Feb 16th will mark two years of Goheen LLC being a legit, legal company. Anniversaries always make me reflective. So I thought I would share:
The story behind the name Goheen:
For the longest time, having my own business was always a sort of “maybe someday” idea. Something that sounded like it might be OK, but I was in no hurry to put in the effort, and I thought that I didn’t have enough knowledge or experience to start yet. The most that I did was start a Facebook page. It was a place that I could show off my photography and my sewing projects to any friends and family who cared to see it. But I struggled with what to name the page. At the time, I was engaged, which meant that in the near future I was going to be giving up my family name, and my family home all at once. Now, I know not every 23-year-old wants to live at home with her parents forever, but I was the exception. Being a “Goheen” felt like a very defining thing for me. I love my family dearly, and my Goheen childhood and my Goheen home felt like too much to give up completely, so…. I decided I wouldn’t. Goheen became the name of my company, and an ever-present reminder of my values, my family, and my history.
Making it legal:
So great. I had a Facebook page: Goheen Designs. What next? Nothing really. I continued to sew, and continued to put up photos of what I worked on, but the thought of being an actual business didn’t even cross my mind again for the next two years. I was busy planning a wedding, sewing a wedding dress, getting married, moving cities, getting a new job, and getting used to being a wife. It wasn’t until way after all of the above that the idea of starting my own business even came back into my head. And it came back because of that new (now a year old) job.
I was working as a sewer in a factory. Now, I want to preface this part of the story by saying that this was a good job. There were several employees at this factory that had been working there for 40 plus years. So obviously it is a great job for some people. Just not for me. I have all the respect in the world for factory sewers, because I could NOT handle that job. I love sewing, but part of what I love about it is the whole process of designing, problem solving, and working with my hands to create something from start to finish. Which is obviously not what happens in a factory production line. There were times when I would sew the same 3 minute step on a bag over and over and over for every hour of every day for an entire week. This mindless task, combined with the fact that I couldn’t talk to my coworkers (too far away to hear) and I couldn’t use headphones (a safety hazard) meant that I was stuck inside my own head, going more than a little bit crazy.
There are only so many things that you can think about in an 8-hour time period without outside stimulation of some kind. I made up musicals in my head, played games with myself, reran episodes of the bachelor in my minds eye (my guilty pleasure show), and generally went insane. After a few months of this, I started desperately texting people on my 5 min breaks. “Ask me a question,” I would say. “Give me something to think about.” “Tell me something interesting.”
By the time Jan 2014 rolled around, I had started a new strategy. My husband Eddie had gotten me a book for Christmas Grow. How to take Your DIY project and passion to the next level and quit your job. It was a small book, that was part informational, part workbook, and easily overlooked by the passing glance of a manager. I kept it open on the table beside me as I worked, and one by one went through each of the questions it proposed in my head. It brought up a single, overarching question for me to start with:
What is your ultimate vision of success?
I hadn’t given this too much thought in quite a while. I knew that I wasn’t happy with my current job, so I now knew in part what I didn’t want, but what about what I DID want? What would “success” look like? And what about ULITMATE success? I had hours and hours of time to think, so I gave it hours and hours of thought. I let my imagination run free, with absolutely no logical limiting to what might actually be reasonable, or possible. After all, this was ULITIMATE. If I had to go to a job every day for the rest of my life, and really enjoy it every day, and feel fulfilled and content and successful, what would that job look like? Well, no surprise, it looked like something that didn’t actually exist in real life. A sort of cross between a design studio/community center/coffee shop/thrift store/club meeting hub/school/library/art gallery/dance floor. I would be able to design patterns, teach people, learn new things, participate in and facilitate social gatherings, give back, focus on local, repurpose, constantly try new things, and be creative. Boom. Done. I now had an ULTIMATE goal. Completely ridiculous and insane, and also… amazing. If I could realistically create a work environment for myself that looked even a tiny bit like this ultimate dream, I would call that a Success.
So what would be the first teeny tiny baby step to take towards my ultimate dream career? Legally become a business. Check. Well, a month of research and utter confusion about how to legally become a business, and THEN, on Feb 16th, 2014 Goheen LLC became real: CHECK.
Now to work on the rest of it….
Tape?? Really? Yes! More specifically, masking tape or painter's tape! Painter's tape is my personal choice, because it is sticky enough to stay put on most fabrics, but it doesn't leave any sticky residue on fabric or sewing machine, and it doesn't pill your fabric! Now I'm sure you are wondering why in the world you would be putting tape on your fabrics, right? Well here are 5 reasons to raid your painting supplies for your sewing!
1. Mark the bottom right side of your fabric: Sometimes, I pick out fabrics that are verrrry similar on the right and wrong sides, or it is hard to tell which way the grain is after I have cut out a square for a pillow cover. Close inspection can usually solve this dilemma, but sometimes I forget to closely inspect my piece, and I end up with two pieces of the same fabric, sewn together, that look like two different colors because one is upside down! Putting a piece of tape in the bottom right corner, on the right side of the fabric when you cut it makes it easy to see the proper orientation at a glance.
2. Create a custom seam gauge: Most sewing machines have handy little guides on the right side of the needle plate to help you keep a consistent seam allowance. But if your machine doesn't have these, or if you are sewing with a seam width that isn't marked (5/8" anyone?) you can lay a piece of tape along the width that you do need! This is also great for beginner sewers and kids who find it easier to follow a bright green line than an indent in the needle plate.
3. Sew in a straight line! How many times have a tried to sew a straight line only to have the fabric shift, or my attention shift? Too many. But using a long piece of tape is the perfect way to ensure that you are staying on the straight and narrow, even in the middle of your fabric. This is especially great for quilting straight lines!
4. Sew darts: Get perfectly straight darts every time when you use a piece of tape to create a straight path to sew between the notch and the point. I used to draw a line in chalk, but tape is so much easier to remove!
5. Make Bias Tape: Tape is a great way to cut out perfect bias strips even on slippery fabrics! The key is the have the same size tape width as the bias strips that you want to cut. Simply lay your tape in diagonal stripes, and then cut them apart and voila! you have perfectly straight strips on the bias, and you can keep the tape on until you are ready to use it, which has the added benefit of keeping the fabric from fraying!
6. Label your pattern pieces: Is that the left sleeve or the right....? Question no more! I like to label those tricky pattern pieces that are hard to tell apart after cutting them out. A great way to label without risking your magic marker disappearing, or your chalk smearing.
7. Mark your fabric: I like to have a variety of ways to creating the sewing pattern marks on my fabric. So along with disappearing ink, and tailors chalk, and thread basting, I also have tape in my arsenal. So if I need my markings to last a long time, or if the fabric doesn't respond well to chalk, I can use tape!
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage firstname.lastname@example.org
"Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."
- Earl Nightingale