Monday, September 29, 2014

The Rest of the Story...

"Did you notice that the furniture was teak?"  I said to Jenny, as I took a taste from my bowl of matzo-ball soup - my second serving at a diner in Connecticut, two hours north of New York City.  "I bet a return call is as rare as that vintage Wedgwood console set we saw in the waiting room," I added. I wasn't happy, and a double dose of my favorite diner soup wasn't helping in the slightest. We'd spent little time talking to each other in the car as we made our way home on a very cold, late January day. I think we both felt our meeting fell flat and while we had prepared well and created a beautiful, multi-paged full color document, there had been very little interest from our audience in what we were selling.

"What is this styling fee about?"the designer asked, glaring at me from across the teak meeting-room table.  "I hate stylists!" he exclaimed.  "If anyone is doing 'the styling,' it is me."

  I didn't flinch. I wasn't expecting that kind of exclamation, but inside I felt instantly doll-sized within the "well-tailored" slip-covered, linen chair.  "I always charge that," I said quietly, and with a nervous giggle and smirk. "I do both as part of my service." I began to shift in my chair, squaring my shoulders and sitting up straight to muster a bit of control over the energy in the room. "I feel there was little, if any, styling to be done in the house; I think I had accomplished that prior to your visit", asserted the designer (insert long
awkward pause). "But we have your check for you. I think it has already
been mailed out."

"Hmmm, what to do?" I thought.  "Okay," I think I stuttered, not having anything more to really add.  Simultaneously,  two office associates entered to discuss the social media portion of our business. Jenny looked at the designer as they were being seated and wisely asked, "How are your dogs doing?" 
He recounted a late-night story about doggy incontinence and we all laughed.  Thank God for my wing-(wo)man to bring the room back around.

He nervously leafed through our binder bound proposal. I attempted to narrate word for word and tried to make some strong points. We were offering a "turn-key" social media campaign to work seamlessly with the company. Creating images and content directly related to the brand that would be written and posted over all platforms of this design firm. We would work quietly on the perimeter, using his homes and showrooms to create and deliver all the content. But his earlier declaration of the "styling" point really undermined my hope to "simply and concisely" work independently on this work. Sadly, this designer didn't really know me at all, my history of work, or what I was truly able to deliver. He saw me as a photographer only, which really dismantled the heart of everything I was offering. Ironically, I usually can't sell anyone on my photography skills. In this case, however, he loved my photography of his home and felt that many of the photos we showed of his work were the best. The "social media" associates didn't really help my case. No real smiles, or interest or engagement with me. They were totally happy to simply use random shots for Instagram, and weren't all that upfront about the past degree of "social media" posting that  was really going on. I had better facts about the firm's online presence, but of course they made it all sound better than it really was and weren't really upfront about where it was lacking. In short, besides Jenny, I had no fans in the room. 
Bottom line?   It was a no. No real need for the service I was proposing, and no desire to spend money on creating it. I greatly wished we'd had an in-depth phone conference way before this: before the cancelled hotel room and the white-knuckled ride on the Cross Bronx express-way, I thought.

There we sat. Crest-fallen, I would say. We continued to exchange pleasantries and discussed a second meeting, but our sunken hearts knew the cold reality - as cold as the windchill that awaited us back in New Hampshire. With nothing on the calendar, and our eggs all in this one broken basket, we turned to desperate sounding knee-to-knee pleas with the universe. 

Until ten days later when a fresh possibility with a major American brand presented itself to us and you won't believe how we navigated that!

Three things about the design firm's office that intrigued me:

Books (mostly old) were central backgrounds for all of the rooms. The sheer amount of these beautiful leather-bound volumes took a central focus to my impression of the space.

* Design items, art, antiques reminded me of the VOGUE closet on Sex and the City - a place where the best and most classic design elements were compiled to dress the best interior spaces at a moment's notice.

* The color palette was neutral with a grounding, natural coir carpet throughout.


  1. Thank you for ending on a positive, exciting note, because I was getting pretty mad, there!

  2. I thought that you said the rest of the story! This has become my nightly reading!!! Loving following this Matthew!

  3. Can't sell them on your photography??? It's wonderful!
    What a bizarre experience, Matthew.
    I must say that they missed out on your brilliance and I'm happy that
    you and Jenny had a new door open. Can't wait to hear about it.

  4. You didn't loose. They did. Tbey will look back someday and feel the pain. Good for you having the chance to move forward.

  5. Ohmygoodness!!! I'm ready to hop on a plane to defend you right now!!! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. But I truly believe everything happens for a reason and that something so, SO much better is coming your way Matthew! Keep us have an army of fans you know ;)

  6. Wow! It's clearly their loss, in my opinion! And diddo what Dawn (The Feathered Nest) said - Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Looking forward to your next post...

  7. Matthew and Jennifer...Those snobs lost 2 of the most creative and talented people...and something far more wonderful is waiting for the 2 of you...looking back on this months from will be grateful that you didn't get this job...they would of been horrible to work with!!!

    Love you both

  8. I love reading these and always anxiously await the next installment! Doesn't come soon enough for me! :)

  9. I loved this one. Thanks for ending in a positive manner.


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