There have been many times throughout this whole card making startup that I've lost hope. Not the desperate kind of loss where I felt a complete lack of faith, but the simple kind of loss where you wind up walking down the street kicking rocks with your head hanging low.
I suppose I thought I had finally found a knack or a niche or at least a really cool hobby. In my naive mind I figured people would flock to my unkept blog to buy my prints and greeting cards. New Seasons just had to be impressed with my stick figures and certainly I could at least win one of those tacky Hallmark.com contests. Clearly, I was going to excel in small business and have some type of feature in Real Simple magazine. I can visualize it now: "Summer Gift Guide: Picks Under $15" And there my designs would be, Jarfly cards all lined up and photographed in that manicured clean fashion that makes you feel peaceful inside.
Alas, that never happened. In fact, after a series of embarrassing rejections and failed ideas most of my inventory is sitting in a box underneath my bed (next to all my old Real Simple magazines).
Yes, so far it's been a wash. My friends and family have enjoyed my quirky drawings. I've designed a few baby and bridal shower invitations...but beyond that it's been a bit bleak. Most of the time, I feel okay with this. I would never call myself a person with killer instinct or consistent drive and so...I just gave up for awhile. Or retired rather. That sounds much better.
However today something terribly wonderful happened. I played scrabble with an 8 year boy named Pete.
After finishing up the game, I decided to go in the kitchen and tidy up a bit. I'd been babysitting all week for a family I know while their Mom was out of town for a short while. Pete has 2 brothers and an older sister. They were all watching a movie and Pete and I were just sort of meandering around the kitchen you could say.
I pulled out one of my cards from my big red backpack (as a welcome home gift for their mom). Pete saw the card and said,
"That's so cool!"
"Thanks, I actually made it," I answered.
"No way." Said Pete.
"Ya, I totally did. I make cards." I said, repeating myself.
"No way, you're messing with me." Said Pete, more serious than before.
"I'm serious dude, I made this card. I have a website and everything..." I said, also more seriously.
(long silent pause)
"So.......can I see it?" Asked Pete.
"Um, YA!" I said, more excited than I'd like to admit.
So Pete and I signed online to check out my dated, rough website (jarflydesigns.com)
When he saw the jarfly logo pop up, his eyes got big (as if something had clicked in his head)
"Oh you copied the picture from that famous company!" exclaimed Pete.
"Nah man I drew that myself." I said.
"No you had to have copied it, my mom uses cards from that big company with the jar thing all the time!" Pete assured me.
I then realized that months ago I had given his mom a set of my cards as a gift, and that he must have seen her using them.
"Hey Pete guess what...those cards you saw, I actually made those and gave some to your mom, so that's why she was using them." I answered, smirking.
(long silent pause)
"WOW! that is just so cool! Weird I never knew you made them." He said with an extremely thoughtful look on his face.
Forget Real Simple magazine or the local, green and sustainable gift section of New Seasons. In that moment I really felt like my cards were from a cool big company. And it was nice to know I had a fan, if even just one.