On Failure, Success and Moving Forward

Moving forwardEveryone fails sometimes. Today I want to share a personal story that I've never shared before. I hope that it encourages some of you to keep dreaming, even in the hard times…

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!

Elsie larson dress collectionNow, 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?

  • Wow, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I really respect and admire that you’ve shared this in such a personal way.

    Good luck with all of your endeavors – you’re so talented and your work is so beautiful. It’s fun to watch it all unfold. (Or, as the case may be, not unfold…yet.)

  • Thank you so much for sharing this difficult personal experience and putting yourself out there like this.

    You’re absolutely right – and even thought it’s a total cliche – it’s always darkest before the dawn. The people who succeed, are those that fail many, many times before.

    Your beautiful collection of dresses is wonderful! And I wish you tons of success with it!

    Big virtual hug!

  • Wow, thank you for sharing this, Elsie! It can be so hard to stay motivated when things go badly, but I’m so glad you channelled your creativity into the dress collection that has been such an inspiring success. I hope your toy designs work out someday, I’m sure they’d be amazing!

  • Thanks for sharing this story. I like it that you drew something positive from this ‘failure’. Most, if not all, successful people have had to overcome failures in their lives. Those that are persistent and keep following their dreams make it in the end. I hope that your toy project will work out someday. It will be when the time is right. xoxo

  • Thanks for sharing this story, Elsie. I have to admit, as a long-time reader, I’ve always wondered about the toys and dolls that you’d mentioned here and there in very passive ways, whether it was on goal lists or just general interests you’ve shared. I love how you’re so diverse in your goals and dreams; it’s really encouraging to read about.

    Right now, my fiancé and I are dreaming of the future. Where to move, why we’d choose the places we’re considering… and, as odd as it is, this “failed” doll story really hit home with me today, with the decisions I’m making and the hope for the future, as unknown as it may be.

    Thank you for sharing. All the best.

  • this is a wonderful story 🙂 failure is the worst. sometimes i feel like all i do is fail. but you’re right… it is important to keep trying, and i’m glad you did. i think in the end, it does make you stronger (cheesy as that sounds.)

    also, i’m kinda curious to see these dolls…

  • This is really encouraging – I’ve been job-hunting and moving and changing things around for a while and sometimes I feel like giving up. All I really need is to keep going and press on harder.

    Good luck with the toy collection!

  • Thank you that was a beautiful post! Wow you’re a true entrepreneur. I don’t have the courage to do even a fraction of all the great things you have already achieved. I have a lot of dreams, get very excited about them but then at the slightest sign of things not working out I quit! It frustrates the hell out of both me, and my friends and family!
    I always find some encouragement in your blog and your courses though 🙂

  • And THIS is why you rule Elsie! It takes courage to pick yourself up after being rejected and even more courage to talk about it so openly. You are an inspiration to so many and I thank you for sharing this. As somebody in the early stages of starting a creative business I needed to hear this. I have no doubt that your toys will be in stores in the future. I wish you all the best.

  • thanks for this post elsie. I work in theatre & had a similar experience–got a great part in a high profile company, rehearsed for months, all of my family & friends knew about it–and one month before the show opened the company’s budget was reworked & the show was cut entirely. telling everyone was so disappointing. your blog always inspires me to *choose* happiness even in darker moments!

  • Thanks for sharing this! It is truly inspiring. I can relate to a similar experience recently. I wish you all the best in the future with all your dreams and ideas.


  • It was fantastic to read your personal story! I guess one of the many things we readers allow us to think when reading blogs is that the person behind the computer has a perfect life even if we consciously know they’re just choosing to show us the most positive aspects of their lives instead of sharing some negativity which is no use… I’m sorry your toy line wasn’t chosen but I think you should take the fact it was one of the final picks as a compliment! Don’t put that dream aside, you may still launch your toyline someday, I truly believe it will happen! I have read you blog since its very start on Blogspot and I remember pretty much all the path you’ve created for yourself… it’s funny because when I started reading this post I thought immediatly of your clothing line as it was something you wanted to do for a long time. Launching your own clothing line isn’t that easy and not everyone gets to do it so just see how far you’ve came! You’re fantastic and you inspire so many people around the world, I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up next, I’m sure it will be amazing, never give up 🙂

  • What a wonderful post! Sometimes when we walk through blogland it is easy to think that others have it easy; all goes well and of course there are always pretty pictures. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your triumphs and stumbles. I am new to your blog and so glad I found you!

    Best Regards,


  • I’m in a similar situation:) My whole life has been nothing but quilts until quite recently, now I’m getting published in a magazine (for wool applique) and a book (for punchneedle!) My passion is quilting…it’s just going to take a little longer;)


  • Elsie, you are so inspiring! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • I love this post. I feel a lot of times I’m far too hard on myself and if things don’t progress as quickly as I had imagined, or I don’t get the results I was hoping for or expecting, I beat myself up a lot over it. Stories like this help me realize that things come with time.

  • Thanks Elsie. I have dealt with pouring my heart into something only to have it blow up in my face. My first job as a kitchen designer, I worked my arse off on my designs, as a co-worker and as a employee and had tremendous success until one day the owners wife told me I didn’t seem happy there. I was so happy!! And they let me go. I cried my eyes out and let it get to me. After much soul searching, I finally got over it. Thanks for the post!

