10 September 2015

Success and Significance

Ha.  Day two and I'm still struggling to find the words for this one.

I always struggle with words.

Alright, so maybe I just start at the end.

A few days ago, after a nearly seven month back and forth, after hours of sample making, stone sourcing, line-sheet creating, hoping, praying, sweating, and spending....  After a half a year of communication and in what was literally our ninety-ninth email exchange...

I declined a wholesale order from Anthropologie.



* * * * *


Alright, so maybe I start at the beginning.

I had this dream since I was maybe 18 or so.  I worked in a jewelry store at the time called Light Years- a lovely sort of hippie-boho shop with home decor, candles and incense, amber, and some amazing accessories in stones and silver.  This is when I first began learning my gems by name and hardness.  This is when I first opted to take up stringing beads and when I chose to become a jewelry designer.  I was in love with the Anthro aesthetic (I totally still am), and as the years wore on and my design school education commenced, continued, and culminated... the dream to design for them grew.  It became a bucket list item.

Like everyone, I've had a lot of dreams over the course of my little life and I've learned that some are a gift when they come true, and some are a gift when they do not.  Some, so glossy and gilt in their perception, upon closer inspection, turn out to be tarnished.  What was it Alicia Silverstone said in the movie "Clueless"? Something along the lines of, "It's a total Monet.  From far away, it's okay but up close, it's a big ol' mess!"  (I personally like Monet, but you see my point... I hope.)  Anyway, I've had a few amazing dreams realized.  Loves.  Success. Independence. My son as well, who was not a dream but a surprise, and yet turned out to be many wishes come true.



Fast forward the years.  THIS dream, this wholesale account with "Most Amazing Retail Store Ever" was still in full effect this past March.  I got the email while I was in Texas teaching what was to be, for the foreseeable future, my last workshop on the road.  How perfect was the timing?  I'd be lying if I said I didn't take it as a sign.  Unsure of what the future held or how I would make ends meet without continuing my stint as a road dog, I was suddenly overjoyed.  I had my answer!  I squealed and hugged Richard Salley tight, tearing up, and showing him the words above which was the subject: "Anthropologie Interest".  It was finally happening.  To boot, THEY had found ME!  I called home in a fit of manic bliss. I'm pretty sure I knocked back several margaritas that night.

Then I came home and got to work.  (After the rodeo, of course.  Let's don't be stupid.)

In May, I got engaged.  Thank you, David Coté, for loving me through my insanity enough to ask me to marry you, even while I was neurotically swinging hammers and snapping shutters on my pursuit of capturing THE DREAM.

"The Dream"....


As the months wore on, as things settled down and thoughts settled in... I suppose a bit of the flattery fell away and the business woman in me took over.  I won't go into a lot of the details because the opportunity itself was still an amazing experience and immensely validating in some sense... And burning bridges isn't wise.

Essentially... and I'm being extremely brief... I guess I just decided that, in the end, I was worth more. What they were going to pay me was never an incentive.  I suppose I thought the exposure might have been well worth the investment of time, money and energy, and that very well may remain true.  And yet, I have been successful in my life thus far... and now, as my father taught me... I want to be significant.

Significance.

What is your worth, woman?


I ask because as a Bucket List item, designing for Anthro- having them sell my rings- seeing that "An Anthropologie Exclusive by Rosy Revolver" on their website would have lit up my life.... Absolutely it would have!  But for a short while. Perhaps, maybe, possibly... it would have been the start to a relationship that could have gone further into the future, offering some measure of greater exposure and financial freedom.  The last few nights, I've tossed and turned wondering, "But what if that had afforded you a honeymoon?  Or a college fund?  Or, I don't know... a savings account!"  These things are valuable, but what is their WORTH?

I would have missed you.  I would have been gone most of the time, making and remaking the same things. Missing out on play, missing out on experimentation. Missing the conversations and emails, the invitation from y'all into your lives via the request of something custom, meaningful and one-of-a-kind.  Therein lies the significance.  I've been so behind on emails and messages for the past several months- that would have only gotten worse.  I would have missed me... the creative drive repressed at the expense of fulfilling an order identified by a barcode.  I would have been a competitor with myself, selling my wares for either more than my competition (not good) or undervaluing myself in order to stand even with my own wares being sold through another vendor (also not good).  I would have skimmed through wedding plans, skimped on time with my boy, sold my time short.  I would have short-changed myself, I feel, in trying to build "more".

