Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Winners!!!!!

Okay, so I had TONS of REALLY good submissions, and I could tell that people took time, thought about them, and really put some  love into this contest. Everyone in my company put them to a vote, narrowed them down, discussed WHY we thought they would be good, and then finally chose 2, and that was ridiculously hard!!! The one above by Melissa Nguyen is the first winner. WE LOVE this one because it has the look and feel of a vintage girl scout badge! I love that it has the stitching, and I ADORE the fact that Melissa put the pirate AND the fox on there. True symbols of the proud heritage of my company!!
The next one is FREAKING FANTASTIC as well! This is by Patricia Sipes, and the detail, attention, and LOVE she put into this is just incredible! It's so splendid that she included pirates, steampunk and fairies! I love the curvy, different sized gals, and I freaking love their accessories! These girls are adorable, and I want to party with them.

One last note here. When I announced this contest, I had a comment on my blog that was putting me down for trying to get free labor and not have to do any work myself. Sometimes people make comments just because they're in a bad mood....sometimes people just don't have enough information to make an informed decision, and I'll even credit lots of people with just trying to keep me from getting into any kind of trouble.  I know that we live in this "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion" type of world where we don't have any recourse for the kinds of things we say in thoughtless emotional moments online.  Because of this, here's MY opinion.

Ahem. (Not meant to be passive aggressive. Just good clean pride in the company.) This is ANYTHING but free labor! I stated the rules of the contest plainly, and just like with any other contest, you essentially enter at your own risk. The prize was a $350 gift certificate to artfire.  Guess what? I'm giving TWO of them away. Count it. That's $700.

Last of all, I realized something awful. I have spent the WHOLE DAMN DAY feeling really stupid about myself because I hadn't foreseen the problems and issues that people might have with my "crowd source" contest. I was really embarassed that things had to be pointed out to me online in a public forum, making me look like an insensitive a-hole.  I understood why people did it, but that didn't make me feel better about what an absolute idiot I can be.  I just wish that I was able to see possible issues staring  me in the face, and then I could shut down every single contest I've ever done along with every one that I plan on doing for the rest of my life.  I was super discouraged and my sewing was lousy, with my brain repeating the negative things over and over and over and over again.

 Then I realized something.....this contest was NOT TO MAKE ME ANY MONEY!!!  I was doing this DANG contest so that we could pay SEVERAL HUNDRED dollars of my own money to order a big pile of stickers to GIVE OUT FOR FREE IN PACKAGES AND AT FESTIVALS!!  I'm  not using the logos for business cards, my website, or bags.  Just dang cute free stickers....  This all came from a COMPLETELY pure place of love and actual palpable appreciation for my customers! I've been brainstorming  ideas for what to include in our packages when we send them out, and I had set aside a couple THOUSAND dollars for the purpose of getting fun things printed, making fan merchandise, and giving it out for free. I was truly excited, figuring out ideas and  methods that we could use to help people to feel a part of our community and good clean, loyalty to the company. I love getting freebies, and I thought extra swag would be amazing to give away.

 I WILL NOT apologize for trying to make my company better!    I liked so many of the stickers that I'm keeping a file in my inbox where I keep the names of lots of the people so that I might contact them for future work. Just because they didn't win THIS time around for THIS contest doesn't mean that I wouldn't want them to do web design, business card stuff, or magazine layout for me.   How in the HECK is this "crowd sourcing" bad?   I know that lots of people don't agree with it, and I understand very well how it might look like a company being cheap and dishonest, but now that I've fully explained myself, I hope that I've made it VERY clear that I'm an INTELLIGENT, THOUGHTFUL, INVENTIVE, CREATIVE, COMPASSIONATE WOMAN, DAMMIT! I don't care who knows it!  I don't feel bad about myself any more! Heck, to think  it only took 15 hours to come to this conclusion!

26 comments:

  1. First I hate negitive but... Don't don't don't put yourself down. You have made a huge differance in about a milion peoples lives. Its not only your direct customer and their families but everyone they come in contact with when they are feeling awsom about them selves for 1, 1 hear it michele!! 1 reason YOU!! You have support staff and a wonderful family backing you but with out YOU NONE OF THIS WOULD MATTER! Know we all love you and most will never get the pleasure of even seeing your beadstick! With out you what would I do to wake myself up but to say I wonder if michele posted yet?? I feel like a damsel stalker.. keep it up your doing perfect!
    Melanie

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    1. Oh ya if I ever win the lotto I'm going to try to commision you for my stylist! I will wear them once and have contest giveaways and delete the naysayers! Y that's what id do! Got to pick. Ticket up today..
      Melanie

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  2. 1 more thought.. so when the local fire department ask kids come up with a fire safety poster is that child labor?

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  3. I love the stickers! And the fun idea to include them in packaging. <3 you are awesome stuff

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  4. I totally relate... I recently did a contest to win a 16x20 print with my photography and had someone rip me apart about it, and I felt like crap for a long time. All I was doing was showing appreciation for my customers and fans and giving something away out of my own pocket, and I ended up feeling like a schmuck. Why do we beat ourselves up so? :) I think you're amazing. Keep up the good work, and we'll both try to keep the naysayers out of our heads. ;)

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  5. Michelle, I posted my comment to you in a message on Facebook...I wanted to make sure it got to YOU first and that I had enough room to say what I needed to say. I hope you have a wonderful blessed day! :D and Great Job!

