Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dealing with Rejection

bamboo/tencel scarf on left, silk scarf on right

silk gimp shawl

wool, bamboo, silk etc. shawls

Remembered to pop a new battery into my camera and bring it again today.

Yesterday was not quite the worst ever day of sales I've had, but it was a very close second.  Since this is not an inexpensive show, it was highly distressing.  Not that I wasn't getting all sorts of compliments on my work.  Compliments were to be had in plenty.  But sales?  Not so much.

So what do you do when your work is 'rejected'?  The very first thing you do not do is get depressed.  All too easy a response, believe me!

The first thing to remember is the statistic given in the marketing course I took back in the mid-90's.  For every sale there are (on average) 26 non-sales.

The next thing to remember is to read between the lines - so to speak - and analyze exactly what people are saying.

Ok, one of the things they were saying was that my prices were too high.  Given the multitude of scarves I'd seen at the mall priced at $15 each last week, I could see that response coming a mile away. 

So, ignoring the 'too high' comments, what was the next most common response?  "I love your scarves.  I wear mine all the time." 

Hmm.  Okay, they already owned one (or more) of my scarves. 

What is the message behind this comment?  Very likely the message is that the market here has become saturated.  Everyone (or nearly everyone) who wants one of my scarves and who can afford to buy one, has already purchased.

The market for placemats got saturated here years ago - I routinely have people come into the booth saying that the placemats they bought from me 10, 15, 20 years ago still look like new.  Today I had a lady come in who was wearing a scarf I wove back in the 1980's.  Her comment?  "I just wash and wear it, it never wears out!"

There are a million reasons for someone to not buy your product.  When the market becomes saturated, it is time to move on - time for me to dream up a new product.  Or face more 'rejection' the next time I do this show.


Loralee said...

I love your positive attitude and your objective analysis of the sale! I do hope your sales are better today. Your work is gorgeous. I wish I was there to support you in person.

Sharon said...

Thanks. I needed to hear that.

Unknown said...

I think the worst "rejection trip" is the buyers/managers at shops who won't even give you a polite look, in fact can be quite rude. The worst of THEM seem to be the managers at gift-shops connected with large churches. Sad, that. I do a lot of little things like bookmarks with religious motifs and they sell well elsewhere, but I cannot even get a foot in the door in these shops! It's very discouraging when you have a product that sells well, and you want to get into a more focussed market, and somebody with no imagination won't give you the time of day.

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing your insights. I'm just starting back into weaving, with the idea that scarves, dishtowels, etc. have potential for sales in my area. Knowing in advance that I will need to keep exploring new markets is good info to file away!

Sue said...

Ah, rejection. Never fun, but how right you are to look at the reasons behind what they are saying. The fact that the things that you've sold hold up so well is wonderful! My grandmother taught me to weave 40+ years ago, and my mom recently gave me back the placemats that were my very first project. They look as good as the day they came off the loom, and we used them a lot.

And yes, staying ahead of your market and coming up with new product lines is a constant battle, even for those of us not yet able to quit our day jobs.