Congratulations, you have taken steps to enter the hustle of the Carnival world as a designer, promoter or section leader. You have now placed yourself and everything you do up for public scrutiny, criticism, and opinion whether you asked for it or not.
If you think that a paying public is going to treat you with the same kid gloves of your friends and close associates, think again. The hyperbole of overzealous admiration doled out by your sycophants in awe of your “talent” and “creativity” will be reduced to the cynical rants of those who have no patience for praising mediocre talent, or lack thereof, or glorifying events that failed to meet the standard promised.
Here are five tips to survive being a snowflake when the heat gets too much to bear:
1. Can’t stand the heat ? Get out of the kitchen – If you are easily offended, get your feelings hurt by the slightest opposition to an opinion that differs from your own or is overly sensitive because no one understands how much work and effort went into your event or product then this market is not for you. I can tell you without a doubt that no one cares about your feelings when they are buying what you are selling. Do you think that someone will not hesitate to write a poor review of an event because it will upset you? Or that they will not point out that your product is not value for their money because you spent a few sleepless nights coming up with a swimsuit they can buy on Amazon for $12.00? No, they are going to call you out on shit coming and going and you need to learn how to handle it without melting into a pool of emotions because you believe that mean people are “picking on you”.
2. Recognize constructive criticism – Honestly, every negative review gives you a chance to reflect and reexamine why this person was not happy with what you sold them, be it an experience, a fete, a costume or any Carnival related service. Your head cannot be so far up your own ass that you do not recognize when you came up short and what you can do in future to ensure that your customers are pleased . If you have enablers around who think that every critique is hating on you, get rid of those people; they do not have your best interest at heart. Which brings me to my next point,
3. Seek the advice of neutral parties – Sometimes you need someone who is brutally honest and not afraid to tell you what you need to hear. Find someone you trust for objective advice, taking away any invested emotions, who may present a novel way of going forward with a design or idea. I will also add that the less people who are involved in your business the better, too many opinions fighting for relevance are sometimes detrimental to the creative process.
4. Understand the power of good PR – I remember when TRIBE Carnival was accused by the media of both racism and size discrimination. I also remember their response, which was NOT to go on a defensive rant and ask them to retract and remove all articles from print , but to address the issue and counteract the claims with facts of their own. They said why they chose to only make costumes in certain sizes at that time, stood their ground and left the court of public opinion open to judge their fate. There are so many ways to address an issue where you think you may have been misrepresented other than demanding that it disappear from the media because you do not agree with what was said about you. The media does not exist to pander to those who become emotionally vulnerable when challenged by opinions not in line with their own.
5. Check your ego at the door – No one is obligated to like you just because you are you. There will be people ready to drink your bathwater and those who dislike you on sight. Trying to battle those who form a negative opinion of you is fruitless, sometimes it may have nothing to do with YOU and all with the other person. Your job is not to convince anyone to like you, your job is to market and sell the product and service you have to offer, and do such a good job at it that people are buying because of the value of your product and not because of a face attached to a brand.