ve adore your work and you can get wholesale deals that way too.. No judging, no snooty artist attitude (I’m a seriously BAD rep of my field for being an artist myself, haha), and I’m sure the stores you sell in would love you blogging about how awesome they are :)

    You make beautiful pieces, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! hugs!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 26, 2012 at 9:14 am Reply

      Thanks for your kind words Heather! I am definitely going to consider approaching some local salons (once I gather up the courage.) I think it makes a lot of sense to try and sell some hair pieces where people are getting their hair done!

  2. Jan Marriott March 26, 2012 at 8:40 am Reply

    Oh dear….I know it is a downer. Hope that blogging about it has helped somewhat.

  3. CereusArt March 26, 2012 at 9:35 am Reply

    Don’t let that one experience get you down – hang in there! You create wonderful pieces. :)

  4. Mari Hill March 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Megan your work is beautiful,please don’t change a thing . That sounded like too much going on at the one place. The universe will send you to the right place at the right time and they will love all your work.

    I submitted jewelry to several challenges and never won any of them. You know what it makes me want it more, and I am not giving up. And neither should you. Hang in there friend.

  5. Michelle March 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm Reply

    So sorry to hear that! Your work is lovely so don’t give up. I can understand needing to heal your wounds first though. But, so brave of you to try. Still something I haven’t done.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm Reply

      I don’t think a lot of people realize just how much courage it takes to muster! LOL!

      I do plan on trying again, although I may be a tad scared to do so right away.

  6. Heidi March 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm Reply

    So frustrating, but it sounded like they had really weird requirements and it may have been more of a hassle in the end! You have beautiful work and quite frankly it wouldn’t have been worth getting wrapped up in such a thing where you’re being judged that way.

    Keep doing the work that you’re doing and something will come along that is a better fit for you!

  7. catbird365 March 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm Reply

    I am sorry to hear about this. Your jewelry is gorgeous.

  8. madamesaslow March 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm Reply

    Your work is great and you’ll find somewhere that appreciates it eventually. Don’t give up.

  9. Jenn Flynn-Shon March 27, 2012 at 9:12 am Reply

    Your post is timely for me in so many ways. I’m a Writer, a novelist, and my book is about to hit shelves next month. I’ve been thinking of how to promote it and small bookstores seem to be the most effective way to go for self-published Authors. But I also need to get a marketing buzz going so I’ll be pitching lots of blogs, websites, etc for guest posts and stuff. Of course my book rocks, or “insert here whatever item each of us creates”, because I (read: we) made it. But it is tough to convince others of the sheer awesomeness of our work sometimes. Especially when we’re somewhat shy artists.

    I’m going to give you some unsolicited advice (mostly so I can reread it 1,000,000 times for my own benefit lol) get right back up on that horse! Get back out there & keep looking for another gallery as soon as you can! I’m really shy too but self-promotion is crucial for us indie type peeps. Your work is simply gorgeous and there will be a place for it, you just have to keep looking :-)

    Anyway, rambling now lol Best of luck! BTW, over from Etsy Bloggers team :-)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 27, 2012 at 9:15 am Reply

      Thank you for the awesome words of advice Jenn! Is your book available on the Kindle? I’d love to get it!

  10. Jill March 27, 2012 at 9:50 am Reply

    Hi Megan,
    I found your post through the Bloggers of Etsy team. Thanks for sharing!

    I think you were so brave to try! I let fear of rejection hold me back from so many opportunities. Your work is beautiful — keep trying!

    Jill
    http://www.zazzypeacockstudios.blogspot.com

  11. thebeadden March 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm Reply

    Keep on, keeping on…
    Your work is lovely! Maybe they fear the competition. ;)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm Reply

      I’m ashamed to say that actually crossed my mind, lol. The other jewelry sellers do price their work WAY up there, but it could be because of the metals they are required to use, etc.

    • MyAmari March 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm Reply

      @thebeadden That was my first thought too–competition.
      Megan-Definitely keep trying, You create absolutely beautiful work. Sometimes (I sound crazy right now lol) these kinds of things open doors. I admire you for even trying. I couldn’t ever do it!

  12. Kanelstrand March 28, 2012 at 10:35 am Reply

    No, it wouldn’t be hard at all, I know it – whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. Don’t feed your shyness! If you are proud with what you do and you firmly believe that it is done to the best of your abilities you will succeed, I promise you!

    You will find a better gallery for your jewellery and you will be thankful that these guys did not accept you. Never, ever waste time doubting your success!

    http://blog.kanelstrand.com/

  13. Emma March 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear that Megan =( but you know what, when one door closes, another one opens (unless your Sheldon Cooper of course) and this has just opened another opportunity for you to show someone else the amazing things you do!

    Keep your chin up!

    Emma
    xXx

  14. Jacquie March 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm Reply

    Megan, I am with you on the shyness aspect (being basically a shy person myself even at my age!!!) I have also been gathering courage to approach some not galleries but at local boutiques, hair salons, consignment stores. I have even gone so far as make some minor inquiries but I have not yet had the courage to actually take my stuff IN PERSON.

  15. Barbara April 12, 2012 at 10:55 am Reply

    Just keep telling yourself-their loss! Sounds like you probably would have ended up unhappy there anyway. too much politics & clique-iness(is that a word, is now). Makes no sense why they would revoke their original offer. Don’t give up!

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