Lately, I’ve been enjoying sharing the vulnerable side of my artistic career. And today, I want to share my biggest Islamic geometric patterns designer mistake.
When I say “mistake”, I am not talking about the wrong line or the wrong radius in pattern construction. I am talking about lost collaborations and failed partnerships.
And this is for all the artists that look at my collaborations (or other artists’ profiles) and think that we have everything figured out. Well, guess what? We don’t.
Your mistakes and failures are the beginning of something new. New consciousness and knowledge. So acknowledge yourself for being still here and tackling self-doubt.
Related content: if you want to see more of my epic fails check this video.
Indeed, I have some homework for you.
Grab your diary, a notebook or a piece of scrap paper and write down all your failure and BIG mistakes that you have done, and write next to it at least one thing (if not more) you have learnt from that. It doesn’t have to be related to art. It could be anything. C’mon, don’t be lazy and do it. I promise it will set you free.
So here is mine.
MY BIGGEST ISLAMIC GEOMETRIC PATTERNS DESIGNER MISTAKE
In 2018 I got contacted by a company that wanted to collaborate with me for a design they wanted to use on their new SPA products.
It was one of the first times a company contacted me, and I was sooooo excited.
First, they emailed me, of course explaining what their needs were and stuff, and I replied with a bunch of questions. And the person I was talking to offered to do a phone call to discuss the details better.
At that moment, I wanted to disappear haha.
My English was nowhere as good as now. I had never spoken English with someone who I didn’t know before, EVER. So that alone was very uncomfortable for me.
He called me, and he was very nice and calm. I tried my best to sound as professional as possible, but at some point, he said: “What would be your best price for this collaboration?”.
Ehmmmmmmm… I didn’t even know how to price my artwork properly. It could be anything from 1€ to 10.000€ HA!
Btw, now I know how to price my work and you can download my FREE cheatsheet here.
So I said “2.000€” and he kept talking saying: “This is out of our budget. You know there is another artist we are speaking with, and they are giving us a better price. Is this your best offer?”.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s when everything broke into pieces.
Looking at it now, I had many options like:
- Asking for their budget. There is no shame in asking about that. Indeed it helps you tailor your offer to their needs
- Ask for some time to think about it and see where I can cut my costs
- Stay true to my offer and highlight the benefits of working with me.
Instead, I just replied: “Sure, I can do it for 1000€”
Like, what the hell? Half the price in 2 seconds? Really Sandy?
Guess what. I didn’t get the job.
I mean, I will never know the truth and why I got refused, but sincerely speaking, if I was that person, I would have felt mocked and would have had considerations about the seriousness and reliability of the artist.
WHAT I’VE LEARNT FROM IT
Anyway, the time has passed. I have released my shame and blame, and here is what I have learnt from my biggest Islamic geometric patterns designer mistake:
- There is no shame in asking for the budget and taking the time to set the price. Indeed, it makes you more professional because it means that you know what you are talking about.
- Never underprice your work. Rather, give a small discount (if you want to), but what works better is to highlight why they should collaborate with you. Maybe you are very fast in submitting the work or maybe, you are famous for being very easygoing and making the collaborations stress-free. You can also send them your references if you have some.
- Don’t do this kind of thing on the phone. Especially if English is not your first language. I mean, it’s great to do it, but always make sure to send the final offer by email or any other written form that works for you, stating exactly all the conditions agreed and the price.
- Stop blaming yourself. It was just not meant to be. Period. Move on and treasure the things you have learnt along the way.
Wow, can you see it? From one mistake I have learnt four valuable lessons that I wouldn’t have learnt any other way, or worse than that, I would have learnt them the hard way.
I hope this blog post has made you feel less alone. And if you want to contribute to making someone else less alone, share your story in the comments below.
Islamic geometric patterns: My biggest mistake as a designer
June 19, 2023