When Kim Nemeth signed up to be an AmeriCorps member and move to Walla Walla, Washington after graduating from The College of Wooster she had no idea that it would eventually lead to her starting her own weaving business. Fast forward ten years later and she would make the leap to create Woven (by Hand), a small artisan business focused on “handwoven wearables using traditional patterns, but with a focus on textures and color schemes that are chic and modern.”
In between her AmeriCorps job and Woven, she worked at a few different non-profit jobs before leaving that world to take a job at a restaurant. Working in the restaurant world gave her the freedom to create more and allowed for more flexible hours. This shift in how she thought about work was huge, and a large component of what helped her take the step toward focusing on Woven full-time.
Yet turning a hobby into your livelihood takes a lot of patience and fortitude. You have to quickly learn how to price your products in a manor that reflects your time and resources, and it is always different to create when the pressure is on versus during your own leisurely time. Everything she makes, she weaves and finishes by hand: no shortcuts. So it is rather time intensive, but as Kim points out during our conversation, “Even when I’m frustrated by it, I love it.” That’s a good place to be!
Listen below to learn more about Kim’s Chapter Be story…
PODCAST POINTS TO REFERENCE
[03:50] The story of how Kim was introduced to weaving and why it peaked her interest.
[05:20] What it means to self-teach yourself a new skill as an adult…”Learning to weave can be really frustrating…it took a couple of years.”
[09:00] Getting to the point of being willing to sell was really scary for Kim. It took her husband telling people she was selling before she was, to get her to make the leap. “Learning to talk about it is what helps get the ball rolling.”
[12:19] Weaving has effected Kim’s viewpoint on consumerism and how she buys. We’ve become so aware of where our food comes from, but that conversation needs to move to our clothes and the materials we use.
[18:50] Kim’s process for how she chooses markets to attend and where to sell her products – hint: don’t go to every one!
[21:53] “The last thing I wanted when I started the business was for it to become a drain on everything else in my life.”
[24:30] Kim’s process of leaving her full-time job so that she could focus on Woven.
[26:30] The struggle of changing from something being your hobby to being your job. “How much work is enough work…80 hours? 40 hours?…there is no blueprint that if you do this then you’ll get this.”
[29:23]Kim’s process for getting inspired. Tip: “Do a task for 10 minutes and see where it goes.”
[32:30] How a horrible job you hate can actually help you!
[37:37] “It is never as fast as you want it to be…get used to things taking longer than you thought they would.”
CHAPTER BE QUESTIONNAIRE…
Open to possibility
What’s your favorite quote?
I have two:
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
“Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” – Casey Kasem
Worst work experience?
I had a few really terrible temp jobs after college. Probably working 3rd shift in a warehouse bundling junk ads wins though…
What is your definition of success?
Never having to be bored.
How do you tap into your creative energies – especially when you are feeling drained?
Exercising to loud pop music.
What does “to be” mean to you?
Living with awareness of the moment I’m in.
How do you spend your time when you are procrastinating?
Walk my dogs, random Internet searches in the name of “research…”
Ideal READING LIST – books, websites, blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc. that you would want on your Swiss Family Robinson deserted island?
- Poems by Mary Oliver
- Everything by Virginia Woolf
- The Macrame Book by Helene Bress (to keep me busy)
Favorite song with “be” in the title?
Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me? by The White Stripes
LINKS & RESOURCES…
- Woven by Hand – website
- Woven’s shop
- The College of Wooster
- Kirkman House Museum
- Martha Stewart American Made Craft Finalist
- Momo (Seattle boutique)
- Sassafrass (Seattle boutique)
Images via Kim Nemeth & Ali Walker