Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call and I could tell immediately from the tone that bad news was about the be delivered. I had a feeling I already knew what that bad news was, though, so I didn’t feel the need to sit down to steady myself.
“We presented your second quilting fabric line at our January show and it didn’t sell enough yardage for us to make it, so we’re canceling that line.”
They assured me it wasn’t about bad design, but about bad timing in an already crowded market and there was some comfort in that.
Of course, I felt the initial sting of failure even though I was expecting it. And I hate to admit it, but my thoughts darted to anonymous people on the internet who are critical of me and how they would delight in something I created not being successful.
But once those emotions rushed by (literally in half a second), the call felt like one closed door and several open windows. I felt some relief that I could call this expedition into designing quilting fabric over and I could take what I’ve learned and apply it to the home decor world. That is, after all, where my audience is and where my passion lies. I felt freedom and excitement about how I can transition these designs into different scales and colorways to use for home decor fabrics and papers and with websites like Spoonflower, I can do that.
And there are a lot of positive takeaways. I learned how to create repeats (which is more complicated than you would guess), think through colorways and coordinating fabrics, and how to design digitally. And I’ve met and worked with some awesome people who encouraged, supported, and coached me through the entire unfamiliar process. My experience with Free Spirit has been so valuable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I’m sharing this because I think it’s important for you to know that not everything is a wild success. Not everything takes off and exceeds my expectations. In a creative business, there is always failure balanced with success.
But failures don’t have to be discouraging, negative experiences that induce depressive episodes and excessive chocolate eating. They can be springboards into new, better, and even more exciting things. They can be a shedding that leaves you unfettered and fresh-faced, ready to turn that energy to something fulfilling.
And, as they always say, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying.
So, I’ll keep trying… throwing stuff up against the wall to see what sticks, what satisfies the creative itch, and what inspires my readers and customers.
My plan at this point is to take some time over the next few weeks and months to tweak my designs and create new ones and then make them available on Spoonflower. I’m excited to present my designs exactly as I envision them and see how they do! At the very least, I’ll use them in my house!
Anyone else getting ready to climb through a window?