Upholstery Turned Nautical
My father founded Vermont Custom Canvas 46 years ago in an old gas station in Saint Albans Bay, Vermont. He re-upholstered furniture & car interiors, until Mr. Customer parked at the pier across the street asked him to repair his bimini top.
The following year, Mr. Customer came back asking my dad to make a new top, because he did such a great job on the repair… and that, is when Upholstery turned Nautical. He was trained by Hank, owner of a local upholstery shop that paid my dad roughly $35 a week, which equated to $29 gross after tax. All these years later and you can’t even buy dinner with that amount.
Dad was self-taught, he always had been since he was a kid. One of the first things he ever made a child: a soup can he turned into a shovel by soldering a handle onto it. Growing up I remember that het knew the best way to do pretty much everything. He knew how he wanted to make things look, and started entering competitions, taking 1st place.
During my winter breaks in high school I would go to restaurants and gyms to pick up work for extra money. I graduated in 2005 and began working full time with my dad, I was his full time apprentice for 4 years and completed my associates degree at the same time, everything interested me from Business Law, Psychology & Accounting. I started running his business until I moved to California and started Even Keel Canvas, LLC. in 2012.
To begin marketing I decided to add to my Scuba diving certifications. I thought I’d have fun while meeting boaters and within a couple weeks of living in California I was introduced to a few people and landed my first job in Marina Del Rey. All of my work was on one dock, until a couple years ago when the marina closed for all of the renovations. My old customers were now all over Marina Del Rey, which grew my business exponentially.
January 2019, I attended my first Marine Fabricator Conference (MFA). I have never had any formal training by schools, I don’t have certifications or awards for my work yet, but after attending the MFA Conference 2019 I have new passions & goals to achieve. I am the youngest female entrepreneur in my field, with over 14 years experience full time & a lifetime raised by one of the greatest innovators ever, my dad. I hope that my kids will continue the trade, but at the very least they will benefit from the exposure of the boating world & problem solving skills.