At Gjemeni, we celebrate creativity – we’re a startup that can’t stop, won’t stop rethinking furniture. And we love hearing about other innovators out there, especially those who built their Big Idea while sitting on their couch. Meet one of them right here:
Who: Madison Maxey, Tech & Textile Genius
Why she left college and never looked back: I left Parsons School of Design and was awarded a Thiel fellowship. Under the fellowship, I began exploring how technology could optimize pattern-making. Things have really evolved from there.
Her business today: I’m the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of LOOMIA, which is like the Gore-Tex of smart textiles. We make soft, flexible circuits that can add extra functionality like heat, light, or touch-sensing to soft goods. So as one example, imagine a jacket that can warm you up, without heavy wires.
Why fabric? I think textiles are almost as foundational to our lives as food. You cannot live in modern society without clothes. However, clothes get so little innovation and I thought there could be a way to bring more functionality to the textiles that surround our world. And it became a compulsion. I just kept working on what I was interested in and kept moving along any way I could. I was inspired by curiosity.
Having developed prototypes and workshops for companies like North Face and Adidas, what’s next: We are launching our product early in 2019. Keep an eye out for LOOMIA on the market!
The best part of starting your own business: The learning! I have learned so much about how the world works. I feel as though these past few years have been a crash course in everything from supply chain to materials science research, and I’m grateful for that education.
The hardest part: It’s hard trying to learn how to run a business while running a business. We also work in an industry that is very new and doesn’t have a lot of standards yet. It’s like deciding what a plane is, while building the plane, while falling from the sky.
Most valuable resource: My work is in a new arena, so conferences and websites weren’t really specific enough. Mentors, friends, community – that’s what really made the difference. People who could share their knowledge as I developed my business.
The best part about launching a business from your couch: The convenience is great, as is the ability to focus. If you’re home alone on your couch, nothing can distract you!
What a typical couch-preneur day looked like: I used to work from my tiny couch quite a bit. You could find be there with my laptop perched on the sofa armrest and my neck craned towards the screen. I was doing everything: sending emails, doing research, designing decks, writing Arduino scripts and more. It was always tricky finding a place to put my laptop. On my lap is too low, but on the armrest is a bit risky. I always took the risk ;). [The Gjemeni offers you 16 positions so you can lounge comfortably with your laptop…no balancing-on-the-arm required.]
Craziest moment: We worked with a company in India once and I absolutely took calls in the middle of the night. I would wake up 5 minutes before the call, talk to myself a little so my voice didn’t sound groggy, and then hop on the phone.
Peak couch-preneur-ing: Alas, I don’t work that much from my couch lately as my job is very hands on: I need to make things and be in the studio. However, I do love work-from-home mornings on the couch whenever I can grab one. I always think of new solutions to problems when I’m there at home, feeling so relaxed.
Gjemeni is made for the couch-preneur life. Our versatile couch adjusts to 16 positions for working, lounging and brainstorming, napping – and it becomes an incredibly comfortable bed so you or your co-founder can crash on it, night after night. It’s also wired for productivity, with 4 USB charging ports and 2 110-volt sockets. If you’re in go-mode on your start-up, Gjemeni’s got your back.