Therein, too, lies the significance.

Tonight, I look around the studio.  I have all the stones here.  Agates and Amazonites all over the place.  I had the metal in my shopping cart.  I had the plan.... but... I just don't love the dream anymore.

So slowly, deliberately, and after much consideration and thought, I released the younger version of myself- dreams and all- into that lovely realm of "I know better now", and sent the conclusion I'd come to through cyberspace.

The hundredth email... was the canceled order.



* * * * *

And so I ask you again, what is your worth?  What is worth your time?  What is worth your happiness?

This is not arrogance.  This is not "I'm too good for wholesale" or "I'm too good for Anthro" in the least.  If anything, I have been immensely humbled and thankful that they somehow found out about my little southern studio.  This IS about growth- both emotional and mental.  Business growth.  Maturity.  For me, the cost was too high.  The return-to-investment ratio was skewed.  I choose my day to day, uncertain, often obscure and unknown Rosy Revolver life and brand.  That's just me, and in no way a judgement call on other artists, on Anthropologie, etc.  For me, it was simply choosing to remain...

Mine.

I would urge you to hold fast to dreams, certainly, but also find the resilience and flexibility to alter them, compromise with them, or otherwise let them go altogether.  Everybody has something that they once wished for- something that now makes them cringe or balk or laugh.  It's growth, I guess.  Some people will think I'm crazy.  I might be.  I'm also honored.  And I'm also sure.

After dreaming a fourteen-year-old dream, after all the preparation and powering through...
I declined a wholesale order from Anthropologie.




It feels pretty good.

xo,
Ro


60 comments:

  1. My bucket list item for the next year is to meet you in person to give you a BIG 'OLE hug!! I come from 20 plus years of retail 'everything' and I fully understand the struggle an artist goes through with an offer such as this. I am so glad you made the choice you did my friend. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Genie. I'd so love to hug your neck right back. Soon. xoxo

      Delete
  2. You. Are. Amazing. Love you for being true to you! Can't wait to see what the future brings for you and your guys! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As are you. Sending you love and so hope to see you next month. <3

      Delete
  3. I am so very, very proud of you. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We WILL see each other soon. Thank you for having me under your prayers and wings. <3

      Delete
  4. Girl. GIRL. Beaming. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone once asked me, "Has the universe ever dropped you? Ever REALLY dropped you?"
      ...No. Thank you for the faith.

      xoxoxo, Sunshine. See you next month.

      Delete
  5. Wow. What an opportunity and what a choice to make. Good on you, for sticking to what you truly want. I bet you feel a lot lighter now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lady... that is *exactly* the word I used when I broke it to my family. <3

      Delete
  6. Art and commerce have always had a rocky relationship. Kudos for staying on the path of integrity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for that, and for taking the time to read.

      Delete
  7. I think your comment that you "released the younger version of myself" is so telling. The benefit of growing older is becoming wiser, more in-tuned to what matters and to the sacrifices we have to make for our dreams. Some sacrifices are still worth it and some aren't. Being true to yourself and having time with your loved ones is never time wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Gail. I agree wholeheartedly and just so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

      Delete
  8. WOW!!! we are Instagram friends (Sandcastle Jewelry) and I have been an admirer of your work for some time (didn't you travel with Richard Salley and the stone on stone workshops? wow, do I sound like a stalker or what?!) Anyhow, I think that's when I first crossed your work, was through something that I saw of Richard's who I've shamelessly stalked for years. Moving on, Thank you. Thank you for writing this. I've always admired your work, tonight I admire you. These words were so great for my soul. I have 3 littles, 5-3- and 1, and the balance of making while raising them is so incredibly tough. I feel very alone in it often because I know basically no one on the same path, dealing with the demands of motherhood and the desire to create, but as I read this tonight I felt so free. Thank you for reminding me that my path is MINE. Thank you for reminding me that there is purpose behind what I do and how I do it. Thank you for being so open with your heart, your words and your work. Blessings to your upcoming wedding the adventure only continues to grow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jillian, hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for the support and interest in my little business/life. Wow, three little ones. You are far more outnumbered than I! I'm so glad that some part of my words or experience helps you feel for at home in your own path and place. That is one of the kindest things you could have said. Never apologize for where your heart is! Thank you for reading, for the lovely comment, and for the kind words about the wedding. I am so blessed. <3

