What do Chia Pets and success have in common, you ask? If you were to ask that question of Joe Pedott, the man who first discovered the cheesy terracotta planters at a housewares tradeshow in Chicago back in 1977, I’m sure he could tell you. To hear him tell it, his is a typical Cinerella-make that Cinderfella-story. After leaving home at sixteen, he moved into a tiny room at the local YMCA, sleeping on a cot the size of a door and living off a hot plate. But Joe had a dream and the drive to achieve it. Today he has made millions off those little chia-sprouting figurines.
Who hasn't heard the jingle, ch ch ch chia? Successful brand recognition. And haven’t we all made jokes about that odd looking guy with the really wild hair, looking like a Chia pet? Successful word of mouth. And did you know that 500,000 Chia pets are sold annually, and they are only available during the holiday season? Talk about successful marketing!
Call me a snob, but I always considered his holiday novelties silly, which considering my brown thumb makes my thinking not only snobbish, but narrow-minded as well. Still, millions disagree with my opinion, and Joe had the foresight to understand one person’s junk is another’s pleasure.
This Christmas, my reluctance to waste money on cheesy marketing phenomenons crumbled beneath the weight of my granddaughter’s excited pleas. You see, what I saw as junk, she saw as a magical treasure. What six year old can resist the opportunity to get her fingers slimy, spreading seeds on a clay figurine, with the promise of sprouting life to come? Consequently, I now have a furry little Kung Fu Panda sitting on my windowsill. (That pic isn't it, btw. Brown thumb remember? Ours looks a little like I did at the beginning of chemo) I still think it’s cheesy because ... well, it is! But the magic in my granddaughter’s eyes when she scrambles onto the counter to add water is well worth the price.
And the lesson learned from the experience—priceless.
Like Joe Pedot, I also have a dream. And like his Chia pets, I have a product to sell. While I can't hope to achieve what he has, success is subjective. The release of my debut title is fast approaching, and with it, the knowledge that there will be people out there just like me; rolling their eyes and proclaiming my work unworthy or cheesy. But there will be others who will find Gift of the Realm the magical treasure it is for me.
So, thanks for the lesson, Joe.
And for you lovely visitors, What about you? Ever had one of those junky, I mean, magical figurines of your own?
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