Thursday, October 29, 2009

Merry go Round - Failure sucks, but instructs

It's time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of 9 artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's topic for discussion is: Failure sucks: but instructs.

"Failure sucks, but instructs" is a key phrase from Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Sciences and Engineering , Stanford University. He says that the only way to avoid failure is to do nothing - but doing nothing is a form of failure too.

The word "failure" to me seems such a strong word... I try not to think of anything that I do as being a "failure" but rather that it just didn't go as I had hoped.....Maybe that comes from my years as a scientist and numerous experiments didn't go as we had planned. But we did always learn something from them and never progressed to another experiment until we figured out what was going on. The next experiment was then ever better. And in fact, other people's research has shown that people think more deeply and learn more after a failure than a success.....

Or to put it another way:


So in the life of Birdland Creations there are many examples of things not going as I had hoped. I think one of them that I have had to go through a couple of times before I've learned from it however, is that I spend time trying to develop my own little niche in the market through my individual designs, my own branding, but then expect to sell everywhere.....instead of looking to sell in my niche.

I've tried selling on a few different artisan online marketplaces and in some galleries and sometimes it just doesn't work. The audience is just not right...... For example, I tried a couple of artisan websites and got zero or very few sales. Both sites were more what I would call "serious" art. Here I am developing my whimsy niche and I try and sell on a non-whimsy site! It just doesn't work. Same with galleries where there is also the added issue of someone else presenting your work and not you....Often the owner wants to display my creations on "black velvet" as all the other jewelry is set up that way.....but my jewelry is definitely not black velvet style and never aspires to be.....

So I have learned that people go to galleries - online or bricks and mortar, because of the general style of the majority of products. Yes, there may be the occasional casual visitor looking around, but.. My jewelry it not the traditional style, so I need to keep thinking in a non-traditional, and whimsy way to sell it too. I don't need to adapt my jewelry to suit the selling place, as some people advise, I just need to find a new selling place.

And right now, I'm not looking. I am busy with what I have, it's working well and I am enjoying it immensely....But if I ever want to branch out into pastures new, I'll make sure they are pastures where Cher the sheep, Trotter the pig and Quentin Quail will be happy to hang out too!


Hope you'll take time to read what other "merry-ers" have learned from their tricky times by following these links. We are from all over the world so excuse us if some haven't posted due to time differences.

Fabienne at Easterya http://easterya.blogspot.com
Wendren at Wren http://thewrendesign.com/
Sara at Sara's Texture Crafts http://sarastexturecrafts.blogspot.com
Marian at Florcita http://www.florcita.eu
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent http://lebarduvent.blogspot.com
Charlotte at FancyPicnic http://fancypicnic.blogspot.com
Lily Pang at Lily Pang Art http://lilypangart.blogspot.com
Jenny at Jenny Karlsson design http://designjennykarlsson.blogspot.com


12 comments:

hint said...

I really appreciated reading this and seeing for the first time that I haven't even really thought strategically about my niche. Really insightful :)

florcita said...

I agree with what you say. I actually think this phrase: "I don't need to adapt my jewelry to suit the selling place, as some people advise, I just need to find a new selling place." says a whole lot. One shouldn't be bending over backwards to adapt to the crowd. One should do what one knos best... and if that is nt the right crowd, then move on...

Amadora Designs UK said...

Interesting post! I love the idea behind Failure instructing. I always try to get up after evry fall.
Jewellery niches are tricky things to navigate.Often people will say, "oh I don't usually like that style/or colour etc, but I like this". So now I do my thing, and hope it connects with people, and try not to worry about the niches LOL

Lily Pang said...

Thanks for sharing. It is so nice to know how you select your markets.

Easterya said...

Very wise and so true, interesting and inspiring as always! The sentence Florcita picked out is what striked me most too... how right you are!!!

meherio68 said...

I remember being told, from childhood, that only those who do nothing make no mistakes.
I guess I didn't get such bad upbringing after all...

'fancypicnic' said...

'People think more deeply and learn more after a failure than a success.....'
These words are ringing in my ears...so true!! I have realised - we all have, it seems - that to fail is to gain knowledge, strange though it may seem. Sometimes it makes us take a step back, to re-appraise ourselves and our work. We all need that occasionally. Who knows where it may lead us?!
I really enjoy how positive you always are, Ruth - how you have assessed your business, its position in the marketplace...inspiring, that's for sure. I love, love love your TTP's!!

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

I completely agree... we should be looking for venues who can sell our work in our style, rather than designing around a venue and 'fitting in'. I think that's were I went wrong early on with my handmade products... when I was working as a fashion designer I was used to turning up and designing in the hand of the designer/brand/shop I was working for on that project. I found it hard to get back to what was orginally my look... great advice!

Sxx

Ruth said...

(Sorry I couldn't respond earlier but it seems that blogger was having some sort of issue...)

Thanks for all the great feedback. This was an interesting "merry" topic, wasn't it. Thinking what to write about for this entry was like a little review of my business too - it was interesting to go through different things that have occurred...and see what happened. Appreciated reading everyone else's post too.

Wendren said...

What a wonderful post.

I love your 'tough, this is me and I will just keep doing what works for me' attitude. It is the right one to have I think.

Han Key said...

I love your little birds and of course one bird led to another and I checked out most of your posts with the merry-ers. Failure sucks indeed, but I'd rather have that and get stronger from it than fit myself in a mold of another's making. I just got a website up for my metal clay stuff and it's like throwing a party where no one comes. I have to remind myself that I'm not doing it for anyone but myself and those who have my same twisted sense. Thank you for your blog. It put a smile on my day and I love your sense of humor, mainly cause your little birdies told me so.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the feedback. Nice to see you here Han Key. Let us know your new website so we can take a look and join your party :=D