WELCOME TO THE GOLDEN FIN
Welcome to the Golden Fin! Follow the life of Goldie, the cafe owner of the Golden Fin. Her establishment is a huge hit for its quirky aesthetic: goldfish. Everything from the chairs, food, and uniforms carries the goldfish motif, and while it is cute, no one understands why. But that doesn’t really matter to Goldie, she just wants to work on the next menu item as soon as possible.
The Story Before the Story
Welcome to the Golden Fin is set to explore the sense of emptiness and loneliness that can never seem to be filled no matter how much you try. Inspired from the loneliness I felt when my mother left me during my childhood, I seek to explore myself through my characters and come to understand my childhood emotions and the relationship with my mother.
Goldie and her story was initially a one-time project for class where the focus was to create a painting incorporating non-traditional materials. The painting consisted of a faceless traveler with a goldfish tail in a hot air balloon as goldfish fly in the night sky. It had a very vague story about the faceless traveler wanting to experience freedom for a while longer.
I then further developed the story to what would become the second iteration, because I thought this had potential to be a manageable children’s book. The faceless traveler became Goldi, a humanoid figure with goldfish features, and the goldfish became a bedtime story. Goldi’s mother would tell her the story about their descendants, goldfish who were large and roamed the skies. They would migrate to a certain floating island to lay their eggs. It was said that this place would envelop a person in warmth and love if one should visit. Although, it has been so long since goldfish have been seen flying that no one believes the island exists anymore.
That story would be the only thing Goldi’s mother would depart her with after she up and left one day and never came back. Goldi became a bit deluded and thought if she could find this island, then she would find her mother. However, it only led her to be called crazy and avoided in town as she researched ways to get to the island. Goldi eventually sets off on a venture, but only to be met with disappointment, exhaustion, and no mother.
I liked the idea of Goldi having a bit of an obsession with finding her mom, but this was not quite the execution I was looking for. I did not quite enjoy the children’s book format as much as I thought I would, so at some point it turned into a comic. The rough draft of this story was also too focused on the fantastical elements and less on Goldi’s development and feelings. And anytime I tried to fit that in, it felt off and rushed. So I decided to change the story and setting to explore Goldi’s relationship with herself, her mother, and others.
From a Balloon to a Cafe
Goldi then became Goldie after autocorrect changed “Goldi” one too many times. She now owns a cafe called “The Golden Fin,” which is centered around an obsession with goldfish. Everything from the chairs to the food to the uniforms are goldfish-themed. The story focuses around Goldie’s interactions with her coworkers and customers, and as the plot unfolds, it slowly reveals why Goldie has such an affinity towards goldfish.
Since I did not quite understand the situation at the time, I only saw it as her suddenly up and leaving me. I felt abandoned and unloved, and the only thing I could turn to was drawing to pretend I had a happiness that did not exist. Goldie is in a similar boat, being emotionally attached to goldfish due to a bedtime story her mother would tell her often before she left and never came back. Goldie then uses her cafe as a creative outlet; making the food, furniture, and decor goldfish-themed so that she can pretend to envelop herself in her mother’s love, or at least pretend her mother loves her.
Meet the Characters
Goldie: Her mother suddenly left and disappeared while she was an elementary school student and it has affected her ever since. She became the owner of her mother’s cafe when she grew old enough to take over. She changed the name to the Golden Fin and introduced goldfish-themed food and drink that boosted the Golden Fin’s popularity.
People would expect her to be as whimsy as her goldfish-themed cafe, but Goldie contrastingly has the demeanor of a crotchety old man who would not shy away from scaring an annoying child for her own personal entertainment from time to time. But she is not outright mean either and generally treats everyone respectfully. And by respectfully, I mean she likes to tease them in her own fun way. And the older locals generally like her as well, having seen her grow up. It is mainly the newer and younger customers that think she is a bit of a weirdo.
She’s never said this out loud, but she is proud how far her cafe has come from when she took it over to now. And she is also proud and grateful of Dapple and all her employees for helping her get this far.
Dapple: Dapple is a manager at the Golden Fin. She always puts on a calm and bubbly exterior and approaches life in an easy-going manner. She likes teasing everyone, trying to make the day a bit more interesting for herself. Although, she does get annoyed when she overhears customers speak badly of Goldie.
Dapple is Goldie’s best friend and coworker at the Golden Fin, and have known each other since elementary school, which would be around the time Goldie’s mom had left. While she understands that Goldie misses her mother, she never quite learned about the bedtime story so the goldfish are still a bit of a mystery to her. Regardless, she’s willing to step up when Goldie becomes increasingly late and absent at work during the fall season.
She is also the first to try Goldie’s newest drinks and foods to provide feedback before they hit the menu. Goldie trusts her judgment to be the gold standard for her food.
Rae: A college student and one of the first hires at the Golden Fin after Goldie took over. She is a shy and honest hard worker, making her one of the most respected employees at the cafe. If Goldie and Dapple are too busy to come into the cafe, Mio is the one they call up to take over.
Being fairly creative, she helped design a lot of the décor for the Golden Fin. She was initially very surprised and flustered when Goldie first approached her with a project to design new chairs, but she managed to prove to herself and Goldie that she is very capable at succeeding as an interior designer.
She is slowly taking less and less work hours as she prepares to graduate and begin work in another city (She doesn’t know this, but the others are preparing a nice going away party for her as a thank you).
Farrin: A college student who has been working at the Golden Fin for over a year now. She is a well put-together person who gets along well with all her coworkers. She puts on a lot of hours at work to help pay for rent and groceries and works on homework/study during her breaks. Because of this, the others make sure to check in on her often to give her food and convince her to go home to rest.
She gets along well with Dapple because Dapple gives her advice on how to support her friend who is going through a similar situation as Goldie. In the same vein, she respects Goldie a lot for finding a way to grow past her experiences and be as successful as she is now.
Goldie appreciates and respects Farrin’s hard work, but knows that she sometimes pushes too far. So she only gives her extra hours when she knows it’s not exam season, and was the person to initially tip off Dapple and Mio of her exhausting behavior. A knocked out college student at one of the tables scares customers, you know?
Rae: A college freshmen and the newest hire. Rae applied to work at the Golden Fin because she found the uniforms super cute! She is a tiny bit haughty, but only because she finds joy in being good at the things she applies herself to. She gets along well with Farrin and Mio as they are the ones currently teaching her the ropes of the Golden Fin.
She doesn’t know much of Goldie aside from her love of goldfish, so she is one of the people that thinks Goldie is a bit of a weirdo. She doesn’t voice this out loud, though. It might get her teased more by her boss!
She currently gets very excited when the Golden Fin puts on events because she gets to help make the costumes.