Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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At some point while going down the path as an “artist” (a term I am still not comfortable with regarding myself), one must address the “why” of what one does.  In my case, it became clear after a while that the reason I do what I do is simply because my work seems to make the people who like it happy.  Not because it is the next “big thing” or what an art critic might call “great art.”  It just makes people happy.  And, honestly, to know that something I make makes someone else happy is about as good as it gets.

So that’s why I keep on doing what I do.  Because of you.

It, therefore, really pains me – people-pleaser that I am – when I don’t make you, or at least some of you, happy.  And that is the case in point at the moment.

As I embarked on the path I am on, it was pretty lonely for a while.  But, gradually, through persistence, my horizons widened. As a result of a series of fortunate circumstances and just plain hard work, it is considerably less lonely out there nowadays. I am cheered by you all who follow me and urge me along.  Even though many of you and I have never met, I am encouraged by your enthusiastic, friendly support of what I do.

Over the past couple of years, the audience for the Vintage Christmas in particular has really blossomed.  I am grateful beyond measure for that.  It is exciting for me that I hear from people all over the country (and some from overseas, too).

The spate of new wreaths that I have been working feverishly to make for the Country Living Fair has particularly grabbed a lot of your attentions.  I have had numerous inquiries about pricing and how to purchase them.

And this is where I am not making you happy.

When I sign up to do a show, I make a commitment to bring enough product to show.  The show management also has expectations that need to be met by the artisans/vendors they choose to exhibit at their venue.  This is especially important with the Country Living shows.

So, I am now in the unfortunate position of having to tell you – my faithful followers – that the wreath you would like to buy is not actually available right now.  Because if I sold all of them now, I would show up in New York with an empty van.  And that’s not good either.

And, thus, I have to write you back and disappoint you.  And I hate that.  I don’t hear back from most folks after that email so I am left wondering if you understand the situation, are crushed, or maybe even mad.  Or, worse yet, you have concluded that you will never get a chance to buy one of my wreaths and just move on.  I surely do hope not.

It also means that the old saw which was inscribed in my consciousness since childhood, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is flagrantly ignored.  Is this a wise business decision?  How can I be sure?

All I can do is what I think is the best thing to do at the moment, hope for the best, and hope that you will understand and forgive me.  And still be my friend.

As you have heard me say before, it takes me a long time to make 1 wreath – usually about 9 hours, which is broken up into 2 or sometimes even 3 sittings.  I do not make them by rote – that would be incredibly boring and unfulfilling to me.  Every piece in every given design was carefully placed there after a considerable amount of thought.  Sometimes I spend 30 minutes or more trying ornament after ornament until just the “right” one slips into place.  Some people may perceive that as indecisiveness but I disagree.  It means that I put every ounce of myself into making the best design I can possibly make at any given moment.  And because of that and because I absolutely love the materials I work with, I am pretty attached to everything I make.  It is important to me, therefore, that a wreath, for example, goes to someone who really loves it.

When Mariah Carey ended up with “Pink Parfait,” in her kitchen that was incredibly thrilling.  Once the initial amazement wore off, though, it dawned on me that as exciting as it was, that wreath is probably nothing more than just another pretty bauble among hundreds of pretty baubles in Mariah Carey’s life.

At the risk of sounding really corny, it means so much more to me when someone buys a wreath because they have an emotional connection with it.  Maybe it reminds them of their grandmother, or their childhood Christmases, or maybe there is an ornament in it that has special meaning for them.  Whatever the reason, they buy it because they recognize something in it that makes them happy.  And that is what makes me happy, too.

So, that brings me around again to the point of this little essay (which has probably gone on for far too long!): I’m sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I hope that those of you who were anxious to buy one of the new wreaths will hang in there with me. There will be more to come.  They won’t be exactly the same as these but I promise they will be positively the best I can make.

In the meantime, I would truly welcome your comments and suggestions.  Please do let me hear from you, whether it be in comments here, on Facebook, or by email.  I promise to respond to all of them.

And if you want me to do something custom for you, don’t forget that is an option, too.

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11 thoughts on “Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  1. If you like the fairs, then don’t apologize, just post that the only way to buy that one is to go to the fair, you are committed to bring it there. And you will offer some for sale by [fill in a date] and you hope they will be able to wait until then if they can’t attend the fair. Or you might decide you can sell enough on-line that it’s not worthwhile to go to fairs anymore. You should do as you like, my friend. Warmly, Brenda

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  2. Beautifully written. As much as I would love to have one of your wreaths, I know your show commitments come first. It just means I get to ooooh and ahhh some more later on. 😋

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  3. I emailed you also, I wanted Red Rider. I went vintage ornament shopping last year and bought some special pieces – I actually have the Santa and sleigh you used on Red Rider. So maybe a custom wreath for me later. I agree with Brenda, her take on your situation is right on- she said it best. It may be that the fairs will become a thing of the past for you now that you have name recognition. Aside from the fun of the fairs and meeting your customers, they are costly for the vendors. You may have made one wreath to pay for vendor space and the Internet business is essentially free. Have fun at the fair, Pam

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    • Thank you so much for commenting, Pam, and, yes, I remember your email about Red Rider! I think I will probably keep on doing the CL Fairs for lots of reasons – they are fun, the creativity there is immensely inspiring to me, and I get to meet people from all overt the country. Were it not for those Fairs, I would not have met so many wonderful people and the word about my work would not have spread as it has. That being said, yes, they are terribly expensive to do (by the time you factor in the booth fee, a rental van, hotel and meals for 6 days…you get the picture). Still it is wortht it for the experience – I may not make a big profit $$ wise but I profit from them in so many other ways.
      I acutally have a stash of 3 those Santas with sleighs (each one is a little different) so I will be making more this year. Stay tuned – and yes, do think about a custom wreath for yourself. I love custom work! Best wishes, Cackie

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