Try, try again

I recently came across a letter I’d received from a fabric company about a year ago. I’d been reaching out to some companies that I thought my work might be a good fit for. And while I had my top picks for dream companies, I was also aware that dreams don’t happen overnight, so I was hoping to just get fabrics *somewhere* and that maybe it would get my foot in the door. One of the options was a company that required I send a package in the mail, and a few months later received, if I might say, I rather snarky rejection letter. Essentially the letter said (and I’m paraphrasing, but not by much) that my work brought nothing new to the table, and that I’d essentially wasted their time. While I appreciated the personal reply, part of me almost wished that I’d never received it… it was so negative and unfriendly, and for some, could have been a dream killer. It wasn’t my dream company, so I decided I better not let it crush my dreams. So the other day when I came across this letter, while working on my second collection for Cloud9 Fabrics (which, by the way, *was* at the top of my dream list), a whole bunch of emotions came up for me. It made me realize how much has happened in the past year. And how happy I am about it all. And how glad I am that I didn’t listen to that letter or let it alter my path.

I just wanted to write this post because sometimes it’s hard to keep your chin up when things don’t seem to be going anywhere. You submit, submit, submit… and feel lucky if you even get a reply. Sometimes it all just seems pointless, when you’re investing soooo much of your time and your heart into something, and hoping your dreams come true, and nothing is happening. You start to think your work isn’t good enough. I just wanted to share this story as a reminder to always try and keep your chin up. To persevere and keep at it and use that rejection as fuel to do better. And if at first you fail, then try, try again. And then when you reach one of your goals, you can feel a little extra proud of how far you’ve come.

 

23 comments

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm // Reply

    Great post. It’s a tough business and it took me a long time and lots of rejection to get recognition. The company I ended up getting a job with was AMAZING and I ended up winning 2 design awards in my first year with them! So to those who turned me away – it was your loss in the end! I’m glad I persevered too and now after several years working within the industry have confidence in myself and my work, and pleased to say, successful. Some people might have given up but I guess if you’re passionate about what you do, you never give up x

    • January 29, 2014 at 2:43 am // Reply

      Congrats on your successes Claire. Always nice to hear success stories!!

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:55 pm // Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. Your journey is truly inspiring. Can’t wait to see your next collection with Cloud9! Best wishes for more wonderful opportunities in 2014!

  • January 29, 2014 at 1:41 am // Reply

    thank you so much for this post! so fitting as i’ve been emailing and submitting to lots of companies, both on my dream list and not. it has been so fun to watch you over this past year and i can’t wait to see what lies ahead!

    • January 29, 2014 at 2:41 am // Reply

      Thanks for the good vibes, Tammie! It’s so tough in the beginning just to get people to open up your emails but I think once the ball gets rolling, things do get a lot easier. I wish you the best of luck! And can’t wait to meet you in person in a few short months :))

  • January 29, 2014 at 2:35 am // Reply

    Thanks so much Laura!

  • January 29, 2014 at 8:47 am // Reply

    Hello Elisabeth !

    I know your work and receive updates by email . And your last post fell to me like a glove ( ” Ttry , try again” ) .

    I live in Brazil and I also work with surface design . And this is not easy to establish this branch . Yesterday I received an email from the company for whom design printed onto fabric , disapproving a collection that was designed for Easter 2015 . I was very upset with the remarks that were made and I also began to question me about how good or bad would be my design . I really felt devastated. At almost 46 years old , is not easy to start working life in a competitive world like this !

    His words were this morning one cheer for me ! And I really admire your work and the company Cloud 9 really should be a happy place to work , I’d love to have this experience , but do not know where to start !

    I work alone in my studio , a small town south of Brazil , Brusque , in the state of Santa Catarina . It would be interesting for me to hear from others who are also designers , about my work . Could you tell me something about it ?

    I hope I have not bored you with this! And sorry to be using a translator, because I do not speak english! I hope you understand me anyway, you do not speak Portuguese, is not it?

    A warm hug,

    • January 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm // Reply

      Hi Bia! I’m sorry to hear you’re facing some challenges with this company. Our artwork is so personal to us, so it hurts when you get a harsh criticism. All you can really do is think, do I like this artwork? Am I proud of it? Not everyone is going to love what you do, it is not going to be a good fit for every company. But if you’re staying true to yourself with your artwork, that counts for a lot. And maybe you try to work with another company that is a better fit, and that loves what you do. But yes, it’s tough. I hope you can keep your chin up and keep moving forward! All the very best :)

  • January 29, 2014 at 10:16 am // Reply

    Such an inspiring post, will keep me pushing on! Thank you!! Look forward to meeting you! :)

    • January 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm // Reply

      Thanks Rosie! Can’t wait to meet you too :))

  • January 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm // Reply

    Aahhhh, Elizabeth. Excellent timing for me on your post. Thanks for reminding me about dreams, keeping my negative thoughts in check, and forging ahead.

    • January 29, 2014 at 11:22 pm // Reply

      Aw, that’s great Nicky, glad to be the reminder to keep that chin up — clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose! xo

  • January 29, 2014 at 10:06 pm // Reply

    YES! Thank you for the reminder to just keep swimming <3

    • January 29, 2014 at 11:23 pm // Reply

      It’s a pleasure, Abby! All the best :)

  • January 30, 2014 at 11:13 am // Reply

    What a great post…and your timing was perfect! Thank you so much for the positive reminder Elizabeth! It is so important to keep trying and not let one rejection letter take your dream from you. Congrats on your success! xo

    • January 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm // Reply

      Awesome, glad you could take something away from this post Holly! We all need to the reminder to keep our chins up once in a while :)

  • February 6, 2014 at 3:07 am // Reply

    Thank you so much for this story! It does give me hope :)

    • February 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm // Reply

      I’m glad! Best of luck!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm // Reply

    How nice post! So positive! Thanks for sharing! We must work hard and be persistent! Wishing you the best!

  • April 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm // Reply

    cloud9 is the *perfect* fit for you. so happy you didn’t end up with a company who isn’t nice! ;)

    • April 17, 2014 at 8:22 pm // Reply

      Haha THANKS Bonnie :)) Big hugs!! <3

  • April 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm // Reply

    I’m so glad you didn’t let that other company squash your dreams! I’m a quilt shop owner and I’ll be looking up Cloud9 at Spring Market to see your fabric! God directs our paths, so always remember that when you’re disappointed, look ahead to something better!

    • April 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm // Reply

      Thank you so much Maxine, your note put a smile on my face. It’s true — I like to think things happen for a reason, and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out in the end. I hope you will look up my fabrics at next Quilt Market! Cloud9 will be debuting my fall collection then, and I’m really excited about it. (A few of these prints will be in it!). Thanks again for the love!

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