  • Thank you, Elsie, for sharing your story and for giving words of encouragement. I really needed to read this. I am a recent graduate and am looking for jobs and having no luck. Countless cover letters and multiple revisions of resumes later, I’m still trying to keep my head and hopes up for someone to hire me.

    Thank you, again.

  • I miss your personal posts. I think this one was real + inspiring 🙂 I’m sure we will see your toys one day!

  • This was so honest, and so simply and well said! Needless to say that the dress collection is more than wonderful. How we use the crisis depends on us – whether we`ll use it to get up, or to moan and to stand at one place for a long time. I support you not giving up from the toys. Analyze yourself more, and the company, the market. Maybe u`ll find what you could improve..



  • elsie,

    what great timing for this post. i’ve been crying most of the day and am currently struggling through a job application. it’s so encouraging to hear about other people’s hard work and disappointments (and well as their successes).

    thanks 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story. Sometimes we never even get started for fear of failing.

    Maybe the thing to take away is that there is no “failure.” Every bit of it is learning, and part of the creative process.

    Always so inspiring. Thanks Elsie!

  • Thanks for this post, Elsie. I’m a bit sad at the moment because I just got turned down for a job I really wanted. I’m trying to be positive about things and stories like this really help. Everyone needs to remember that good things do happen!

  • Such an inspiring post, thank you so much for sharing. I can always count on your blog for a jolt of positivity first thing in the morning with my coffee to put me in the right frame of mind for the day 🙂

  • It must have been heartbreaking to have gotten a no at the final hurdle, but I’m so glad that from then on Red Velvet has become so successful and that things are more positive for you. This is such an inspiring post, thank you!

  • thank you so much for sharing! it’s hard jumping into something you really want to do… and it’s nice to see even in failure it’s not over.

    good luck! hope to one day buy a doll from your collection!

  • Wow! Could this article have come at a better time! For some reason I am feeling the need to surrender control and let my success be guided rather than pushed.

  • Fabulous post, Elsie. Fabulous. You asked recently what aspects of the blog we readers would like to see more of, and this post made me realize my answer: I totally dig the beautiful, inspiring DIYs here, but actually my favorite part of this blog is your behind-the-scenes, Big Dreams process stuff. Getting to see the gears underneath that turn all the loveliness you show us here. You know? Like this post. Always SO inspiring.
    xoxo, Alison
    P.S. I also really hope your dolls get produced at some point soon. Even without having seen them – given your style and attention to detail – I just know my little girls would LOVE them. <3

  • This really is an inspiring story! Thanks.
    And I hope someday we’ll see your toys in stores…

  • You’re a courageous woman and truly an inspiration. I love the dresses! Good luck with future endeavors 🙂


  • Elsie, you’re a true inspiration in every sense of the word. It’s so great to read an honest story about failure and success. It really does seem like your life is perfect but I know everyone has setbacks and failures and I appreciate reading about yours. All the best in the future. I’m sure more good things are coming!

  • By the way: the dresses look absolutely beautiful!

    Your story reminds me of a lesson I’ve learned: that the best things in life doesn’t necessarily comes from struggling, but from having a good time with the things you are doing.

    Thanks for reminding me 🙂

  • It really is inspiring to see how much good can come out of a failure! Keep up the good work, because your dress collection looks fabulous!

  • Oohhh… I hope I get to see them in stores someday! I think I’d love them. I’m so over the toys that are out right now… so, I hope they come out before I have a little girl. 🙂 Good luck!

  • I never ever EVER comment on blogs ever, but I feel the need to thank you so much for sharing that story. I love that you are so open, honest, and REAL on this blog and your story truly inspires me to open up my own store someday. I don’t like to share my dreams with many others because I am so scared of failing before they are realized, but I’m inspired to share more because of you. Thank you!!

  • Thanks so much for this post, Elsie.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and you’re such an inspiration – it’s brave of you to show that things don’t always work out, and great to see you’ve not been discouraged!
    I look forward to the future post showing us your doll collection hitting the stores 😉

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story elsie! it was really encouraging and just what i needed to hear now as i prepare to apply for medical school…knowing that I will probbaly be rejected more than I get accepted. Your blog and your dress line are lovely. Keep up the amazing work thanks for being such an inspiration. It was nice to see your human side 😉

  • Thanks for sharing Elsie. Seeing your dress line grow has been so inspiring. I’m sad to hear your initial dream didn’t work out but it turned into something brilliant that I’m sure has delighted and inspired many others too. It’s even more inspiring, in a strange way, that you’ve overcome these things.

    Sometimes things don’t always happen at the time we want them, but that doesn’t mean they won’t happen. I believe that these things have a way of working out. All the best. x

    P.S. Could I use the word inspiring any more in this comment?

  • I can’t even begin to tell you how perfect the timing of your post was for me. I was thinking about taking down my fashion blog today and throwing in the towel. I was reminded that I have my long-forgotten art blog, and that I really miss drawing/editing pretty things. Remembering all of my weird art kind of knocked me down. It’s like, “why aren’t I pursing THAT right now instead of my dead-end fashion blog?!” I’ve been really into fashion and love fashion blogs, but I think I can finally move forward and try something else that’s screaming with potential.

