100-day quest, and so far, it's not quite going as I'd expected. When I first started out I figured I'd contact one store each day to carry my collage sheets, hear back relatively quickly, then move on to the next shop. I even came up with plans for what to do on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I quickly realized that's not too realistic--both contacting one store at a time every day, but also hearing back so quickly. Most places--if they get back to me at all--have taken as much as a month to really pin down whether they'd like to place an order or not. So instead I'm going by the exact words I laid out when starting my quest...not that I'd contact one store per day, but rather that I'd blog about my quest every single day. And so far I'm doing pretty good on that end, even if some days all I say is "Happy Thanksgiving."
But at the same time, the overall quest is going much better than planned. While I've really only contacted perhaps a dozen online and brick & mortar stores (plus entered a bunch of contests, submitted my work to magazines, etc.) I'm in active discussions with my five absolute favorite online stores and distributors, including one that placed an order, two that say they will place orders, one more that says they'll get back to me soon, and one I have an in-person meeting with scheduled for January. In other words, not one of my top picks has said no yet (knock on wood) and all seem at least interested enough to check out my work. If you'd told me a month ago that these places would be interested in piddix--companies that I'd placed on unreachable pedestals for years--I don't think I would have believed you. It's amazing enough that if I stopped right now, I'd be thrilled.
But I can't stop yet. There's still almost 60 days left and only two official rejections (one store, one contest). So far, independent craft and mixed media stores have been the most difficult to pin down. Owners are hard to get a hold of; plus it's their busiest time of the year. A friend of mine suggested looking into sales reps, which I think is absolutely brilliant. They know their areas, have relationships with shops, and know what products owners might like. It will still be a good amount of work (and asking) on my end to find the right people and see if they want to represent piddix. But it seems like a more intelligent way to go about it.
I'd also like to contact a few companies that make complimentary products such as bezels and glazes and see if we can work out some type of relationship. I'm not quite sure what that would look like yet, but wouldn't it be great to see some piddix collage sheets sized for Ranger memory glass, for example?
And finally, something that is quite exciting is that I think I might actually be over my fear of calling people, which feels pretty darn good. Why didn't I try this years ago? Now, if I'd gotten a ton more rejections so far, I might not be as hopeful, and there's definitely been some low spots so far. Even just 10 days ago I was ready to throw in the towel. But at the moment, it's feeling pretty good.