      Delete
  9. And...you would have grown incredibly bored. It is so stifling having to make the same think over and over, leaving no room for your own growth or new creativity to blossom. I experienced that in my ceramics career which I left a few years ago. Now, with metalsmithing, I have a hard time just making two of something, never mind a gazillion of them. Maybe I just get bored easily. :)
    Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, thank you Erin! I am much the same way, although made-to-orders don't stifle me as much for some reason. Still, I remember back when I used to make earrings one at a time, instead of doing the pair in unison, and I would finish one earring and love it (or not) but then grumble about having to do a second one! I think there must be a direct correlation between boredom and creativity. Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment!

      Delete
  10. You go girl! I am not surprised at all by your decision. This is the Jess I know and love. You have grown so much as a person and artist. I am so proud of you and so happy for you. Trust yourself and your decisions You are such a beautiful person inside and out. Love you girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, woman. You have been such a blessing in my life. I love you dearly and always appreciate your wisdom and words. I hope to see you at the wedding next month. <3

      Delete
  11. First - Congratulations for the original offer - what a compliment! Second - I honestly think you made the right decision - Through an acquaintences similar experience, I know there may have been a chance you may have lost quality control and hurt your brand even with a wonderful company. Third - I think you will never regret that you have chosen time with your son and your new man over everything else. I'm so thrilled things have worked out so beautifully for you. I know you deserve every bit of happiness you have and a lifetime of love with your new man. And lastly and least important, I am selfishly glad that you will still be making beautiful art for all of us - your adoring fans :) Love you Jess! XO jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jane, thank you so much for the wise words and for taking the time to write them. It all rings true. I cannot tell you how much I've appreciated the support- both financial and emotional- over the years. It means the world that you wear my work but also take the time to read about the person behind it. xoxo and much love back.

      Delete
  12. Dreams change. While I'm sure it was an excruciatingly difficult decision to make I just know that this means even BIGGER and GREATER things for you :) Stay true to yourself even as your self changes. You're beautiful <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aloha, lovely, and thank you so much for the comment. Despite the new distance, I hope you'll stay in touch. Come home and visit soon, and bring some coconuts. <3 xo

      Delete
  13. Hugs and love to you, my soldering guru, the genie who sits on my shoulder and reminds me to be patient and sneak up on that metal to get it hot enough for the solder to flow. This is a HUGE compliment to you. And it really is the fulfillment of your dream. Them wanting you is as good as doing it. Sometimes, in your brain, thinking it through thoroughly is as good as doing the thing.

    If they want you, others will want you more. Want you on YOUR terms. Terms that include a sweet life that means time spent with Dave and your little monkey. Time designing new stuff and making special pieces for people who actually know you and value you personally more than the cost of some metal and stones.

    It sure sounds to me like you made the right decision for you at this time in your life! Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marilyn, thank you! You're right- the opportunity to do it was really as good as the dream itself. It was all I needed and I think, in the end, completely enough. I'm so glad you still feel me over your shoulder when you solder, and I hope it has helped over the years!

      I so appreciate your kind words- they fill me with affirmation and hope. I so hope all is well in your world. Hugs to you, always.

      Delete
  14. Where were you when I signed on with Belk? I needed this blog post in my life then. I have definitely lived and learned from my experience selling with them and thought wow, my dreams are coming true, but I lost myself, my passion, what made my brand unique along the way. Being away from my daughter and husband, putting the desire to grow our family on hold were all things I sacrificed. Thank God for their unconditional love and support. I wish I had this blog post to reflect on before making my decision. I can say we live and we learn and growth comes from what we learn. So here I am regrouping and deciding what direction to take my brand in as our family is about to become a family of 4 in two or so weeks. I commend you for your bold decision as I know it was not easy. Having been in your position I can say know your worth, value your worth, and don't let anyone tell you different my talented pal!xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hugs my friend, and congratulations on the growing family! We have come so far, you and I. I hope that you are happy, content, and inspired.... I have no doubt you will regroup and be as beautifully bad-ass as ever. xoxo

