Thanks for the push to make this happen, I'm not always the best at talking about myself, but am super honored to take up the invitation to join the ranks here.
I came to pick up a torch after some years of corporate frustration. I was working in retail display painting and building on a pretty miserable salary for living in Los Angeles while being obligated to work insane amounts of unpaid overtime for shitty people. I had moved from Las Vegas at 20 to take the job and escape casino life, so it served its purpose until I quit, sold my car, and rode Seattle to San Francisco with a couple friends. I was commuting 18 miles round trip on a Zullo track frame at the time, and with some not-so-great-fit advice, landed a 56cm Zullo road frame that I built for the trip. I'm all legs, so it was 1000 miles of discomfort with a tiny stem and pretty poor weighted handling. Those two bikes were absolutely my introduction to how cool handmade frames could be.
I returned to LA from the trip with a lot of uncertainty. I knew I loved getting paid to make stuff, but didn't have any interest in returning to working for a corporate monster. I was living in a punk house with 6 people, a couple dozen bikes and zero cars. We were the place where all the bike stuff met, we all worked on organizing Bike Summer, and all we did was ride and make stuff. I picked up some messenger work and started making plans with two of my friends to drive out to Yamaguchi's course in the summer of 2006. As far as picking Yamaguchi was concerned, I had an undying love for Keirin, track bikes and Colorado, so I couldn't imagine going anywhere else.
I spent the years after attending Yamaguchi trying to figure out where to find space in Los Angeles, money for tools, racing at the track or messenger events, and just trying to learn whatever I could from whoever would dump information on me. I built one bike in a friend's shop with him for another friend (it's still a daily commuter) until early 2009 when I built out live/work space and started building from a warehouse my bicycle mechanic boyfriend and I rented to basically make a bike dork's dream house. I was working in Bicycle Advocacy in an office by this time. It was great, and I was happy to do something cool with great people, but if I never step foot in another office, I'll be happy with that.
I started off with only lugs, built my first all-fillet brazed frame in 2010 and haven't looked back much. I take on the occasional lugged frame for friends or returning customers, but for the most part I prefer the fillet brazing. My shop has moved so much that I'm pretty much 100% hacksaw, files and sweat.
In early 2013, I left LA, my job of 5 years, my relationship, basically everything. I spent a couple months in Vegas hanging out with my family and unfucking my wait list. I got pretty bogged down at the end of my time in LA and needed to isolate myself and deal with all the changes and making bikes for waiting customers. I was fortunate they were pretty much all friends and extremely patient with me. I had personal things, work things, paint problems, the run of it. I moved across state lines again at the end of 2013 to Boulder, CO and settled in to sharing shop space with some friends screen printing. Less than 6 months later my dad died unexpectedly, and I picked up and moved AGAIN back to Vegas where I've been since July of 2014. It's mostly been making the best out of an awful unexpected situation, but I don't know many people who could drop everything and move across the country and keep working, so I consider myself fortunate there. My mom is a badass and my dad was my biggest supporter and definitely influenced me to work with my hands. The man taught me to sandblast at 8 years old. I'm anticipating a move back to Colorado, but am holding out for the right place and selling my dad's unfinished airplane. In the meantime, I keep myself happy in the shop and hanging out with the best dog.