Joy of hands-on work

March 1st, 2018 / By: / Fabricator Focus

Tammy Golden has been the owner of Aureus Custom Canvas in Pasadena, Md., since January 2014. She began the business in her basement and within nine months expanded to her current location. She now has three employees and once again has outgrown her existing space and is in the process of expanding into a new, larger space.

What drew you into the marine fabrication industry?
It started when my husband and I transferred to Maryland and purchased a boat. I spent much of my free time reupholstering cushions, making curtains and pillows, etc. It wasn’t until I was sitting under the bimini getting wet during a rainstorm that I decided I didn’t like our canvas design and wanted a new one. My husband suggested I make one. I started researching bimini enclosures and came across canvas training schools, which I didn’t even know existed. I decided to attend Hood Marine Canvas Training school and after completing their basic bimini training workshop, I was hooked. Eventually, I took all their training workshops and a few private training sessions.

What are your areas of expertise?
I specialize in marine canvas and upholstery. I think what surprises many of my customers and colleagues is when I tell them I used to design and make wedding gowns, bridesmaid gowns and specialty Halloween costumes. I have been sewing since I was eight.

How do you keep up with innovations in textiles, equipment and other materials?
One way, of course, is being a member of IFAI. Also, keeping up with MFA and reading Marine Fabricator magazine. I am part of several marine canvas forums on Facebook and attend several conferences each year, including the MFA conference and the Chesapeake Marine Canvas Fabricators Association conference.

How do you recruit and develop employees?
Recruiting and developing employees is extremely difficult in this business. Unfortunately, nobody has come knocking on my door wanting to do this type of career. I’m still analyzing the best way to attract and retain the right talent. I’m looking at progressing into a more technical side of fabrication with the use of lasers and plotters, and I believe this will attract the younger generation.

What are your biggest challenges?
My business has grown to a point that I now need to increase the size of my workshop; however, finding affordable space is very difficult. Most of the space available is listed at retail lease rates and I do not need window or sidewalk attraction like a retail business must have to survive. So, this puts me into a warehouse-type environment and those spaces come with their own set of issues such as no climate control, lighting issues and most don’t have restrooms.

Why are you an MFA member?
I am a member of MFA because of the great support it offers. It is a way to stay connected with others in the trade. It is also a way to learn what other fabricators are currently working on and have tried or are trying. I really enjoy attending the Marine Fabricators Conference. This is a great way to meet others in the business, find out what is new on the market and to offer and receive help when needed from different fabricators.

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