Last May I was at the 20th edition of the trade show Design District Rotterdam, The Netherlands. More than 10,000 m² filled with presentations of 200 interior brands. Great to get inspired. Great to network with suppliers, to see and touch the new collections in real life. All very nice, but what always really warms me are the exhibitions of design academies and young designers.
In the long light-flooded corridor, between Halls no 1 and 2, a number of students proudly but modestly waited with their work to be able to tell more about their passionately created designs. I saw a wonderful combination of technology and nostalgia. New crafts that tasted like more!
My eye fell on a number of bowls with the sign:
PLEASE DO TOUCH
My first reaction: Really? Can I touch this? Grab it?
Because I was so surprised, I asked to be sure if it was really allowed. "Sure!" she said. To which my response was something like:
“Wow, it not only looks fantastic, but this also feels very good!”
What I am about to tell you can best be explained with the email I sent to Michelle Chong, the designer and maker of this beautiful pottery. This is my advice to her that I would like to pass on to all creative designers and makers.
Are you a perfectionist? An eternal researcher? Is a design or a product never really finished for you?
My e-mail to her:
I'm back in my own design studio! Nice meeting you at Design District. Congratulations again for your beautiful work. Very cool how you combine the softness of ceramics with laser techniques. I really want to give you something else... unsolicited advice ;) (sorry I can never resist, but know that I have the best intentions).
Enjoy the wonderful creative freedom and time you have during your studies to experiment and discover, to push the boundaries and see what impact you would like to make with your designs. And keep this feeling and this curiosity, even after your education, because in my opinion this is one of the best qualities of a good designer. Keep challenging yourself to keep growing. Very satisfying I can tell you.
I already said it... with my international coaching programs I hear the same thing over and over... "First I want to investigate this, improve it, make it even more beautiful, expand the collection, research it further... and THEN...! (Red: only then I take action. Want to know more about killing the disadvantages of perfectionism, click here and reach out to me.).
But ask yourself... when would 'NOW' be the right time?
What if it's just FINISHED? Done? Do you dare to trust that?
Your product is finished. It works, it's even dishwasher proof. You can produce it yourself. It looks fantastic. It feels nice... Don't deprive others of the pleasure of enjoying your products - through your perfectionism. By the way, you are not alone, this is what we, creative people, all suffer from.
My advice: Start selling. Start doing business. See people enjoying your designs. Create the (financial) freedom for yourself, to be able to continue doing, or start doing, what you love to do.
I really wanted to share this with you. Because this is one of the biggest motivations why we founded the Institute of Interior Impact. Too much creative talent is lost because they stop just before the end. At that last 10%, maybe even the last 5%. Good is good.
When can I order from you?
Hope you can appreciate my message. Have fun at the fair and with your design adventures.
And she wrote back to me:
Thanks for your email! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and advice with me. It really pleases me to hear that you are happy with my work and that you believe that my product is already finished.
I completely agree with you that experimenting and continuing to grow are important in the world of design. I will certainly continue to experiment and explore new possibilities to improve and further develop my designs.
At the same time, I was able to think carefully after our conversation and I think you were right, my product is already at a point that I can be proud of.
I will continue to experiment and learn, but I am also ready to present my product and take the next step.
I will offer my designs and start a business as you suggested.
Thanks for your encouraging words and advice! It means a lot to me.
I hope we can discuss what you want to order from me soon.
Isn't that great?!
So, dear designer, what does this mean for you?
Do you also happen to have something on the shelf or in such an advanced stage that it is actually ready to be offered? Then go for it!
Start before you 'feel' ready!