    (Weird stuff like this, for example! http://tallblondeartist.blogspot.com/p/current.html)

  • This is really inspiring, thanks for sharing! It’s easy to read your blog and to feel that you seem to have the most amazing life ever. It’s a dream for me to one day give up my crappy job and work for myself on my business. I’ll keep working towards that dream! :o)

  • Thank you for being so open and sharing something which is clearly quite painful. It’s so inspiring to know that such a successful project came out of something else that didn’t quite work (yet). I have always been afraid of rejection and in the past had shied away from doing anything I might fail at, but recently I’ve been trying to be braver, challenge myself, take some rejection (and there has been a lot of it recently) and push on through. As much as failure can hurt, it really does expand your comfort zone and make you stronger. The way you really go for it in everything you do is so inspiring, Elsie. Keep it up!

  • Elsie, you have got to be one of the most creative, hardworking, and INSPIRING people that I’ve ever encountered. You deserve all the success that comes your way. Thank you for the reminder <3

  • Fear of failure has kept me from trying and possibly succeeding at a lot of things. Thank you very much for sharing your story. I know you will go on to do even more amazing things!

  • Thank you so much for your honesty, I found this post incredibly inspiring, especially the line, “Every success story in the world is sprinkled with rejection, challenges and even sometimes failures.” How true! Congratulations on all you have accomplished and for creating such a fun, inspiring and engaging online destination!

  • Hi Ive been reading your blog since 2007 but never really post. I really admire you as a person and thank you for sharing this story with me. I just gave up a dream that I had been working towards for 2 years but feel like im heading in the right direction now even though at the time when i gave it up i was feeling like a total failure. Thank you for sharing x lors x

  • Like everyone else who commented, I really needed to hear this today, especially from you. Before I got married I had dropped out of music school due to it being a waste of money and me being extremely unsuccessful. It was very difficult because I had poured my whole life into my music, but music school was not for me. I transfered to an online business school and got engaged. I started seriously reading blogs more and more, and becoming more and more involved with my hobby of crafting and making wedding, home, and party decor. I made hundreds of things for my wedding, and had such a fun time doing it I knew I couldn’t stop. My friends encouraged me to start an etsy shop, and through my awesome wedding photographer my products/ wedding were featured on 3 huge blogs. I also got the opportunity to come up with products for the Wedding Chicks Blog Shop in exchange for advertisement, and the orders flooded in. Recently I have been getting into sewing, painting, embroidery, and making lots of other things. I have been working on a ton of new products for my etsy shop, but been dealing with the fear of faliure, the stress that comes with starting a business, and so so much more. Being on a strict budget as a newlywed makes it even more difficult. I have been reading your blog about twice a day, and have been really inspired by it. It also however has been a huge source of intimidation for me. I felt like I could never be successful seeing people like you already doing so well. I also live in the literal middle of no where, and have very little resources around me as well as no way of pursuing my dream job of working at Anthropologie as a display designer. However, hearing this really helped me. I am not the only one that fails, gets scared, or isn’t successful right off the bat, and being alone is the worst feeling ever. You have SO much going for you, and I would KILL to work for or with you any day of the week, along with the rest of the crafting blogsphere. Cheer up girl. You are doing amazing! It will all work out in the end for sure. Praying for you! Thanks again for this post. It was super encouraging beyond belief.

  • What a great and inspiring post! Countless times I’ve put so much work and energy into something that just ends up a failure. Its truly disheartening but can really help you later in what-not-to-do and what-TO-do. Although it can hurt, it helps motivate me to get further in my next dream.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. It’s really inspiring and encouraging- perhaps even more so than a success story because your successes are obvious. I wish more people would share stories like this and how they overcame obstacles. People need to hear them.

  • I didn’t think I could admire you anymore than I already did! You’re amazing! Such an inspiration.

  • I really loved this post, it’s definitely inspiring and I always love learning more about you.

  • Thanks for sharing! That is an inspiring story…and believe me, we all can use some encouragement in tough times!

  • Thank you for sharing this story. This is something that I’m sure hits home for a lot of people. It’s a battle when it comes to making your dreams come true, and it’s often easy to let yourself become discouraged. It’s refreshing to hear that naturally and organically new and exciting dreams can be made!

  • i’m very inspired by your story. especially at this time in my life. thank you for sharing…

  • Nice attitude! I’m not surprised you can’t/haven’t shared the dolls – only surprised that you have found the time. p.s. the dress collection is super cute!

  • Yo’re so great – thanks for sharing this! Sometimes when I see a person as successful as you, I forget that we all have bad days and failures. It’s a nice reminder that we’re all human and we all have ups and downs :).

  • thank you for keeping it real elsie! i hope someday your doll dreams will come true, too. 🙂 for we know you like to sprinkle the world with sunshine, & you your creative ideas know no bounds.

  • Your openness and honesty inspires me to keep going even when I feel like I should just quit! I needed to hear this story today, thanks lady!


  • Thanks for sharing, it’s such an encouragement to hear others going through struggles and overcoming them! I know what it’s like to be in the process of waiting for something and putting hours and time into it and not getting the results you so hoped for (I’m in the middle of applying to Physician’s Asst. school). Thanks again for sharing and if you ask me you are incredibly gifted and your blog is a joy to look at!

  • i totally believe in learning from your failures. you can learn more from them than your successes because you learn about how strong you are. go you! you’re product sounds awesome and i’m sure that something good will come from it!

  • Thank you so much for sharing Elsie! It takes courage to share the hardships too. So glad to be able to be part of such a great blog family. Regardless of designing dolls or dresses, your honesty and hard work is what keeps me coming back!


