Owning Knotzland has unlocked a level of drive and determination that I have never imagined existed within me. From building a team, collaborating with other artists on collections, to the day to day problem solving that comes with the use of reclaimed fabrics, its all hard and many many learning experiences but I wouldn't trade it for the world. So many people think that business ownership is unreachable but with the right passion, the right product, the right gumption, and planning it can also change your life.
In 2014, I taught myself how to sew in order to create a gift for my good friend’s one-year-old. I used a machine that I had formerly purchased, but was too afraid to use it because of fear of breaking it. Along with the sewing machine, I had a stash of thrifted clothing that I wanted to repair and rework but never got around to it. This bag of items became the source of fabric used for the hair bows. At this point, the desire to create something special had overcome the fear of getting it wrong. I set up the machine and a mini-craft station on an ironing board in the living room of my grandfather’s old house and stayed up most of the night teaching myself to sew until I could make a thing. This ended up being hair bows. I then packaged the bows and took them to the birthday party of my friend’s daughter. To my surprise, handmade hair-bows were well received. I left the party with 6-7 customers who wanted to purchase bows for their daughters, and as the months went on, I began getting requests for items in the boys and menswear space. Curious about this, I began the research and development which eventually became Knotzland. Knotzland was incorporated in 2015, and since then we have been redefining the bowtie in a fun, environmentally friendly way and have shipped to customers all over the world. From day one, our bowties have been made in Pittsburgh using reclaimed fabrics and materials while working alongside other sewing enthusiasts around the city and region to aid in work from home production. This unique ecosystem of sewists is a vital part of our business, and has grown into a community of 23 women who earn a living wage while helping create the beautiful bowties that we share with our customers.