A Request for Katy Perry - When a Life Changing Email Landed in my Inbox

A pair of black and white dangle earrings with pink mirror acrylic stud tops. The white polymer clay components have a custom Gracie Face black silkscreen design called Maze, made up of fine straight and curved lines. This was one of 15 pairs of earrings

It's a tale as old as time…

 

An influential celebrity with a large following shares a single image on their grid of them wearing a t-shirt by a small unheard of business. Within an hour, sales for this new business have soared to astronomical levels. But what would you do if you thought for a moment that you were about to become that business?


On the 18th January 2022, I woke up to an email with the subject line ‘Request: Katy Perry x SNL / Gracie Face’. 
It wasn’t a scam. 


This is the true story of how a leap of faith for a potentially life changing opportunity for my business went from the biggest emotional high to the lowest low and the lessons I've learnt along the way.

The email read:


‘Hi Gracie,

Hope you had a great weekend! xxxxxxxxxxxx is styling Katy Perry for SNL where she is attending as their musical guest. The taping is taking place the week of January 24th, however it hasn't been announced yet. We are looking for jewelry. Open to colors and styles. Please let us know if you can help with this project. The fitting is taking place this weekend in LA. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you!!! Xx’


Naturally, my first thought was that this was junk. It had landed in my main Gmail inbox though and both senders emails were also Gmail. Being the super sleuth that she is, my wife got to work and found both people on Instagram.


Sure enough, the person who emailed me was a Wardrobe Assistant and the other was the Stylist for actual Katy Perry! Not only that, but each profile had evidence on their respective grids that they worked with her. This was nuts!


I couldn’t believe it - at a time when I could feel that the notorious Insta algorhythm was starting to become problematic for mine and many other businesses, I had been thrown this lifeline that had the potential to sky-rocket Gracie Face and screw the algorhythm! I thought about Katy Perry’s stage persona and imagined that yes, the style of my jewellery could well be the style that she would wear. When she wasn’t doing red carpets, maybe she liked to wear more playful designs…

Once I’d composed myself, I realised that the 24th January was only 6 days away and I live in Australia. How was I going to get any new earrings ready plus have it arrive on time in the US with such a short turnaround? As someone who has battled anxiety my whole life, I could feel the adrenalin already firing off in me. I responded:


‘What a wonderful email to wake up to this morning! I’m well thanks and hope you are too! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m actually based in Australia and currently our shipping services are really messed up due to the pandemic. Although this means I won’t be able to get you earrings in time for the 24th Jan, I’d love to send some of my new work over to be considered for future events or shoots if you/ xxxxxxx would be interested?


My aesthetic is colourful, quirky, playful, dopamine dressing and I work with resin and polymer clay. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you again for your interest in Gracie Face! Best wishes, Linzy (My business is named after my niece in England but I get called Gracie a lot)’

The response was fast and I took this to be a sign that they must REALLY want to get a pair adorning Katy’s ears! Of all the designers that they could have contacted, somehow they had found little old me - a small business in Australia operating out of a home studio with no staff and living on the equivalent of the minimum wage…


‘Hi Linzy!! Thanks so much for getting back to us! We can actually receive up until January 28th in NYC since we film on the 29th. I absolutely love your jewelry! 


I have attached some styles that I think Katy will really like. 


Feel free to add any you think can work as well. We are also doing American idol after SNL in case it takes longer to be delivered. Let us know. Speak soon! Thank you!’

A brightly coloured pair of hand cut polymer clay earrings made up of 5 different shapes, created for Katy Perry.
Gracie Face

Did you hear that? ‘I have attached some styles that I think Katy will really like’ - whatttttt???!!! I'd never had something like this happen in my life and I was already imagining how amazing my earrings would look on Katy, despite all attempts to remain calm. 


Wait - did she just say American Idol too? My earrings could be seen on Katy Perry, on American Idol??? You can see why I was starting to get excited though, right?


Attached to this email were 15 images of screenshots from my Insta feed. There were 6 collaboration designs that I was unable to remake but aside from that I could remake the other styles and add some new pieces that I would design especially. I replied and advised of this, sent a sketch of one pair which I designed especially for Katy (the actual earrings are shown below and were shared on my feed last year, with a caption saying they were for someone special!) and dropped everything to get to work. 


Now 15 pairs of earrings might not sound like a lot, but when many of the designs are created using different techniques and materials, this is a LOT of work as I'm sure you'll agree if you too are an earring biz. I also like to take my time and make sure that my work is finished to the highest possible standard. I had 3 days if I stood a chance of getting the parcel to the US in time for SNL (Saturday Night Live is a massive TV show out there). I’d contacted DHL to see how quickly I could get a parcel to them and for $250 it was possible.