  • Thanks for sharing Elsie. I know that your dolls WILL get picked up and they will warm little girls’ and boys’ hearts all over the globe. Don’t give up and remember that it was your first try and often times we fall the first time we try.. Now you have an idea how it all works and will be better prepared next time. Keep up! If you haven’t read it yet “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin is a fantastic and fast read regarding just this.. failure.. and how that is the step to success.

  • Oh, Elsie… I love this post so, so much!!! You MUST write more about these things!! 🙂
    Thank you, thank you for sharing. I’m working right now on a huge project (actually, I’ve been working on it for almost 3 years now…) and of course, I have no idea if and what will come out of it. Thank you so much for sharing!!! And I admire you for moving forward and not giving up. It’s amazing.
    Thank you,

  • Awh, sorry to hear about your disappointing news, love! I guess it just wasn’t the right time… but we totally have confidence in you for future success with this project! If anyone can do it, it’s you girl!

    Thanks for sharing your motivational story with us! XO

  • Oh, wow. I have been an admirer of your blog for so long, and I can feel your pain. I worked as a toy designer for a major doll brand for years before I left to stay at home with the kiddos and pursue my own creative dreams. It is a tough industry, and you are so brave to make a go of it as an inventor! We would all love to see pics of your doll line if you are allowed to share them. They must be absolutely adorable 🙂

  • Oh Elsie. Thank you for sharing this. Its inspirational that you are so positive and kept moving forward. What fools not to pick up your dolls, anything you touch is gold! 😉 You are an amazing woman and such an awesome role model. Ive been reading your blog for a long time now, it never disappoints. Lots of love. Xoxo

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! Very inspiring and it gives me a lot of hope. I have had LOTS of failed projects and career changes, but one needs to keep moving on and try to find the “silver lining” in everything. I have faith that everything will work out for the best in the end for all of us. 🙂

  • HI Elsie, my name is Marina and I’m brazilian. Some months ago I discovered “the beautiful mess” and since than I follow you. To be honest, in the begining was just for fun, just to see the clothes style and enjoy it. But the time was passing and I noticed that now, I see you every single day! Specially today, with your dream opened I decided “to say hello”, cause I saw my dreams in your dreams… no, I don’t want to have my own dolls… but I want to keep dreaming, independently of the troubles in my journey, I want to keep opened to the life and the surprises it can give me. Sorry for my english mistakes… Marina

  • WOW. I really appreciate you sharing this story about getting your hopes dashed. You do seem so successful, and it’s great to have a reminder that you got that way through hard work, successes and failures, and you can pick yourself up after a big disappointment. I love the happy upbeat vibe of your blog but I also love it when you share real stories about how it’s not always easy. I hope you don’t give up on your dream of a doll line- and I hope one day you get to share that success with us on your blog!

  • Thank you for sharing your story! It’s so easy for us to lose sight of our dreams after experiencing rejection, and your story goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining. Keep up the good work, you’re an inspiration for creatives everywhere! xoxo

  • Thank you for taking the time to share your story Elsie. I am beginning stages of starting my own company and producing my own line of jewellery. I was overwhelmed by the fear that I may fail through this venture and this held me back for a long time. However you have helped me to understand that life may deal you something you’re not expecting or hoping, but you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. From this you made an amazing clothing line! So once again thank you for your post and encouraging us not to put our own dreams on hold. Michelle 🙂

  • Wow! A really touching post. The truth is, I also put my heart in my projects and it’s really hard for me to not almost die when it doesnt work. But their is always something to learn about!!!

  • That was a fabulous story. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I know exactly what you mean. I was working in the hotel industry and I was completely miserable, had no idea why I was doing this in life. Doing Hotel Management in college was definitely a failed decision on my part. So one day, I just got up and went, I am going to go to art school and applied. Immediately after the interview, they told me i had a secure place in the course I wanted. I was so happy! I guess only when something good happens do you really learn that failures and bumps along the way are all just stepping stones to your final dream. Thanks again for that story Elsie xx

  • Thank you for writing this. I love that you can (and do) open up and share some of your hardship and heartache. It means a lot to this long-time reader to be reminded that everyone, no matter how perfect and glossy their life may seem, has unfulfilled dreams and obstacles to overcome. You continue to be a huge inspiration to myself and many others. <3

  • Elsie, thanks for always inspiring me. Your humility is refreshing. Thanks for sharing that story – your dress collection is fantastic.

  • It’s nice to know your imperfect too. Your even more endearing. At least you have a clear direction in which way your headed. That’s more than most of us can say. It was courageous of you to share. We love you all the more for it.


  • Thank you for sharing this small bit of your journey. I’ve been thinking about what I want to do in the future and reading this leaves me encouraged and inspired. Thank you!

  • Elsie, I LOVE your blog! Read every single day since 2008. Thanks for sharing your story, we can all relate to this… The importante is to move forward!

  • Oh, I hope you see how much you are supported + how huge of a inspiration you are to your readers. (I love that there is so much love for you in this comment thread!)
    Life can be intense + the failures almost unbearable, but holy cow the innovation + genius that often comes out of this sort of contrast is awesome. My belief… every failure leads to a new idea (after a good hard cry + maybe a glass of wine or a beer… or two…)
    Enjoy it all, Elsie. You have created such a lovely life.
    p.s. I’ve missed reading your blog for a couple of weeks but so glad I caught it (twice!) today.

