Meet Gussy --

Hello there! I'm Maggie, or Gussy -- whichever name you want to use is fine with me!

:) A handful of years ago my mom started calling me "Gussy" after Gussy the goose in Charlotte's Web {ya know, that one goose that talks a lot?} and it sort of just... stuck. Shortly after that I was learning how to sew and I knew I needed a name for my products; "Gussy Sews" seemed like a perfect fit.

I started blogging the summer of 2008, right after Zack + I got married {Grand Rapids, MI}:


Zack + I met our freshman year of college and have been dating ever since ♥. Zack is more than just a husband to me, since we met in the spring of 2004 we've been best friends. He challenges me, encourages me, loves me hard. I am so thankful for him.

Just a couple of months after getting married Zack set me up with a blog. Who knew that starting a blog would be the bridge to Zack + I traveling 8,500+ miles to Tanzania, Africa with Compassion International, just a few years later? I could never have dreamed such an opportunity would come our way and bless our family so much. The LORD is good!

Some video footage from our trip in Tanzania:


^ My dear friend, The Nester, and also one of my trip-mates...


^ You can read more about our trip through my blog posts...


{Letting your dirty feet rub against the dirty feet of your neighbor.} // one of my favorite posts


^ Did you know I challenged Shaun Groves, saying I'd go on this trip ONLY if Zack could come, too? ;)

But -- prior to traveling to Tanzania and having our hearts changed, this blog documented my love for handmade and building community and the things I was learning while I was teaching myself how to sew.

For a long time my focus was on handmade + community building. The more I learned -- the more we learned, the easier it was to share my personal experience as a handmade shop owner. Over the years my blog has evolved and I think it's beautiful to be see it's progression through my archives.

When I taught myself how to sew we were living in Detroit, MI. Zack + I were newlyweds and I had recently discovered Etsy. And ohhhhhh my, I was infatuated with the idea that women my age not only knew how to sew, but they were making a living from this amazing trade. I suddenly became determined to do the same thing; the Gussy Sews shop was created.


I started with Etsy and opened my first handmade shop. I was constantly learning new techniques, sewing new items, and sharing all of this on my blog. One day though I realized most of my Etsy shop traffic was coming from my very own blog -- not Etsy, so I made the decision to move my shop to Big Cartel, where it's currently hosted. Since my goal was to work on Gussy Sews full-time I knew watching where my advertising money went was important. Like, really important. I made the switch, shared why, and never looked back.

Above + below: photos from our Minneapolis studio...




Since then so much has changed. So many exciting things have come our way, so many amazing friendships have bloomed.

One thing I've learned about blogging and sharing your life/heart online is you have to take time each day to step away from it. Be present with your family, make sure you're going on enough adventures, take some time to thank the LORD for this amazing, beautiful life you've been given.

I used to think having a blog meant it was "all about me", but I've learned life is an intertwined story and we're all linked together -- somehow -- even if it's just a small, precious link. The things we experience wouldn't be the same if it weren't for the people around us.

We've lived in Detroit, Minneapolis and are currently in Los Angeles.


Keeping an open mind, sharing what I know, building friendships -- these things have helped me to quit my day job and focus on Gussy Sews full-time. One of my favorite blog categories to write on is about HOW to build your handmade business or blog. Also, I completely blame my dear friend The Nester for writing on the "handmade business" topic for 31 days straight in October 2012 ;)


Zack + I have battled 7 months of unemployment in Detroit; moved to Minneapolis in a single day; braved me quitting my day job to focus on a newly-discovered handmade dream; adopted a puppy, hired a team of Gussy Sews assistants {shipping, business assistant, production}; celebrated his career advancements {visual effects/production within media+entertainment}; moved to Los Angeles to focus on Zack's career; and welcomed our first baby, Maxwell, born March 12, 2013.

And so I challenge you --

Those dreams you have? Let's chase 'em! Every minute you doubt yourself is a minute you can’t ever get back.


Welcome to my first handmade shop, Gussy Sews!

I'm Maggie, owner and designer of Gussy Sews, Caroline-made, and the blog Maggie Whitley Designs.

MWD is a tight-knit community of handmade makers, wives, mamas and encouragers. I share inspiration alongside my story as a handmade business owner and mama.

My husband and I live in a cozy apartment in Los Angeles with our two young children. We are adventure seekers, dog lovers and color enthusiasts. Click here to read more...
Maggie Whitley