I just realized something, I have been blaming myself and turning my anger about the shitty economy inward. In the last two years or so since countless jobs have been lost and wallets have gotten beyond tight and open only for necessities, I’ve allowed this all to take a toll on my ego. Etsy and private sales and wholesale accounts, which were my all-consuming sole source of income just two years ago when I had a magnificent studio overlooking the ocean in Red Hook, Brooklyn, have become a distant drone of crickets in the present. Although I have branched out and focused my energies on acting as well in those two years, I also can’t help but point out that even a year ago, my studio was my constant companion. While watching an interview on CNN about Occupy Wall Street, it dawned on me, I have been covertly hating and blaming myself for my decline in sales. As an artist and fashion designer, when you sell your creations, you get a great sense of pride and self-worth from these sales. In the last six years, I identified myself as a fashion designer and my clothing and accessories were my prides and joys. They defined my income, brought me praise and appreciation and named who I was in the grand scheme of life.
Just like any job (in a good economy), there is a direct connection between profitability (in m case enough to pay bills) and ego. When that profit or sales is slight, the ego suffers. I seriously have been beating myself up over the last year thinking no one likes my designs anymore or enough to buy them, yet when I look at the state of the economy, the trillion more sellers who now inundate Etsy’s pages/blogosphere, AND the number of people who call my designs favorites or the inquiries I get, I find that that’s just not true. I swear, I just put two and two together. I know that there are some other factors in here and I should spruce up my shop, but I hope that I can breathe a little easier today knowing that it isn’t me, we need to keep on trucking, supporting Occupy Wall Street, small businesses, independent designers, and each other.
Now is a good incubation period for my design ideas and I have been dreaming up a whole bunch of houseware ideas (my first love, decorating, has been calling out to me lately). Thankfully I have been able to do a bunch of acting, freelance sewing gigs and restaurant work in the last year to supplement the gabillion dollars it takes to live in NYC.
I hope that things improve soon, but if they don’t, at least I know it’s not me. It’s also not my friend R, who can’t find paid work, K, who is a brilliant geographer, but is working at a shop and who hasn’t even been getting rejection letters from potential employers, businesses that have been shuttered, nor is it any of us who are not on Wall Street or any place near it.