The first time I met Maggie, AKA Gussy, was last year at one of our BlogLove Events.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to her very long, but later in the year, at a conference, we had one of those heart to hearts that left us knowing we had become friends.  Maggie is full of LIFE and creativity and witnessing how she has taken that and turned it into a successful business, is nothing short of inspiring.  LIFE here at our table is about the real LIFE experience…the tangible…the things that happen away from the computer.

To continue the celebration here at LoveFeast, Maggie has offered to GiveAway* one of her wristlets to a guest.  Today, in order to enter the GiveAway, we ask that you leave a comment and tell us what in your world gives you LIFE.  We’d love for you to join us on our journey by being a part of our community, talking to us on Twitter or just visiting us here on a regular basis.  We really do want to get to know you.

Hi there — my name is Maggie Whitley and I’m the owner/designer of Gussy Sews. I spend equal time working on my blog and my shop. On my blog you’ll find updates on my handmade shop, tips on how I left my day job 1 year ago to focus on my business, and different prompts/projects that help build a handmade community of inspiration & adventuring. Interested in what fills the “shelves” of my shop? All sorts of sassy, girlie, colorful accessories: tote bags (3 different sizes), zipped pouches, eReader cases, headbands + more! — all sporting my signature ruffle.

I absolutely love the different tasks that fill my day, but getting to this point in my life was definitely an unexpected adventure. I’d love to share it with you…

My husband and I live in Minneapolis, MN with our puppy Bauer. But we haven’t always lived here — in fact, we’re originally from the great state Michigan. Zack and I met in college and dated throughout ~ absolutely love at first sight ♥. We were married in June 2008, and just a few months later we moved to Detroit so Zack could pursue a new job opportunity. Just a few months after the move we BOTH lost our jobs. Insane, right?! It was. At first it wasn’t too big of a deal, thankfully we don’t have a lot of debt so we were able to pay all of our bills and keep afloat. But once 3 months passed, then 4, 5, 6 months, quickly nearing our 7th month, we really started to feel sick over this unemployment “status”. We had just graduated from college ~ how is it that we were [still] unemployed?!

Unfortunately we weren’t seeing hope for our little family in Michigan, so after a crazy quick trip to Minneapolis, MN for an interview, I was offered a job… and so we moved in August (2010). In one weekend. It was insane. Seriously insane. Everything happened so quickly but since it fell so perfectly into place we knew it “had to be” :]

The more I live life the quicker I realize everything really, truly, seriously happens for a reason. Life is all about seasons and enjoying them for the sweetness that they really are. With each passing month I’m getting better at recognizing this.

Backing up a little bit —
Right after we moved to Detroit (back in August 2008) I taught myself how to sew. I had recently found and the idea that gals my age knew how to sew was so fascinating. Off to the library I went… only to return with 30 library books. Throughout the 7 months we were unemployed I put a lot of time into learning this trade. However once we moved to Minneapolis, even though I had a full-time salaried job, I felt like I needed to do more with my sewing business and my Etsy shop. Around January 2010, Zack and I started talking about me quitting my day job to spend more time on Gussy Sews. Actually, we talked about this a lot. It was a really exciting time for us, but this was all so new to us, too. Life was starting to get a little bit scary again…

We started saving for this new adventure and were able to put aside 3 months of my salary as “back up”, and on May 14th, 2010 I was walking away from my full-time job for good ~ Yeow! The following Monday was my first day on my own ~ May 17th. I welcomed the career and life change by skipping all the way to the shower that morning, hah! {True story.}

I use my blog, twitter and facebook to connect with others, and these sites have been so instrumental in building my brand, which has almost turned into a lifestyle.

How would I describe my brand? It is an adventurous & courageous, it’s sassy, fun, girlie and full of love. Someone once told me that my blog and shop can’t exist without each other, and I have to agree. Part of what’s so exciting is that I share the journey of becoming an indie biz owner on my blog, so it’s like my ruffled products are a badge of, “I did it! I did it!”.

Life is enchanting — when you’re able to focus on the daily gifts it brings, instead of the mountains it can place in front of you, it becomes lovely instead of stressful. There are still moments of stress, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like they pass so much quicker now that my focus is more on the journey of life.
Snapshots of my life:

My family ♥

Adventures outside ~ a birthday date, a walk in the park, our love.

Gussy ruffles ~ a small sampling of what you’ll find inside my shop.

Thank you Chris Ann & Kristin for inviting me to share about LIFE!


This GiveAway is open until midnight Friday, July 29 and to US residents only.  This Contest is Now Closed.