Or at least, that’s the slogan and the mission behind our latest #MakerCrush: Knotty Gal.
Founded in 2013 by mother-daughter duo Nur-E Gulshan and Nur-E Farhana Rahman, Knotty Gal is the direct result of the pair’s desire to support the Bhandari Girls’ School in Bogra, Bangladesh, founded by Nur-E Farhana’s great-grandfather in the 1960s. Between 10 and 15% of each sale goes directly to the school, so it’s easy to do some good by being Knotty ;)
I had the pleasure of spending the morning with these two brilliant ladies just a few days after they shot a brand new Brit + Co online class. Stay tuned for that — it launches tomorrow!
Before we tempt you with all sorts of knotty knowledge, we want to introduce you to this inspiring duo. The mama in this pair has over 25 years of knot-making experience under some of the oldest cord and trimming manufacturers in the country. She’s even worked with design houses that collaborated with Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera and Anna Sui. At breakfast, she told me about how she was a go-to knot-making and jewelry expert back when knots came into vogue like crazy in the ’80s (hello nautical trend!). We love that this trend is back, and that Nur-E Gulshan’s got some serious chops in the creative department.
Her daughter Nur-E Farhana Rahman is a former consultant and USAID contractor turned social entrepreneur. She has a passion for international development and a love for design and couldn’t imagine combining those two interests in any other way than with Knotty Gal.
In talking with them, it’s clear that this is a mother-daughter pair that has magically managed to be each other’s yin and yang. They tell stories together and speak about the challenges of starting a company almost in unison, and both of these women exude a sense of joy and passion for their work that is truly infectious. Now, let’s hear directly from them about what inspires them, what they love about making and what advice they have for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create and make?
For us, inspiration comes in many forms, but especially from our travels. Different places, food, culture, colors, prints, and people all inspire us. We’ve been fortunate to have been to a number of different places, but whether it’s Petra or Port-Au-Prince, there’s always something we take back with us that inspires our work. We love to design and create because it’s so fulfilling to be able to take that inspiration from an idea all the way to a finished product, especially one that is not only beautiful, but also doing good in this world.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Don’t ever stop. Whether you make what you make professionally or you make for your own personal fulfillment, don’t stop for too long. It’s good to pause and recharge, but always get right back to it. It doesn’t have to be the same type of project, or considered “useful,” or “beautiful,” or even “good.” What matters is that you create and always allow yourself to continue creating, because it often feels like chaos and destruction surround us, so to create is a beautiful gift we give to ourselves and to the world.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
Without fairly recent technologies, there wouldn’t be a Knotty Gal. We are still primarily an e-commerce business, and without technologies such as our Shopify platform and social media, it would be so much more difficult to reach our customers. The technology that exists today to assist e-commerce businesses is astounding, and without all of the tools we use, from our platform to our apps that keep us on track (hello, Wunderlist!), we would not have been able to launch so quickly or efficiently. It would have required a much heavier capital flow and a more cumbersome process for targeting new Knotty Gals. Thank God for technology!
What’s on your studio playlist?
Beyoncé!!!! There’s nothing better for getting pumped up!
How do you get into the creative flow? How does it feel?
Sometimes it’s tough to get into the creative flow, and it feels like you’ll never have another creative moment in your life. But after you pause and recharge, a single idea will typically come. For us, once we start with this one idea and discuss possibilities, suddenly others pop up. Before you know it, it sometimes feels like there’s a broken dam and there’s a gush of new ideas flowing toward you all at once. It’s a great feeling, but the art lies in taking that gush of new ideas and being able to select which ones will be the winners.
Hear, hear. These two women have plenty of inspiration to offer and we can’t wait to share their class with you tomorrow. In the meantime, you can check out some of their awesome pieces in the B+C Shop. Now, go forth and be knotty :)