May 25, 8:30am - 10:00am EDT. Hosted at Radiant Hall
part of a series on Commitment
About the speaker
Nisha Blackwell is motivated by three things – her passion, the world around her, and the desire to create an environmentally friendly business. In 2014, Nisha created a hair bow as a gift for her friend’s daughter. At the party, the parents loved it. After that, Nisha discovered two things: there was an untapped market in the men’s bowtie world and there was a lot of discarded textile waste ending up in landfills. This is what drove her to create Knotzland.
The hallmark of Knotzland is that they source or “rescue” all of the material used to make one of a kind artisan bowties from places like Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, local artists, designers, tailors and upholsters as well as larger companies. Knotzland aims to build a powerhouse up-cycling business that supports people, and the environment, all while using items that already exist.
Knotzland’s mission isn’t just about reducing waste in the environment, but also making an impact in the community. Each bowtie is custom made by a local ecosystem of seamstress who are interested in sewing for both entrepreneurship or to earn flexible income while working from home. The Seamstress Program not only allows Knotzland to keep up with their production, but also gives women the much-needed chance at earning extra and flexible income, things that Nisha realized she needed along the way.
Today, Knotzland has created and sold over 350 bowties, rescued 700lbs of discarded materials, has 12 of women in their Seamstress Program and now employs a small team to help run in-house operations. Next, Nisha is working to break in to the wedding market and will continue to grow Knotzland to support the local Pittsburgh community, all while remaining environmentally friendly.
New Sun Rising (NSR) designs and implements programs that create economic opportunity, solve social challenges, and strengthen the vibrancy of place. As a nonprofit 501©(3) charitable organization, we serve as an educator, resource provider, connector, and activator of neighborhood-scale innovation. Our focus is on underserved communities and how regenerative growth strategies can be utilized for equitable development.
Public Allies Pittsburgh is a program of CORO Pittsburgh, and a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network.