Money was incredibly tight - if you have a small retail business, you’ll know that it is extremely hard to make money in January for most people. But because of the magnitude of this opportunity, I decided it was worth it and got to work immediately.


I worked day and night from Tuesday to have 15 pairs of earrings ready for courier collection on the Friday morning. I barely ate or slept and survived on coffee and adrenalin. I was buzzing for days with no time to create anything for my own website release but it felt worth it. I knew that this would have to be at no cost to them because designers pay celebrities to wear their work so why would they want to pay for a small business’s much lower end pieces?


I reached out to my main contact via email and Instagram (by this time I was following her and the main Stylist) to get a shipping address for the courier service. She gave me the Stylist’s home address so I locked in DHL for Friday morning. By Thursday night, I’d finished everything and just needed to glue posts and put backing cards on each pair of earrings, then pack and wait.


And then…panic. It was Friday morning. The Wardrobe Assistant emailed me at 5:05am with a different address to deliver to. The parcel was due to be collected in 5 hours and I’d already paid for it. The new address was for the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown New York (it must have been close to where the studios were for SNL) and delivery was to the Stylist. I called DHL and had to pay another $250 to send to a new address. Because the parcel was already lodged for pickup, it was too late to change it without the risk of any complications. So now I’d spent $500 on delivery for 15 pairs of earrings worth over $1,000. My bank account was empty. I just had to hope it would be worth it. 

The parcel was successfully collected from me at 10am and finally I could breathe a sigh of relief, eat something and lie down for a nap. As I’d packed up all of my carefully made creations, I’d imagined the Stylist opening the box at the other end. The self doubt started to come. They would be used to receiving beautifully packaged high end pieces worth 1,000 times more than my resin and polymer clay earrings.


My branding was vibrant and professional but nothing like the standard I imagined that Katy Perry and her Stylist would be used to. Why would she be interested in my work, when the monetary value was wildly different to luxury brands? I pushed these unwanted thoughts to the back of my mind and got on with my day.
I tracked my earrings as they arrived and were signed for at the Four Seasons (3 days ahead of the deadline), and notified the Wardrobe Assistant and Stylist.

A hand with brightly coloured nail polish holds an earring with a gold arch shaped acrylic top and 3 pastel coloured 20mm diameter rings made from polymer clay, which is embedded with coloured metal fragments and coated in resin.
Gracie Face

They replied to thank me and confirmed they would be arriving at the hotel the following day. I knew they’d be extremely busy. So, I waited…and waited.
SNL was being filmed on Saturday 29th January and I had a friend who could watch through the streaming service she had. She would be the one to see my e

arrings first on the show!


Surely there would be one pair that would be perfect? Just one pair - that’s all I needed them to love!


The next thing I saw was something that normally I would have found quite funny, but it was the beginning of a downward spiral of disheartenment for me. A photo had been posted on Katy’s feed ahead of the show. She was wearing earrings, but they weren’t mine. They were COVID Rapid Antigen Tests which had been embellished with stick on sparkles. I felt sick, but not from COVID. I just had a bad feeling that my earrings would be nowhere to be seen on SNL and I wasn’t wrong.

My friend watched and rewatched, checking every moment that Katy’s ears were visible on the show, but alas there wasn’t a sniff of Gracie Face anywhere to be seen. I’d also noticed that unless she was performing, her style didn’t seem to be in line with the Gracie Face aesthetic. On stage, she was in costume anyway so wouldn’t be wearing other earrings. 


A few days earlier and before I had shipped the parcel, I’d messaged the Wardrobe Assistant on Instagram and asked her what would happen to the earrings once the event had passed. She replied and said that normally they would either be returned to the designer or Katy would keep them. She followed this by saying that Katy loves earrings/ jewellery. In my head, I questioned whether they really would return anything if it wasn’t used.


I'd begun to ponder over the fact that if you’re wealthy, in the public eye and can afford anything your heart desires, the chances are that you're likely to be gifted a lot of things. I wondered, is there even a passing thought about what has had to happen in order for a smaller business to be able to fulfil a request similar to the one I received, or is it just ‘stuff’?


After SNL aired, I just felt sad. I kept telling myself that there was still American Idol and that show ran for weeks and weeks. I clung onto the tiny glimmer of hope I had left in me and watched the socials for Idol, Katy Perry, her Stylist and the Wardrobe Assistant from the moment that promotions for the show began. Every time a Story or post from any of these parties appeared, I had hope, followed by anxiety, followed by disappointment. Each week I became flatter than the week before.