  • Thanks for an encouraging real life story! Yes ups and downs are part of everyone’s lives. So glad you didn’t let the trial keep you down. 😉

  • Elsie thank you so much for sharing this story! I’m trying really hard to make my goals become a reality but I feel like I’m making so little progress. You story is really inspiring and is encouraging me to not give up and to be open to other new possibilities, too. Like you said, it’s easy to look at blogs and be overwhelmed by how perfect other people’s lives seem, so it’s also encouraging to be reminded that everyone has hard times. I’m sorry the company didn’t pick up your range of dolls, but I’m glad to hear you’re not giving up. I hope to see them in stores here in Australia one day! xo

  • Thank you so much for this, Elsie! It really helps to read this, it’s so encouraging. I often get discouraged that my business isn’t growing as fast as I’d like it to, but this reminds me to just enjoy the process and see where the road leads me. XO

  • Your post/story is so inspiring and encouraging. I want to thank you for sharing that because I know that at times, I do feel like giving up because things just don’t go my way as it does for some people. But your story gives me the encouragement I need in hopes that my blog will one day become a success.

  • thanks so much for sharing. i am in a weird place at work right now and it’s been really difficult to stay positive and keep moving forward doing something i love even when i know the right thing to do is act positively. this was a little pick me up to get me back on track. 🙂 thanks again!

  • wow, your story is really amazing, full of honesty, dreams, and emotions. I truly appreciate, that you’re sharing this with us, because I have found lots of inspiration here in your blog. Thank you so much for being so honest, you’re a wonderful person with many qualities and dreams.
    Love, Dani.

  • Elsie, thank you so much for sharing this. Keep pushing yourself and your creativity will continue to flourish. You inspire so many of us and we truly appreciate you. In Dory’s words, “Just keep swimming…”

  • Thank you so much for sharing this personal experience as a part of your business experience. It’s incredibly hard to put all of yourself into a project and not have it succeed but I love that you learned and persevered through it all to create something truly remarkable…your own line of incredible clothing. Again thank you, you are a great role model. XOX

  • Thanks for sharing this story.. I’m in the process right now of trying to find a teaching job and the process has been very frustrating and discouraging at times. This was a good reminder to keep at it.. Thanks for being authentic, I appreciate it. 🙂


  • I don’t often comment but I wanted to say that I really appreciated this post a lot. I like to see the real human side of a person when I read their blog and I miss the personal posts you used to do. So this was refreshing.

    But also, I relate to this a lot. I tend to create huge goals for myself. I’ve accomplished a few and failed at some. But I feel like its so much better to dream huge. Ya know “Shoot for the moon, land among the stars” and all that.

    Just this year I got to work at my absolute dream company. I got laid off in March and was devastated by it. A month or so later and I am actually A-O-fng-K with it for some reason. Looking back on it with fresh eyes, I didn’t actually like the job or the industry really. It wasn’t me. I was just so happy to be doing my “dream job” that I didn’t take a minute to ask myself if I was actuality enjoying it until I had some distance from it and the answer was a resounding “No!” It didn’t fulfill me in the way I thought it would, it was kinda empty.

    BUT! Since then I’ve gotten into a school I’ve always wanted to go to and realized where I’d rather my career head. I’m happy I got the chance to work at the “dream job” because I can walk away from it knowing exactly what it’s like. I mean I was laid off, not fired, so no harm no foul. But I’m so happy I TRIED. And that experience is leading me down a path that is much more “me” and I’m excited to see how it turns out.

    Keep trying and you will always succeed because when you leave this mortal coil, you will know you have left no stone unturned.

  • I was a “silent” reader and big fan of your blog, but I cannot help posting a comment after reading this great article. This is very encouraging and inspiring! I love the collection of dresses and also I can tell how great the project of the dolls would be. I really hope they will be in market someday. (and hope I can buy them from Japan.)

  • elsie, I’ve been a fan of your blog for a long time, got the chance to interview your amazing husband for my full-time work at the insider.com and just tonight bought the space to start my “own” dream blog, after years of sitting in business meetings with people “not picking” my idea. I truly believe that if you follow your heart that each of these pieces will come together. I know that in a few years when I have babies that they will def want dolls made by you. Keep going, you are such an inspiration to so many. xx


  • thank you for sharing, elsie. i truly hope you’re able to get your toys to market soon – the world needs them! in the meantime, you’ve been a total inspiration with your creation of red velvet!

  • Elsie, your words (and pictures) are very inspiring. I wish you all the luck in your toy developing endeavors.


  • Thank you so much for sharing your story Elsie! That was really touching!
    I remember your goal from a list that you’ve made and I was wondering what has happened.
    When we’re making plans God is laughing. Things may not turn out as we expect them to be but from every experience we learn something more. I believe strongly that without our mistakes and failures we wouldn’t be who we are.
    I usually say that to my sister who is always so focused on a goal and doesn’t see anything else around her “Sometimes you are so focused on the things that you THINK you want or need and you doesn’t let yourself see the things that you REALLY WANT”. It helps to be flexible and open to new things!
    There is also a saying:
    “When a door closes, a window opens. Sometimes however you keep staring at the closed door for so long that we don’t take notice of the window that has opened for us” 😉
    I think that your “failure” was for the best! Now you’ve found your true love!
    I wish you all the best!

    Hugs & kisses

  • Thank you so much for sharing this honest&beautiful story. I hope we’ll get to see your dolls in stores all over the world eventually. <3

  • Oh yeah that’s right: everybody fails from time to time. I wish you all the best and that someday you will find a company that LOVES to sell your toys. I’m sure they are incredibly cute, as all of your ideas you share on this blog. Thanks for many many smiles and creative ideas I get from your blog, always having a good time here.
    Love, Eva

  • I am personally so grateful for this post.

