You spent the last year building your business. You perfected your product line, took amazing photos and marketed your brand to your favorite editors. September rolled around and you filled out a bunch of forms, paid application fees and applied for all your favorite craft shows. The next step: waiting.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the waiting is over. You've received an email from your favorite craft show with a subject line that doesn't give you much information. You're going to have to open it to find out. So you click on it. It's brief. It doesn't give you a bunch of information about how to pay for your booth or the date when your swag is due. It says something shorter - something about how you haven't been selected. It slowly sinks in: You've been rejected.
Let's walk ourselves through the stages of craft show rejection:
Who are they to tell you that you can't be in their craft show? (they're the organizers)
You may have an initial urge to hastily send off a snarky email about how great your stuff is and how they don't know what they're talking about. (don't do that)
Failing that, you might be inclined to post about them on some social networks. Something about how they're terrible and you hate them and you are GLAD you're not doing their stupid show. (don't do that either)
Tears are normally next.
Why don't they think your stuff is good enough? You worked so hard. Are they ever going to let you in?
Sob. Sob. Sob.
Okay. Pull yourself together. We've got to find out who did get into this thing.
You're going to go to their website and look at everyone who was accepted. You'll start with the category you applied for and pick apart the websites of everyone in that same category who was accepted.
There will be a lot of, "Them? Really? They got in and I didn't?"
The first three steps are best done in isolation.
Okay. Okay. Get your head together. This isn't the end of the world. It's just a craft show. A craft show is not the most important thing ever. Granted, you were banking on that income so you could eat and stuff but you'll figure things out. You can always get a part time retail job. Right? Fuck.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Acceptance is kind of a gray area at times may also best be done in isolation.
Just kidding. We have a strict no tolerance policy on revenge.
Okay. You've gone through the stages. Now what?
Well, let's talk about some ways to make sure that you get through this without everyone thinking you're an asshole. Yeah, that's what I said. Sometimes when people deal with rejection they act like assholes. It's the truth. Don't be one of them.
Like I said earlier, resist the urge to say terrible things to the organizers of this craft show either by email or on social networks. Don't do anything creative like posting on Facebook and hiding the post from the organizers. They'll still find out. Trust me. It's guaranteed that someone out there will see it and tell them about it. That's how life works. Duh.
Instead of lashing out, why don't you send them a nice email? Tell them just how much you love their show and what a great job they do. Ask if it is possible to be added to the wait list. Ask if they have any feedback on your application so that you can make changes for next time. Don't expect a response. They don't owe you a response. They are going to get tons of emails from everyone and they won't have time to write everyone back. I can tell you this though: If you are nice and respectful -- you've got a way better chance of hearing back from them than if you're an asshole. That's a solid fact.
Now, do you have a backup plan? You should. Never put all your eggs in one craft show basket. Even if you've done a show every year for the past million years. You still might not get in. Even if you're best friends with all the organizers. You still might not get in. Even if you make the best thing ever and are the most famous crafter in the history of crafters. You still might not get in. Everyone doesn't get in sometimes. That's just how life works. Duh.
If you don't have a backup plan this year - there's still some things you can do to ensure that no one thinks you're an asshole. These things include:
If you don't have another show scheduled, offer to volunteer for your most favorite craft show ever. They'll see what a good sport you are plus you'll be helping make your most favorite craft show ever a reality. You really can't lose.
Let's say you have some extra cash. Get out there and support your peers. Buy. Buy. Buy. Consume. Consume. Consume.
#3: Host Out of Town Crafters
If you think you can handle it emotionally, host some out of town peeps. Turn your living room into a craft show sleepover for the weekend. You'll make some friends and ensure that you've got a place to stay when you do a show in their town.
#4: Start Your Own Craft Show
Maybe it's a real craft show with other vendors who are not imaginary. Maybe it's just you and your one friend who also got rejected crying while wearing pajamas and trading crafts back and forth. Whichever you choose -- this is the one show that you ARE GUARANTEED to get into.
There. You've gone through the stages of grief and we've ensured that you are not acting like an asshole. Now, that last thing we need to do is make sure you don't lose hope.
You work hard. You do great work. There are people who love your stuff. Don't give up. Don't get frustrated and throw in the towel because of one little setback. One rejection doesn't mean anything. Hopefully in your career as a crafter you'll get hundreds of rejections. That means you're putting yourself out there. You're trying. And trying is the only way you're going to get anywhere.
So don't give up. Don't let rejection get you down for more than just a moment. Take a moment to grieve and then dust yourself off and get back to it. You've got shit to do. You don't have time to dwell on things that just don't matter that much.
Now, go make something.
Have I left out any steps? Are there other ways to ensure you're not acting like an asshole? What shows have you been rejected for this season already?