I could have emailed my contacts to ask whether my earrings had been selected or if they would be returning them, but the prospect of rejection just wasn’t something that I could entertain emotionally at that time, so I didn’t reach out.


I was becoming increasingly aware that my earring designs just didn’t seem to marry up to Katy's style on Idol and most weeks her jewellery was metal - the opposite of the style of pieces that I’d sent for her. Half way through the season I had the realisation that it wasn’t going to happen.


My over-thinking didn't stop there; I couldn't understand why I had been contacted in the first place, when her style had a new direction and clearly that direction wasn’t heading my way. I felt like I’d been taken advantage of, but of course now with a clearer head I know it wasn't personal.

A brightly coloured pair of hand cut polymer clay earrings made up of 5 different shapes, created for Katy Perry.
Gracie Face

This pattern of unhelpful behaviour continued for the entire Idol season and beyond until finally in February this year, just over 1 year since I was originally contacted by that Wardrobe Assistant, I made the decision to unfollow each person because it was impacting my mental health so much. The relief was instant. These people had no idea who I was and yet here I was with my stomach in knots and mentally blowing things completely out of proportion!


And meanwhile, where were my earrings? Where did my box of 15 pairs of lovingly handmade earrings go? I can tell you that they definitely didn’t get returned to me. It led me to think about the other small businesses', whose parcels filled with dreams were now sitting in landfill after they took a chance that went nowhere too…


Then weirdly, Katy Perry seemed to be everywhere; her Menulog advert which aired in Australia last year and ran for months on end in prime-time viewing haunted me! A group of us went to see Moulin Rouge in September for my birthday and when they broke into Firework, I proceeded to lose 15 minutes of the show because in my head I was busy composing an email to her Stylist to ask what happened to my earrings!


To this day I haven’t sent that email because I’m too nervous about a) not receiving a reply or b) hearing something I don’t want to and the chances are that one of these 2 scenarios would play out.

The ridiculous extent of the torment I caused myself is not lost on me - how had I let something like this affect me so much and for an entire year?!


Let me make one thing clear: I don’t want you to think that this article is about me coming for Katy Perry - that's not it. It’s highly unlikely that she has even heard of Gracie Face and seen my designs, let alone worn any of them! She doesn’t owe me anything. She was the innocent A-list bystander whose name appeared in the subject line of an email. The part where this was going to result in helping me to skyrocket my business to life changing proportions was just a story I'd made up in my head.


I have no doubt that this sort of experience is not exclusive to me - there would be so many small businesses out there that decided to take a chance and it didn’t work out for whatever reason. 


As we came out of the pandemic, I think I needed to have hope that something good was going to happen for my business and ultimately for my family.


It had been had a tough few months for a few reasons - one of which being that my Dad died, I hadn't seen him for 3 years because I lived on the other side of the world and my grief was complex.


The situation seemed so extraordinary, that I convinced myself that a fairy tale ending was inevitable and began to imagine what life could look like if my earrings were seen by the world. I got way too excited and invested. I daydreamed about waking up to 100,000 new followers and an inbox filled with enquiries and instead…crickets. In hindsight, sending 15 pairs of earrings only served to make my disappointment feel greater.

I'm happy to report that I am now fully recovered from this experience and whilst I won't be sending 15 pairs of earrings at a cost of $500 to ship to a Stylist again any time soon, I haven't ruled out the prospect of sending my work for consideration to Stylists in the future. I will however, be sending a much lower quantity and setting my expectations at a more realistic level!


I hope that this cautionary tale serves as a gentle reminder that sometimes in life and in business you have to take a leap of faith and dream big, but it’s dangerous to assume it’s always going to pay off - life just doesn’t always work out that way.


There is a part of me that wishes I'd just left that first email alone, believing it was better suited to my junk folder. But I'm a dreamer and so I dreamt. For now though, I've downgraded my leaps of faith to more of a hop and a skip.

FREE Gracie Face Polymer Clay Colour Recipe Trio!


I love to use a heap of vibrant colours in my work & now's your chance to play with 3 of my current favourite Gracie Face colour recipes for FREE!

To get your hands on this adorable pack of 3 polymer clay colour recipes, simply click on the white button below, pop your details in the form & I'll send you the pdf with your new colour recipes!

Don't forget to tag @graciefaceau in your creations! x


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