Not too long ago I spent a year developing a line of toys intended for mainstream retail. I poured my heart into these dolls and spent months researching everything from doll fashion and accessories, their functionality, their roles in the marketplace, etc. Pretty much everything you could ever learn about dolls. If you ever want to sit down with someone and have an hour long conversation about the history of fashion dolls—I'm your girl! I designed my own collection, spent thousands of dollars of my own money to get prototypes made, develop clothing, a children's book and tons of accessories and add-ons for them. It was an incredibly fun experience. I learned so much and really fell in love with the idea of designing children's products. We did photo shoots and presentations, all without ever speaking a word of it on this blog. You're probably wondering why I didn't share about them. I just felt that I wanted to wait until I knew they would definitely be produced before I shared them; I didn't want to get my reader's hopes up. I also knew I wasn't allowed to share photos due to all the non-disclosure agreements with the company that looked at my toys. So for months I quietly kept this exciting secret, hoping for the best….
With the help of a kind friend I was able to book a meeting with a major toy company. I've had some experience with product development in my career, but nothing like this. The toy industry is set up completely different than the craft industry… I felt I was learning new things every single day. It was so exciting! Jeremy and I traveled across the country to pitch the collection. Sharing them in our meeting was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. I was so nervous because I had my heart set on this company as a home for my toys. The collection was very well received with tons of questions and compliments. They kept my prototypes at the offices and we traveled home and waited… and waited. A month or two later I got the news that my collection wasn't picked up. They told me that it was one of the final choices, but not the right fit for that year. I cried… a lot. I promised myself that I wouldn't give up, that I would find another company and create an even stronger presentation for the next time. It was so hard to be soooo close to my dream only to have it cut short. I learned a lot through this failed dream. I promised myself that with my next adventure I would enjoy the process more and be less focused on the end result. My heart was broken but I became more humble and more determined to keep going!
I decided to take a short break. I decided to try another (just-for-fun) dream. I designed a collection of dresses (pictured below)…. this dream was a side project that took off in ways I didn't expect. It was extremely successful and turned into something that I want to do more and more in the future! I think that a big part of my story that is encouraging is that this adventure came as a result of a major rejection. Instead of giving up and letting the sadness take over I chose to move forward and try something else, just to help ease the pain. What started off as a "rebound" type project turned into something that I really loved and enjoyed. The forward motion carried me to a new creative place… I love that!
Now, I can proudly say that I've I learned from my failure and used it to move forward. Every success story in the world is sprinkled with rejection, challenges and even sometimes failures. Don't let these things stop you. Keep moving forward, trying new things and developing your creative skills. Thanks for listening to my story. I know that sometimes this blog can fool people into believing that I don't have hard times. The truth is that we're all human and we're all working through the same obstacles each and every day. Love you… Elsie
Note: I'm so sorry I am not sharing photos of my toy designs at this time. I still intend to develop them in the future and so I need to keep them private for now…. maybe someday you'll see them in stores… Who knows?