    I have been working on becoming a freelance writer (http://fmthompson.com) since October last year, while also travelling full time! It’s demanding and exhausting but also an incredible adventure…

    Sometimes other people make it look so easy and this makes you question your own ability and ambition. Yet EVERYONE suffers set backs no matter what stage they are at in chasing their dreams… I applaud your candour, honesty and compassion for your readers who you recognise will need to hear exactly this kind of encouragement!

    Thank you x

  • Thank you for sharing this with us. You’re right that your blog makes us feel like everything you touch is instantly successful. It’s comforting to know you also fail sometimes because it shows that you’re human.

    I feel really inspired by your post and am feeling a surge of determination.

    Also, I am certain your dolls will be picked up when the time is right.

  • Thanks for sharing,
    I recently moved to a different country and continent away from all my friends and family who I use every day for support. Im finding it really hard and dont want to give up because I will feel like a failure but I know that even if I do it will be okay!

  • Elsie, you are an inspiration, thanks so much for sharing. I’m currently trying to get back into creating, after several soul destroying creative let downs – plagurism of my designs, failure to pay from stockists, the list does on. I think I’m almost ready to get back on the horse. xx

  • This is such an important idea to get through. I’ve definitely been struggling with fear of failure that’s kept me from moving forward at times and I have to constantly remind myself not to let it get in the way of my dreams. I guess it’s just hard to accept that something you pour your heart into might not work out, but you still have to do it just for that little chance that it will, because hard work does pay off in the end – one way or another. I’ll be coming back to this post often for inspiration!

    Hope you’re having a great week! 🙂

  • as someone who’s biggest fear is to fail, this is very inspiring! to never give up on what you love, even if it takes some time to get where you want to be 🙂 thank you for sharing this story, and good luck with everything!

    xo, cheyenne

  • all my respect for holding up your head and hopes. and rightfully so! your dress designs are beautiful, you’re very talented. in his last lecture (on fulfilling your childhood dreams -i highly recommend it, i think it’s on youtube), randy pausch said that brickwalls are there to show you how much you really want something. if something is holding you back – are you going to stay away from what you wanted or fight for it? the more you stick to it, the more you fight for it, the more you want it. this experience is therefore bringing you closer to realize what you want in life, right? thank you so much for the post!


  • Great article. It’s good to hear and learn from your personal experience. Life is not always as fun as we would like it to be…

  • What a positive and inspiring story Elsie! It just goes to show that if you have the drive to be creative you will always create! And somewhere along the line you will find ‘IT’! I’m still looking. I hope your dolls will become a reality one day!

  • Thank you so much, Elsie, for sharing this story. It is really encouraging. I would have been devastated, not able to do anything creative for a long time. But you give me hope, that it is possible to bounce back, even after that hard disappointment.
    Thank you! Sabine

    PS: I hope, I can someday give your dolls to my (future) kids 🙂

  • Thank you! Not only for this inspiring post, but for everything else you do! As a high school student, it’s really nice to hear success stories from real people.

  • Thank you for this beautiful and honest post.
    It’s really important to hear about the flip-side of things as it’s all too easy to imagine that you are the only one struggling.
    You and your blog are really inspirational.
    Keep dreaming and I hope your doll project does materialise.
    All the best,

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story, Elsie. It has really encouraged me! I am young and haven’t had many experiences where failure is an option; certainly not on such a grand scale as this. However, there have been times where I have failed at something I desperately wanted to work out. It is discouraging and does not help in the motivation area. But, ultimately, God has a reason for everything. Big or small, failure or success. This I KNOW to be true. There are three Bible verses that apply. They are three (of the many) verses that guide my life.
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
    “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done.”
    -Philippians 4:6

    You are an inspiration to me Elsie. I read your blog every single day and every single day I am moved to do more; to be more creative, to try new things, to be daring, and different. Thank you! You are touching people many people in ways you may not even realize.
    Bunches of love!! xoxo

    <333 marika

  • Thanks so much for sharing this story, Elsie! Such a good reminder to enjoy the process and keep pursuing dreams.

  • Thanks for sharing your story! It means a lot to me when someone shares their story. Especially, the hardships and things they had to overcome. I know how much courage it takes, it is the part a lot of people leave out because they are afraid of being judged. Which is too bad because a lot of times it is the most inspiring part. To overcome difficulties and then find something even more wonderful on the other side is amazing and inspiring!

    Keep it up lady!

    Warm Regards, Bonnie Currie


  • Thank you for sharing this post and this story. It’s something that I fear, failing, I guess it’s something everyone does, and I love your outlook and where it took you and how you found success out of it anyway. I’ll remember this and try to think in this way in the future 🙂

  • PLEASE post more things like this 🙂 It is so brave for you to post this and it has been really great reading how other readers of yours are relating to this post as well.

  • I love this – I find you a real, genuine inspiration Elsie – we don’t work in the same fields but your attitude and energy amaze me – I don’t know how you do it. I’m a writer and studying for my masters degree at the moment as well as working full time – it takes a lot of energy but if you can do it, I can do it.

    It is important, I think, to share falures. Our lives are filled with narratives of triumph from the fairy stories we hear as children to the weight loss stories of ‘The Biggest Loser’, ads for Nike and pepsi, implicit in interviews, and all over blogs – it’s like there is always an upward curve.

