1 December 2011 – Disappointment and windfall


Last Sunday was the opening of the Jan van der Ploeg exhibition. It may very well have be our best exhibition yet. More than 4,500 invitations were e-mailed, yet fewer than 50 people showed up. Luckily, we always have our family and friends to fall back on, but, still, the low turnout was a disappointment.

We experienced a similar disappointment back in 2006, when we released our book. We thought that, if we put together a book and average around 500 unique visitors to our website every day, we should be able to sell at least one book to one of those visitors each day. After all, each of those visitors is interested in what we do in one way or another. Nothing could’ve been further from reality; our record was one book per week.

But I’m not sure yet whether I find this truly disastrous since, after all, the people who did attend the opening were especially interested in the work, and could take their time admiring Jan van der Ploeg’s ‘wonder wall’. Besides, until now, only one marketing principle has proven to actually work for us, and that is word-of-mouth advertising. We hope that those who did visit us will tell everyone they know that they saw and experienced something very unique.

Fortunately, we have a number of Sunday and evening openings coming up to tackle the huge rush we expect (if we continue the same line of reasoning). Or do more disappointments await us?

Like Don Quichote, we feel we must follow our heart and dreams, and this occasionally results in disappointment – but also often in a stroke of good fortune. This is important to remember because, should our work turn out to be unsuccessful, we will at least have had a lot of fun. As rational as this may sound, the opposite also occurs – if you earn money doing something you do not like, your success may mean that you spend the rest of your life doing something you don’t enjoy. So, in spite of your success, you end up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, the Don Quichotes of the world tend to be rewarded at some point, which is exactly what happened to me this week.

The ‘Woon Awards’ were presented on Monday evening, what you could call a mix between the Champions League, Golden Calf and Prince Bernhard Culture Fund Award (i.e. culture and media all wrapped into one). But, of course, of a totally different (lower) calibre. Instead of being a designer, I would’ve been better off being a photographer who plays football and acts. I have now been declared ‘Interior Professional of the Year’. We have yet another iron in the fire: I’ve been nominated for the Rotterdam Design Award. The award will be presented next year (based on votes). At any rate, all this award business is a great distraction from the day-to-day worries that, in fact, we really don’t have much reason to complain about these days.

Please click the following link for more information about the exhibition by Jan van der Ploeg. 

This post is also available in: NL

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