      Delete
  15. By the way, Wabbit is Marilyn. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Knowing that this was a difficult decision to make, you remained true to yourself and that is the reward!! Hugs and love sent your way today and always!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bravo to you for having the courage to make that decision! Call me selfish if you want to but I will be happy that my friend (the one that has a crooked grin, twinkle in her eye and always words for encouragement for me) will be whole, present and keeping her creative spirit unhindered by a third party! Love ya girl! Frankie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, girl. You've always got a crooked grin and encouragement from me, and I'm so glad we've become such good friends. Can't wait to see you next month. Oh, and I'm gonna be needing some more homemade jam K, thanks. ;) <3

      Delete
  18. I'm an Anthro lover too, and that is an incredible opportunity to go huge and retail, if that's you. I love that you know what you know and are so true to your life! It had to be a hard decision for sure. I for one, will continue to buy and get custom work from you. Big, big love, much happiness and success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dawn, thank you so much. Hugs and love your way, always.

      Delete
  19. Beautiful! & your dream did come true. I'm impressed that you have the courage & the insight to recognize that this dream was no longer the right fit. Here's to many more of your dreams coming true. LOVE to you & your darlings. xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mrs. Zing, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I am so glad to have you in my life and just appreciate your support more than I can say. Come visit again soon. Hope to see you next month, but completely understand if not. Just know you are welcome anytime- we shall have wine and fresh eggs daily. But not together. Because that would be weird.

      Delete
  20. What an inspiring post...thank you for just being you, and best of luck on your journey :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monique, thank you so much. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to leave a comment. Best of luck to you as well, in whatever dreams you pursue. :)

      Delete
  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Jessica, Congratulations on seeing your dream become reality, but even more, how you were able to find your worth. So thoughtfully written. Positive energy to you in all your future dreams and passions. Can't wait to see what you create next. - Heather

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and write. Also, thank you for you support. I am so honored to have another metalsmith own a piece of mine and I hope you enjoy it for a really long time. I appreciate the vibes and kind words. Hugs to you.

      Delete
  23. oh, Jess, wholesale is absolutely not what its cracked up to be!...someday we can talk about Sundance and some of my other experiences...not judging these things good or bad, just different and a big choice about how you want to put your work out into the world...I admire your clarity and presence of mind to sort out what is best for yourself...what is cool about being a jewelry artist is that there are really so many ways to be in this arena....xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "different and a big choice".... so well said. Thank you, Kerin, for taking the time to leave me a comment. I so admire you and your work- it makes me feel a bit more comfort just knowing someone as amazing as you can understand someone like me. xo

      Delete
  24. Well I wasn't expecting that at all but I understand it completely. Your judgement is right on.

    I like reading about what you're doing and I think you have really come into your own-ness. Yeah, I just made up that word for you. You might find something that fits you better later when your growing family doesn't need your valuable attention as much. These are the good old days.

    You're rich in so many things (not all material but worth so much more) and your word up there "MINE" deserves the most admiration of all. You're a hard worker, you're dependable and you deserve the love and respect you've worked for.

    If the story had gone the other way, all of us would have cheered for that scenario as well. You know that right?

    Yes. Catherine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Catherine. Such kind and comforting words. And saying that you would have supported me either way? THAT lights up my face. Hugs. Jess.

      Delete
  25. Jess, several things hit me when I read your piece this morning. First, though we have only met online, I felt so proud of and for you. You are an amazing artist, gardener, Mother and home-maker. But most of all an extraordinary Woman. The words that stuck in my mind today while reading this were... "barcode", "my son", my wedding. You are gifted and so blessed with "your Men", your talent, and the growth I have witnessed in your personal life. I have watched the blossoming of you as an artist as well as the growth in your work. The realization that what once was in your dreams has been replaced by something much more than the sum of all your experiences, is a profound Gift. So Proud of you Girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Girl, thank you. You've really been around since the beginning and I can't tell you what that means. I appreciate your reading and taking time out of your life to leave a comment. Thank you for being here, for always being here, and for the incredible support. xx

