I was rattling around about what to write and I thought about being kind to each other, and all the people who have helped me in big and little ways. We could all use a little positive reinforcement these days.
When I was in graduate school there was a very popular life drawing class in the art department, a class where you paint or draw from a live model. You could take it twice for credit. After that you could come to the class as long as there was room.
The professor was an extraordinary person, and a fairly well known local artist. I'm not using his real name because I don't have permission. I'll call him “Bill”. You could draw, paint, sculpt, or interpret the figure however you wanted. You just needed to be creative. The class was 3 hours long, and for an hour Bill walked around and told a story that usually related to current events. The stories were always thought-provoking, filled with positive reinforcement, and advice. He knew just what we needed to hear on that particular day. He was always available to his students beyond class and office time. Bill got me through the last 2 semesters of graduate school...and I don't think I was the only one.
Way back in the early 90's Very Eclectic Clothing was just getting started. I was planning to do my first big New York wholesale show. It was expensive, $1500. I paid a deposit months in advance. When the time came to pay the balance I didn't have it. Something happened to the money and I can't remember what. The show promoters wouldn't let me out of the contract or refund my deposit. Standard practice. A customer and dear friend, I'll call “Rita”, heard of my dilemma and offered to loan me the money. She wouldn't take no for an answer. We made a contract, and I paid her back within the year. Rita continued to be one of my best customers for many years.
The New York show was a flop, and I didn't make a cent. I just didn't know how to put together a cohesive collection. A few generous buyers (wholesale customers) explained what I was doing wrong, and what my strengths and weakness were. Eventually they became my buyers. Within a few years I was selling wholesale across the country. Even in the worst of times there are fairy godmothers among us.
A friend of mine, a fellow artist was talking about what would happen if she, (or I ) got sick or hurt at a show, or the car broke down. We both do shows alone. I told her not to worry because someone will always help you. I know, because all those things have happened to me, and there was always someone there to help. Craftspeople and their customers tend to be extremely generous people.
Once, at an extremely busy show my credit card reader stopped working. I couldn't call tech support because my ancient cell phone wasn't working either. A couple of long-time customers/friends appeared. One of them attended to the crowd in my booth while the other got tech support on the phone. Catastrophe averted, and I didn't miss a single sale. Thank you ladies!
It takes very little time or energy to help someone. We should all be mindful of those around us...from a distance of course. Even a smile goes a long way.
April 1, 2020