    Whilst this is a good thing in many ways, it masks the complicated processes of maturation – of which failure is a key aspect. Because failure is either absent from our culture or only revealed post-humously on a Biography channel special, to the average human being it seems so absolute when we inevitabeley experience it (and we do *all* experience it)especially to young women – whose sense of self seems to be dependent on this constantly upward drive.

    Acknowledging your failure on your blog – and showing how it can be transformative not in a grand narrative way, but in a practical and heartfelt manner is hugely, hugely important to demystifying one of the key falsities of the global, interconnected community – that we are all, somehow, a glowy instagram print of ever increasing success. We aren’t. We’re just people – who fail every day in some way! But there is no need to beat ourselves up about it – trust, have faith, try to learn from it and you’ll wake up tomorrow and get to try it all again.

    Thank you – x

  • Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. Sometimes reading your (and other professional’s) blog makes it seem like either you have it or you don’t–that some folks are just built for success and others aren’t. Thanks for sharing that “failing” and perseverance are part of success. This is one of my favorite posts–motivating and inspiring.

  • What a wonderfully honest post – it’s a great reminder that nobody’s free from disappointments and the successes are the people who don’t let that stop them from trying; it’s something I need to be told over and over again. Thanks for sharing.

  • I absolutely love this post. Your honesty…and the way you write….i love it. Thank you for being such an encouragement. Love you to pieces, sweet girl. XO

  • hi. Thank you for sharing that. We all have our setbacks and need the inspiration to keep going and fighting and trying new things. I’ve had my heart set on one particular nursing school for the past two years. I put so much work into my prep and application…. only to be rejected. I’ll be reapplying next year, but it did give me a wake-up call. I’ve realized that there is so much out there to do and experience. All my schooling has left little time for art. So, even though I’ll be trying again, I am also going to restart my art career… why limit yourself?!

  • Elsie! I am a long time reader but don’t tend to comment much, so, hello! Thankyou so much for sharing this. It couldn’t have been better timed, for me at least 🙂 Am about to attempt something that I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager, and while fear of failure won’t stop me from trying, it does periodically give way to self doubt. Thanks for a timely reminder that it’s the process and the “journey” that holds all the fun and excitement, not the final outcome.

  • Inspiring. Thanks a lot for sharing. I’m currently starting my first small business and hope it goes ok. Now I know that if it doesn’t it’s ok, because I will be able to carry on the way you did. Thanks a lot. Hope you can still give a nice ending to the doll story. <3

  • Elsie, as I finished reading this I’m amazed you’ve managed to jump so much higher in success in a state of humility. That’s the way to do it!! i’m so proud of you and everything you do.

  • i can’t stand the thought of you crying, Elsie. 🙁 i hope that your line gets picked up by another company. I’m sure they are extra special.

  • Great post 🙂 We look at those we deem as successful and assume it was easy. When we face our own road-blocks we sometimes forget that our role models faced the same, and sometimes more difficult, obstacles.

  • I love, love, love your blog Elsie. Thanks for sharing your story. Your blog is one of my most favorites to visit. it is always inspiring and full of amazingness. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Don’t give up, Elsie! I work in product development in big corporate america and it can be cut throat! I have to say, the pick up and drop things for reasons that often don’t even make sense. Keep knocking on doors and the right company for you will pick up your ideas!

  • Thank you for sharing this! So often I read through blogs thinking everything’s so perfect, what’s wrong with me?? Good to know we all have dreams we have to let go of! and also that just because we do, doesn’t mean we lose all of our dreams!

  • I’m in art school and my favorite teacher always reminds us as she is encouraging us to apply for shows/exhibits that Rejection Builds Character.. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Thank you for sharing. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. You are truly inspiring!

  • I take a lot of heart from this story. Learning to fail well (yes, failing can be done well. as you have demonstrated.) is always a struggle. It takes a lot of courage to risk the chance epic failure (or success for that matter.)


  • Elsie, you are such an inspiration. I love that you pour your heart into everything that you do, and I am glad that you can always look on the bright side.


  • I really needed to read this post today. I have admired your blog for over a year now and been very motivated by most of what you do.
    I am however a vocalist in an unsigned metal band and after 10 years of shows, albums, thousands of dollars down the drain, blood, sweat and tears for my craft I have felt recently like I’ve hit a brick wall.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story. I feel very encouraged by it.

    I’ve written a couple of children’s books and attempted many times to get them published. I’ve moved on and am now writing a novel. And while I don’t know that I’ll get it published, I am enjoying the experience.

  • Wow Elsie, that’s quite inspiring! And your dresses are amazing 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing it with us 🙂

  • you never cease to amaze me with the amount of high quality creative work you tackle in any given day. good luck with your toy line in the future; i know if it continues to be a dream of yours, you will make it happen. your blog is truly an inspiration… thank you.

  • Elsie, you are not just creative, you are so productive! How do you do it all? Marriage, the store, your dress designs, art, the blog, etc? I’ve got the creativity part down, it’s the productivity, drive and time and energy management that’s a problem. Please offer any tips you may have!

