There is one person who has consistently inspired me. Somehow she is able to set all those doubts aside and share her work, her process and her sources freely. She’s also totally transparent about her feelings about all of these things. Her desire to create, inspire and build community is that much stronger than her fears of criticism, someone copying her or someone doing better than her.
Her name is Elsie Goodwin and she is the creator behind that brand Reform Fibers. She is a 36 year old mother who, together with her husband, raise their two daughters in Southern California.
Reform Fibers is the brand label under which she creates and sells macrame wall hangings and plant hangers, ready-to-go DIY kits and patterns through her Etsy shop.
In her spare time (how does she have any?!), she also teaches private macrame parties and skill-building classes for corporations. She’s been working at all of this, officially, since 2014.
Having been a knitter since she was young, she’s always been interested in fiber art ; but it wasn’t until she had been a stay-at-home mom for a few years, that she felt herself craving a new outlet for her energy.That’s when she found macrame.
At this time, macrame was experiencing a renewed interest in the home decor circles and a lot of people were posting about it on Instagram. She tried reaching out to several artists for help on where to find materials or how to get started but received no responses. No one wanted to share that information. So she did her own research and, after a lot of trial and error, she finished her first piece! She ended up showing it to a friend who was obsessed with it. Just like that, two weeks later she was holding a macrame class in her home and its been a whirlwind ever since .
I was one of the attendees at this class. She had made a post on Instagram putting feelers out if anyone would be interested in a class to make macrame plant hangers and was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from her friends. I think I even called in sick from work to attend! The relatability in the mixture of beautifully crafted work, sharing her process and giving us a peek into her family life on Instagram is what has made her so successful. Keep on reading to get the inside scoop on the idea behind her brand and how she balances it all.
If you scroll through her Instagram, you’ll see that her posts include a stream-of-consciousness way of writing that makes you feel like you’re talking to your friend over coffee.
Between that and her sharing her beautiful creations its easy to understand why her comments section is filled with posts from people thanking her for being so transparent about her creative process and how she’s inspired them.
This, she tells me, was what she was thinking about when she decided to start this journey. Her experience when attempting to start macrame made it apparent that there was a big need for a creative community. She wanted a brand that, not only sold beautiful and fun items, but that also encouraged others to try their hand at creating something on their own.
This made such an impact on me that I was inspired to DIY all the decor at my own wedding and, most recently, had the courage to create this website! I experienced the same thing in the beauty industry and her willingness to share and the community she created directly inspired the spirit of this website and is the reason why she is the first person featured in my Spotlight [ ON ] series.
Her courage to put herself out there also made me feel like I could make this website and put everything out there. Not only my knowledge about beauty but to also share experience and knowledge from other areas of my life and to be willing to teach myself to create a website on my own. (Trust me, there were tears! And Elsie was there trying to help me figure it out!)
When I asked her about her transparency she said that, despite her previous experience, she too has moments where she doesn’t want to share her process because she’s so proud of her work and wants it to remain her own. Thinking back on how she felt when no one would share, though, is all it takes for her to quickly adjust her thinking and know that is not what’s important.
“Besides,” she says, “no one will do it the same as me. Even if they follow the steps exactly – it will be different. That’s what is so amazing about macrame; every piece gets its own personal touch. Building a community and supporting others is important and I’m proud of what I’ve helped create.”
