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Meet Lindsey Altman of Tied & True Goods in Atascadero

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsey Altman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born & raised in Elk Grove, CA, a suburban pocket just outside Sacramento. I grew up loving all things arts & crafts; whether it was painting wooden boxes from Michaels or learning to sew dresses with my grandma, my bedroom was often filled with projects. Despite my quiet nature, I also had an oddly entrepreneurial spirit as a kid. I’d sell handmade potholders on the corner of our cul-de-sac & wrangle my sister into knocking on doors to advertise our lemonade stand. At some point in 4th grade I organized a small Halloween festival to raise money for my favorite endangered species, the Clouded Leopard–I can’t make this stuff up people! I drifted away from interest in art as school & sports became my top two priorities, but as I settle into my twenties I’m so happy to have reunited with my creative spirit.

I started doing macrame a little over two years ago now, in February 2017. At the time I was a year into a few huge milestones–first year out out of college (I graduated from Cal Poly SLO), first year of marriage (I married my high school sweetheart) & first year into my first full-time job as a nanny (it stuck–I still work for the same family!). My life had developed a sweet, steady rhythm & it was comfy. But I felt an itch to learn, to create, to stretch myself again. I found a stash of yarn that I had thrifted, along with a couple of pieces of driftwood I’d hidden away in hopes I’d find use for them someday. I made my very first wall hanging with just those two simple materials. I thought it was so pretty & organic-looking & so I made a bunch more. I gifted them to friends, hung a few up around our apartment & sold a couple at a garage sale. But eventually I wanted to spice up my wall hangings a bit, & macrame was just starting to ease into the mainstream. I hopped onto YouTube, learned the basic macrame knots, & was hooked. I loved that all you needed was rope, driftwood, & your own two hands to make something beautiful.

After making more macrame than would fit in our little space, I opened up my Etsy shop, Tied & True Goods, in June 2017 in hopes of maybe making a little extra date-night money. I made close to 50 sales the rest of that year, which is BONKERS because I honestly had zero idea what I was doing. It was a huge learning process that involved happy dancing, tears of frustration & everything in between. At the beginning of 2018 I decided I really wanted to plant my business in the San Luis Obispo community. Throughout college I’d go to maker’s markets & followed a bunch of local artists on Instagram, so I knew that this town was passionate about fostering creatives. I started teaching workshops, taking part in markets, establishing wholesale accounts & connecting with other local makers. There is something magical about this community. The lovely people of SLO truly gave my little business the spark it needed to grow, & I am so thankful.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I consider the journey with my creative business to be a beautiful one so far, but boy has it been filled with learning curves & a steady dose of anxiety on my end. Despite years of my childhood spent peddling Shrinky Dinks to my friends, I jumped into this adventure with essentially zero business experience. The creative aspect came much easier to me; I found that making macrame was the perfect balance of challenging & meditative. I could knot for hours on end. But working on my Etsy shop, designing a logo, posting regularly on social media, packaging orders, doing customer service–I was learning by doing in the purest form & it was terrifying.

I remember my first Etsy order came completely out of the blue, I hadn’t even shared about it yet because I felt like it wasn’t ready for the world. To this day I have no idea how she stumbled upon my shop because I didn’t even know the term SEO. I didn’t have any shipping material at the time, so I ran over to the UPS store to find a box & tape. I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a real postal scale, I was using like a tiny kitchen scale to estimate postage costs. I did my best wrapping up the wall hanging, wrote a super sincere thank-you note (hoping it would make up for my lack of beautiful packaging) & sent it all the way to North Carolina.

Every new step in my business comes with a rush of excitement piggybacking on “wait I’ve never done this before how will I pull it off”. Within a year of my first order I had countless more firsts, some that felt massive & others that felt insignificant. Learning, learning, learning. Learning is exhausting!! But always worth it. My life & business mantra has become “I can do hard things.” I repeat it to myself when I start to get overwhelmed or feel defeated. I know there are more learning curves to come & I’m ready for them!

Tied & True Goods – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have a little business named Tied & True Goods, & I make driftwood wall hangings, plant hangers, & other macrame creations inspired by the California central coast. I specialize in creating simple, organic macrame pieces that can be integrated into all styles & spaces. I find incredible beauty in raw, natural elements, which is why I’m so drawn to using driftwood in my work. I make trips to the coastline as often as I can, hand-picking pieces of wood that have been softened by the sea & churned up onto to beach. Every macrame piece is, by nature, one-of-kind–the same design twice never looks exactly the same, based on the the tension & spacing of the knots. Adding a beautiful piece of driftwood to the mix makes for a truly unique creation.

Apart from driftwood, my primary material is 100% cotton string & rope. It’s a dream to work with. I use it to make everything from little keychains & wine totes to 6 ft table runners & huge statement wall hangings. I also integrate wooden beads, copper piping, wool roving & natural dye to add extra texture & color to some pieces. The opportunities truly are endless when it comes to macrame; a fresh spool of string is just like a huge blank canvas! I love to experiment & try out new techniques. There’s always room to learn.

Tied & True has brought me so much joy in so many forms, but the aspect that brings me the most pride is that customers choose my handmade pieces to add a little touch of beauty to their homes. I consider this as I’m both making macrame & working to grow my business. It’s an honor to have my designs hung in beloved spaces across the country–I try to be intentional about not taking that for granted. I’m so grateful to create.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far was being invited to participate in SLOcally Made, an 18-day pop-up market & collective of incredible local artists that took place in downtown San Luis Obispo last December. As a relatively new maker, it was a huge honor to work alongside so many established creatives & business owners. I had never taken part in such a large-scale event event before, & I was both giddy & fraught with “what ifs”. I spent November & into December working to build my collection up as much as I could in preparation for the 10 days my pieces would be for sale. The community showed up in such an amazing way! There was an outpouring of support for all of the artists involved as holiday shopping hit full swing. Almost every night I’d work to make more pieces in order to replenish my stock; I was so humbled by the response to my macrame. It was an exhilarating, exhausting, relationship-building few weeks & it was something I’ll never forget.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Thom Hightower

    May 17, 2019 at 06:10

    Hello Lindsey
    We have not met yet. I am uncle Thom. Just read your Facebook post. It is fun to learn more about you and your enterprise.
    My wife Corrie and I would love to meet you sometime. We have a niece who lives in Santa Maggarita. We visit her st least once a year. Maybe the next time we could connect?
    Take care. Continued luck with your growing business.
    TnC

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