Photo: Lauren Colchamiro
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” –Winston Churchill
Two months after I started working full-time for my company, I participated in a big product show in NYC for my jewelry line. I was incredibly excited. This would be huge. I had someone who worked in PR encourage me to participate so I knew it had to be major.
It was a three day show, 5 hours each day, and about 500 young professional women with disposable income (according to demographics provided to me by the company hosting the event) would attend each night. It was very expensive to have a table at the event but given the advice I’d been given, I was confident I’d make the money back and get great exposure.
For three nights, I stood at my carefully merchandised table watching people pick up my designs, and quickly put them back after they saw the price tag. Didn’t they realize my prices were so reasonable given my materials and the fact that they were handmade?!
One highlight was when a woman asked if one of my multi-gemstone necklaces was made from plastic. Cringe. To put it nicely, the attendees were not young professionals with disposable income. I only sold three pieces, two of which were under $50. I was devastated.
The afternoon of the last night of the show, my mom and I grabbed lunch in Chelsea and I braced myself for another evening of disappointment. As we walked to the event venue, my mom spotted a store she had seen in Martha Stewart magazine and wanted to check it out. The owners happened to be there and they loved the necklace I was wearing. I mentioned that I made the necklace and before I knew it I was showing them my pieces (I was carrying all of my jewelry for the show) and setting up a time to formally meet with them to discuss a partnership. Two days later, I dropped off 16 pieces and to this day they still carry my designs and have been very successful selling them.
Even though I was upset about how the show went, I knew that had I not participated, I would never have found myself in Chelsea on a Friday afternoon with 60 of my pieces in my bag. I learned an important lesson that day: you have to find the good in every situation. You can’t let setbacks get you down for too long because chances are those setbacks help you learn an important lesson that will prove invaluable in the future.