Makers come up with a LOT of ideas for products. We are sometimes bombarded hourly with brand new insights or variations on existing pieces. This usually happens right before we really need to fall asleep, and/or at the height of fevered seasons like fall when making prototypes for new products is impossible because we are in full on production mode for the holiday rush. We make lists, try not to forget the ideas and hope that later, in January, we'll still have the same excitement and enthusiasm we did when first the lightning struck.
When you surf our polished online shops or peruse our carefully laid out craft show booths, you are seeing the best of our work, the items we dreamed and then somehow conjured into existence. One in every color and size. A lot of work has gone into those collections and we are hoping that our creations are met with excitement and purchases. We all want a hit product.
When the items we perfected over weeks, months, years are met with oohs and ahhs and smiles, there is no better feeling on earth. But sometimes our brilliant idea is...
A collection that in the dreaming stages seemed like it couldn't miss is suddenly a stack of baggage. Overstock. Discontinued. Clearance. It's heartbreaking, baffling, and exhausting.
We spent so much time planning, making prototypes, perfecting and finally producing this adorable thing, then sent it out into the world with vulnerable hope. Why doesn't anyone love it?
It's possible we just didn't get it in front of the right eyes, or it's priced wrong for its ideal customer and we can't reduce it because then we'd be taking a bath. Or it's the wrong season, or we are ahead of our time (I prefer that one), or really, it's just not what people want.
I can't imagine throwing something I made away, sometimes I'll give things away. Mostly I try to adapt the ill begotten thing into a new thing and see if that changes its luck.
For example (as much as this hurts, I am going to give an example! Deep breath):
I made these tiny crochet flower earrings for summer last year. I crocheted for hours, making matching flowers in every color, excitedly running to the store for new string options. I starched each flower a little bit, not too much, so it would hold its shape. I spent forever sorting and matching vintage buttons for the little centers, sewed them on with carefully selected thread. Attached sterling earring components. Put them on cards I designed, printed and cut apart. Took and edited photos. All of this. And the response was...crickets. Nothing. I had a dud.
Once the shock and disappointment wore off, I decided I could re-purpose the flowers into rings:
And guess what? The rings are selling.
So my points are twofold. First, for the crafter, I feel for you. I know how it goes and I'm sending virtual hugs for all your unloved and discarded brilliant ideas. I hope you are able to morph them into hot sellers.
Second, I guess I wanted to show the shopping public how much work we put into things that don't pan out in order for us to have a collection that does appeal. What you don't see are all the mistakes, false starts and huge investments of time and resources into dead-end ideas. Making things for a living is hard! Figuring out what people want to buy that we also want to make is a constant struggle.
And we love it, wouldn't trade it for anything.