      Delete
  26. I loved reading this and listening to your heart and muse speak. You know it's the right decision when it feels like a relief - well done on choosing the ("harder", yet lighter) path. I know that your fans appreciate you and your talent; just keep doing what you do best and be true to yourself and your muse. You can't go wrong at all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Trisha. I really do feel lighter, so "relief" is the perfect word. I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Hugs to you... we will talk very soon. xo

      Delete
  27. I've seen other jewelry artists go commercial and it takes away that wonderful expressive edge. They hire an assistant and do production jewelry. Artistically (in addition of course to your personal life) you made the right decision. It would have changed you to 'one who creates what sells'
    happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Susan! I hope all is well with you- I so appreciate you taking the time to read and write. Hugs.

      Delete
  28. Bravo. I couldn't agree or understand more. We all need to take the time to examine what we want along with what we really need from all angles. It's not easy but so important to arrive at the best answer. And the answer can't be the one everyone expects all the time. But it has to be the right one for you and the loved ones in your life. That's all that matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristen... Thank you so much. Not easy is so true, and yet so satisfying once made. I appreciate the words of wisdom and validation. Thank you for being here.

      Delete
  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow…Good for you Jess! I totally get it. You summed it all up so well with such clarity AND it means so much to the that you put out there and shared it. Thank you. You are so brave and courageous for looking deeper into your heart and creative spirit. You were not blinded by the light. Knowing yourself and having the conviction to follow your intuition…isn't that is ultimate dream? Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I know. I am way behind the times here. But sometimes maybe we see things when we need to see them. When they will best sink in.
    I met you when I took Richard's Behind Closed Doors workshop at B&B a few years ago. I was immediately impressed and intrigued by the new work you showed us and by you the artist, the writer, the woman. The brand. Rosy Revolver is YOU. It is a compilation carefully crafted, nurtured and grown by and from you. And as awesome as Anthro is, they are and always would be THEM. Not you.
    Bravo for taking that oh-so-difficult step of saying no to such a bright and shiny dream. That is such a very difficult thing to do. I imagine trying to peer around the corners of each path and wondering which would be burdened with what-ifs. The self-doubt that we wrestle with and sometime subcomb to that drives us to take the wrong path just because we worked so hard to get there and had already invested so much into making it a reality. Choosing an alternative path at those particular intersections is like steering into the slide of a car on ice. Counterintuitive. But it IS exactly how you stay the true course.
    Thank-you for bravely sharing your choice with us. It helps to remind me that my decisions to let go a bit ... To not push so hard ... To enjoy the journey and my family ... And to not belittle myself for not being farther down the path of "success" like part of me expects I should be ... That these are the right decisions for me now. And that the beauty in life is on the side trails, not the super-highways of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This, a deeply emotional and incredibly revealing post, is the first that I read of yours. I'm working on marketing materials for a client of mine who is a longtime follower of yours, so I headed your way to gain inspiration, and read this. As I reviewed the materials I was preparing to present to her, I noticed some of the same themes here. "Stay true to you, your brand." "Make time for the creative and custom orders." "Work from a place of happiness, instead of a place of obligation."

    I just wanted you to know that those inspired by you follow the same vein, following their worth first.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jess, I think your decision to stay independent was a wise one. I never knew anyone who worked for a jewelry company until I took a metal clay class at Arrowmont where I met Janet Alexander. She was a student in the class also but filled in for the teacher when her flight was delayed. (She got there at noon and her supplies got there at midnight.) Janet is a metalsmith/metal clay artist who for several years worked for some jewelry company. I do't know which one but she had just quit and was going independent. I remember her talking about how they were required to produce so many pieces a day and how she hated Valentine's day, Easter, Mother's day and Christmas because they were expected to step up their pace and she wasn't able to enjoy it. I know it's challenging to be an independent artist but a true artist doesn't sell her soul for money and Janet felt like that's what she was doing. Just say'in.

    ReplyDelete
  34. You made the totally right decision. We both know you did, and you know it in your heart. I'm so proud of you, darling girl, you have arrived. Much love and kisses to you three. Lexi

    ReplyDelete