  • As an avid reader of your blog this post has really hit home to me, and you’re right, with all of your successes it can be easy to forget that you too face hard times. I’ve recently moved from the UK to Dubai and am finding it really difficult to settle, I miss my friends and family terribly and am finding it hard to motivate myself. Your blog post was the kick up the backside I so needed and I feel really inspired to get on with what makes me happy- making, creating and achieving. Thank you for everything you give to us readers, and how hard you, Emma and the Red Velvet team work. Keep up the good work girls!
    Jessica Aldred Embroidery xxx

  • Really inspiring and honest post, Ms. Els. I have been following your blog long enough to know that when the time is right, your dolls will be very successful!!! You always follow your dreams passionately and with full force, and I admire that in you.

  • really great, elsie! thanks so much for sharing. i think a lot of us imagine that everything is perfect for you…but, weird as it may sound, it’s nice to hear that you have struggles, too, because you have such great success! xo sj

  • Elsie, I BELIEVE IN YOU AND YOUR GREAT TALENTS, seriously when I look at the photos you take, the things you craft, the food you make and now the dresses you’ve designed, I clearly see someone very very talented and creative. So DON’T GIVE UP and THANK YOU FOR BEING SO INSPIRING.
    You are one of the first bloggers that changed my life… indeed the second one, AND the first blogger whom I fell in love with, it’s because I was never EVER interested in decorating, diy-ing, crafting, all in all creating a beautiful place you can call home… and I can tell you now that from you i’ve went through other blogs and sites where I’ve developed that interest and spend hours and hours just dropping my jaw when I see your work… and guess what, I have gone from having my clothes in a paper box to looking for second hand beautiful furniture to improve it, paint my walls, decorating, etc and finally start to have and decorate and cheer my own space. I BELIEVE you will have success in whatever you do. SO DONT GIVE UP.

  • ohhhh i hope your doll dream comes true someday – my niece is 18 months and i would love to give her dolls you’ve designed!!

  • I bet you those toys were amazing! Such a great story and thank you for sharing it with us, it’s so nice to know how grounded you are. you’re such an inspiration to people, even if this didn’t go quite as planned. Who knows what will come next? Maybe it will be picked up sometime in the future!

  • a wonderfully inspiring story, thanks for sharing Elsie. Such wise words, rejection is often just part of chasing your dreams.

  • Oh Elsie! Thank you so much for sharing this post!
    it’s a nice reminder that you just have to keep moving and growing from the experiences
    so glad it meant your side project took off like it did though! Your dress collections have been stunning!
    well done & thanks again
    <3 Cheray xxx

  • Elsie thank you so much. I’ve been following you here and on Instagram for a while now – but this is the first time I’ve commented. I’ve always admired how ‘upbeat’ and positive you are, but I really appreciate this post. I’d love to see your dolls in stores too 🙂


  • Amazing vintage-inspired dresses, Elsie. So happy that good came out of your “failure” (God’s timing isn’t always our own…). I have my degree in fashion design and have NEVER used it (as a career), sadly. I just happened upon your blog today and have found it extremely inspiring! Thanks!

  • Very inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. I am glad I saw this. I graduate Sunday with my MBA and have been looking for a new job for months. I get calls back but only to hear sorry the position is filled of you don’t have enough experience. I know my worth and that I would be a great asset to any company. I just continue to work harder and I know my time will come. Have even put in thought of starting my own business. Stories like this add to my motivation. Thanks again

  • Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s encouraging to see that we all face rejection and have an opportunity to bounce back from it in new and expected ways!

  • You did NOT fail. Fail is such a negative word. You poured your heart and soul into that project and just because it didn’t get picked up by some corporation who is only in it for the money, does not mean you failed.

    I can assure you that the people they DID pick up do not have the passion, drive, creativity, and inspiration that you have. You’re more than a contract.

    I hope that the people who read this blog do not believe that success is measured by how many competitions you win, or medals you get, or whether Big Brother will pick you up for their next line of corporate-hog funding. “Winning” doesn’t define success.

    Like you said, you learned more from the experience that you gained in the process, and that in itself is more success than many other people in the world will ever get a taste of.

    “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

  • wow! your blog has inspired me in so many ways! i really can’t explain it. i’m still in college and i’m in an experimental mode trying to create a bunch of toys and dolls I want to sell. it’s really funny and kinda cool how you’ve been designing dolls! i guess you really do inspire me even in topics/things I had no idea you were interested in. I will definitely buy your dolls in the future when they get produced :] i’m sure it’ll happen someday! cannot wait for that day :]



  • I wish I lived somewhere near your town so I could bump into you and talk to you about the history of fashion dolls! but I live in the Philippines and research will have to do. :] thanks for sharing your story! i just joined a bazaar and it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped but this really encouraged me! I think you’ll be able to tell since this is the second comment I left on this post, haha! :]


  • I play OW first because i like to make new fendirs.I mean fendirship is cool and if u are upset a friend will be always there to help you. Second because i like to give gifts and receive gifts , when i give gifts i like to see that girl/boy happy.When i don’t know what to play i play OW. I play OW because there are funny people too. AND I LAUGH XDHope you like my comment and how i was saying please contact me if u want news,cheats, and/or secrets.

  • i love ourworld foxy zoe u look sooo cool and i wish i was like u i have a aocucnt 2 if u ever get 2 add me plz do my ourworld aocucnt name is Mariannm23 im gonna change it soon maybe byezz see u on ourworld

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  • Aaw…I love that you’re sharing this story! This stuff definitely happens to all of us, and I wish we all shared it more so we could feel a lil bit more human in blogland, from time to time. 😉 I’m super-happy that it turned in a positive direction for you, and I hope it still does work out for you someday! I’m sure the dolls were soooo super-cute!

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