As a student there are many reasons for not entering competitions. What if I don’t get shortlisted? What if my work isn’t good enough? Loads of people will enter and I’m not going to win, so there’s no point. It will be a waste of my time to put in all that effort. And I don’t have the time to do it, anyway. STOP. Just stop.
A lack of confidence is at the heart of all of these issues, and that’s completely understandable. As a student you are new, you are fresh, you are exploring – and that’s OK. If you were top of your genre, you wouldn’t be entering competitions open to students, you would be judging them.
One of the biggest misconceptions about competitions and awards, both in the jewellery industry and outside of it, is that each is flooded with entries. This, quite simply, is not true. I have organised and judged some of the industry’s biggest awards, and I can tell you that even those struggle to attract nominations. This is because everyone, no matter what stage of their career they are at, feels that niggle of self-doubt, usually shrugged off as nonchalance about the whole affair.
What this means is that your chances of being shortlisted, or even winning industry competitions, are much higher than you think they are. And the benefits of entering – even if you don’t make the cut – are also bigger than you might expect. These competitions – such as the jewellery design award Hockley Mint launched this week to mark its 25th anniversary – usually have a panel of industry judges (Hockley Mint has lined up NAJ boss Michael Rawlinson, designer Diana Porter, Facets PR director Sarah Carpin and its own new product development manager Poppy Elder). This means that your work and your name will be known by each one, even if you don’t make it past the first round. This is priceless in terms raising awareness of your work and building up your little black book of industry contacts. And who knows where that might lead? The best opportunities are often unforeseen.
“Your chances of being shortlisted, or even winning industry competitions, are much higher than you think they are. And the benefits of entering – even if you don’t make the cut – are also bigger than you might expect”.
And if you win? Well, that’s something to Instagram about, immediately add to your bio and drop into absolutely every conversation: potential employers or stockists, the bank manager, future judging panels, that person who gave you a condescending look when you said you wanted to be a jewellery designer (yes, for a living). So stop procrastinating, and get entering absolutely every competition you can. I promise you, it will be worth it.
By Rachael Taylor, BAJ