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  6. I know your instinct is to address angry comments like that, but sometimes it is just better to delete the comment and ignore them. I know it's hard, but a lot of the time people just want attention. If you know you're in the right (and it's obvious you were), you shouldn't have to defend yourself publicly every time you get an angry person that comes along.

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    1. I totally agree with this. Some people out there just love to stir up trouble. Don't think on them for a second. They don't deserve a second of thought from someone as wonderful as you Michelle.. We LOVE you!

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    2. Yep! And if people *expect* you to make a public statement every time a negative comment comes along, you're going to get way more of them! People who stir up trouble like reactions. Don't give in to them!

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  7. Don't feel about about the contest, there are people out there who use http://99designs.com/. That is the worst crowd-sourcing website there is for an artist.

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    1. Caitlin, really good to know. I checked that one out and it looked so bland that I figured I would do it this way. ;)

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  8. Michelle, your crowd sourcing is a COMPLETELY legitimate way to get work done.

    Take for instance the site 99 designs. That's all they do is put designers and buyers in the same space. Friend needed a logo, went there, posted her specs, and the $200 to the design chosen. She got TWO HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT submissions! They all knew only one would be picked, but they did the work anyway.

    Here's why:
    We're creatives (so are you, so you know this) we have to flex that creative muscle all the time to keep our skills sharp, to try new techniques, to see other designers work, to find out what the trends are, to see what our competition is doing, to get new ideas...the list goes on.

    When you go to an agency to get work done, the designers on the team do the same thing, they all go off and do a comparable, so the client gets some choices to work from (or all the comps could be from one person, that's a lot of work!)THe client picks one, or cannibalizes several to make what they want, and off they go with their one design that maybe a whole team worked on.

    Now, those agencies are fewer and further between than they were before 2008-2009, but there are still a bajillion talented creatives out there, many of them freelancing. We do what we do to stay in the game, and if one of our designs gets picked for something, we dance a jig, but no one forces us to do crowd sourced jobs.

    By offering that option to your own customers, you get people who are as passionate about what you do as you are, and who feel that a certificate for $350 of your stuff is MORE than fair payment. I think you did a great thing, and offer my sincerest congrats to the winners. One of whom is YOU =)

    You rock Michelle, and don't let the whack jobs get you down.

    Philina

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  9. I really really REALLY want the top sticker as a patch. On a corset. This is awesome and fantastic work. The negativity of others doesn't even deserve aknowledgement. :D You rock Michelle!

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  10. Oh Michelle!!! I say Poop on the naysayers!!!
    It is a rare and wonderful thing when you can own an item, have met the person who sewed that item, know more about the company than the company for any other item in your home, and actually start to feel like you have some sort of input in this company and its beautiful products.
    That you put yourself out there, allow others to give you their input, is a risk. For the vast majority of your customer/followers, you are in safe hands---we love you!!! There is a very small percentage of people who do nothing but complain. My opinion---they are usually jealous of someone's success.
    All of that said----those designs are AMAZING!!!!! I agree with the above---that top one I want sewn onto a corset!! I'd wear it on a pirate hat, a leather steampunk jacket---jeez, I'd like a dozen to strategically place on tons of stuff!!!! And the second one, also perfect in a whole other way. I too love the diversity in it. You make those in car magnets or bumper stickers and I will proudly advertise everywhere I go!!!

    ahem... you will have these at the Portland, OR Pirate Festival this year, right???

    Much love Michelle---We really do appreciate that you allow us to be a tiny part of your journey.

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  11. Oh, and BTW... Nike paid a student 50 bucks in a contest for their logo... ya know, the Swoosh. And look at all the millions they make on that!

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  12. Excellent point, Denys. Also, Twitter paid like, $30 for that bird! Don't fret Michelle. I wouldn't be giving you lots of my $ if you were a shady lady!

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  13. Michelle, you didn't do anything wrong. You're always going to have someone throwing a critical bone at you. Just bury the damn thing, it doesn't mean anything. You PAID to have this done, and that's all there is to it! By the way, the designs you picked are awesome. ;-)

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  14. I love doing these contests, even if I don't win they are still super fun. I know people give you a lot of trouble, especially when they are bitter or upset, but I hope you do more of these in the future!

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  15. I hate the people who throw sour grapes all over a contest that they aren't going to win. They are TRYING to ruin it for everyone. I've seen it happen too many times. Don't let them ruin your wonderful impulses to give your customers the best experience possible. These are the same people who whine and blame you for their inability to get a grab bag or rare item. Pay them no mind, you are a pinnacle of awesomeness :)

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  16. Both of those designs are so great (and different) - nice work, ladies! And Michelle, you are incredibly generous and awesome so chin up, girl!

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  17. Michelle, none of these ladies were REQUIRED to help you come up with a logo and in fact, many of them would have done it for FREE!!!. They chose to create designs inspired by their love of your work, designs that would hopefully help to spread the message of how much YOUR CUSTOMERS love you.

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  18. You know what? A contest is a fucking contest. You enter at your own damn risk, you enter knowing the stakes, you enter because you think you can win the prize.

    Another thing? The women who made those stickers have obviously captured what you love about your company because they have paid attention to your blogs, facebook posts, etc. and they CARE about you and your company. I am so happy every time you talk about something that got you down and you pulled through it. You should write something along the lines of "YOU are doing a GOOD THING!" and tape it up EVERYWHERE so you can never forgot!

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  19. Get 'em girl!!! They are just jealous that they didn't have the talent to enter the contest! You do what you need to do to make your business better!

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