One of the intensely hard parts of being a maker is dealing with rejection. This can be little things, like people saying your artwork is too expensive, or bigger things like not getting into a craft fair. For me, my art is a reflection of myself and I pour my heart and soul into each piece I create. So being rejected by buyers, craft fairs, or wholesalers feels personal and painful.
I was recently rejected by two craft fairs on the same day. It totally sucked. While I've been rejected from other fairs before, two in the same day was hard to take. I questioned my artwork, whether I was applying to the right shows, if I had a strong application, whether I was making quality work— basically everything. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry.
But after a lot of thought, positive self talk, and the amazing support of my friends and family, I realized rejection is okay, and here's why:
It's not a reflection on you
Yes, rejection is hard to take, but it's not a reflection on you or your art. It could be that while you thought your work was a good fit for that market, the curators didn't, your pricing wasn't in the range they were looking for, they had too many artists in a similar field, or basically a zillion other things. You don't need to be perfect for every show or buyer out there. The right ones will work out.
Things take time
We're not always an instant success, not matter how much we'd like to be. Just like learning your craft, putting yourself out there at events to find the right customers takes time. Be proud of your work and stay positive. The famous French impressionist Claude Monet dealt with rejection his entire career and now we view him as the founder of French Impressionism. I'm not saying you need to wait til you're dead for your artwork to be appreciated (because that would suck), but it might take time to find the right fit or buyer.
Strive to be better For me, rejection helps me strive to be even better. Better at taking quality photos, better at putting together a cohesive and concise application, better at making the best art I can. Yes, it sucks to spend time researching the right events and creating the best application you can only to be rejected, but know that this is only a set back and there will be other opportunities to showcase your artwork.
Don't take it personally
Yes, rejection can feel personal because it feels like they don't want you. But most likely the people reviewing your application or seeing your artwork online aren't looking into the person who made it or the story behind each piece, they're thinking about the price point, whether that art would fit with others they've already curated, and tons of other factors that have nothing to do with your personally. Remember you and your artwork are amazing. They might not see it, but the right people will, it'll just take time.
Don't let self-doubt or negative talk stop you from being the amazing artist you art. You and your work are the best! When you have a positive out look, more opportunities will come your way and it's easier to find the silver lining around the dark clouds. When I was rejected by those two markets, I took it as a sign that they weren't meant to be and that the future had something better in store for me. I just need to keep working and being the best I can be and good things will happen.