How to Make a Zig Zag Pattern // I thought it would be good to show a simple Zig Zag Clove Hitch Pattern. Yes, this is a replay, and that’s ok. This can be done with any combination of cords and the video shows them in sets of 3. The cords are 1/4th inch thick and 8 feet each, purchased from knotandrope.com/Elsie and hand dyed by me. I attached 3 cords (1 at a time) to the bar using the Larks Head Knot. Because they are folded in half and attached there are now 6 cords numbered 1-6 from left to right. // Step 1: Use cord 6 as a filler cord and tie Clove Hitch Knots from 5 back to 1. Step 2: Use cord 1 as a filler cord and tie Clove Hitch Knots from 2-6. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to your desired length. It may help to make sure your zig zags are even at each cross point, as I point out in the middle of the video. Tag a friend who may be interested in seeing this and Happy Friday! // If you're new here, Hello. 👋🏼 I offer DIY Macrame Patterns and Kits at the link in my bio ➡️ @reformfibers or at reformfibers.etsy.com Also, You can find more helpful videos at #TGIFF➰ and at youtube.com/reformfibers
How can anyone not be inspired by that kind of generosity and self-confidence? Not only does she tag where she gets her supplies, she also provides videos of her techniques both on Instagram and Youtube. Just check out the her Youtube channel or the Instagram hashtag of #TGIFF aka ‘Thank Goodness Its Fiber Friday’. There you will find a ton of videos where she demonstrates all kinds of macrame techniques. She is also amazing at responding to questions she receives in her comments.
As a regular woman, finding time to do it all is a struggle. When I asked her how she manages it all, she tells me that she really tries to keep to a schedule. Having her daughters go to school for a few hours a day makes it easier for her to carve out time to work, take care of house chores and run errands. We all know how easy it is to get sucked into being obsessive about Instagram and she is no different; so she tries to post once a day. The rule is: not to post for posting sake and to only post something that has a point or is interesting.
She is pretty active in her InstaStories and shares her creative process along with choice moments of her family. This keeps viewers feeling connected but helps her to retain privacy. She also created ‘Silent Sundays’, which means she doesn’t post or story on Sundays and focuses on time with her family without any distractions. She says after storying for a while, she realized how important it was to her to have time to just live life and enjoy time with her family and not worry about capturing a moment for the internet.
Her family is, of course, her top priority but she still struggles with not taking too much on (sound familiar?). Even though she loves macrame, she also likes to branch out into other creative projects that have nothing to do with her business.
First, it was learning to hand dye rope (she learned from a master indigo artist!) and most recently, it has been weaving. She also encourages her daughters do creative projects of their own because she feels its important to foster their creativity. If you’ve seen their work on her Instastories, then you know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
She tries to remind herself to maintain “harmony and flow” when facing the challenge of deciding what is most important to take on. She has to remind herself that even though her side projects have nothing to do with macrame or her Etsy shop and may seem counter-productive; it’s all a return investment because it helps motivate her to think outside the box and get inspired for new work.
She says having the freedom to choose her own projects and take side routes in her creative process is one of the best parts about being a self-employed artist. The hardest parts are maintaining motivation, not forcing productivity and having a restricted schedule secondary to working from home.
Go-to Beauty: Nars & Dior for makeup. Aesop skin care. Her get-ready routine takes only about 10 minutes but she will absolutely not leave the house without foundation + concealer. Getting up early enables her to be able to do what she wants. Go-to Recipes: She says she loves using the service Blue Apron so she doesn’t have to stress about grocery shopping. She also only chooses vegetarian options. Baking with the girls on Sundays is also a (fun) must!
Go-to Beauty: Nars & Dior for makeup. Aesop skin care. Her get-ready routine takes only about 10 minutes but she will absolutely not leave the house without foundation + concealer. Getting up early enables her to be able to do what she wants.
Go-to Recipes: She says she loves using the service Blue Apron so she doesn’t have to stress about grocery shopping. She also only chooses vegetarian options. Baking with the girls on Sundays is also a (fun) must!
So after all this talk about Elsie and viewing photos of her amazing work you’re probably wondering where you can get her pieces or how to attend a class right? She does both private macrame parties (at her home or yours) and corporate workshops. She sells pieces in West Elm South Coast Plaza and also manages her own Etsy shop. If you want to see her commissioned work, head over to Oceanpoint Ranch in Cambria or the the Wander West Showroom.
Click on the links below to find her on social media or shop her Etsy site. I hope you will be as inspired by her as I am! Her and I are also teaming up for a giveaway – scroll below for the entry link!