Norma Knecht, Fiberge
Common sense dictates yarn sales increase during autumn and winter—something about our rivery winds just begs for a scarf. Luckily, Over-the-Rhine is now home to a knitting boutique called
Fibergé. Fibergé Knitting in the Nati is run by Norma Knecht, who sells natural fiber yarns and provides knitting/crochet classes and assistance.
What is your background in knitting? Why did you open up Fibergé ?
I started knitting about 10 years ago, I went to a shop similar to mine now and took classes in Indianapolis. I began knitting after the passing of my mother. Being a Type A personality, it was hard to find a hobby or activity to give me any kind of peace. I started knitting and it became my meditation and yoga, you could say.
When I moved to Cincinnati in 2009 I could not find a yarn store that carried the types of yarns and offered assistance like the one I went to in Indianapolis. My career was definitely going toward owning my own business. I was the Director of Business Development for a small firm that worked mainly in the construction industry. My focus was on lobbying for small/minority/woman-owned businesses in the government/construction arena.
My move to Cincinnati was for a fiancé who lived here; shortly after moving here I realized I had made a mistake! So I dumped the boy, which was very traumatic and led to my knitting even more. A month after the break up, my father suddenly passed away. My life was a mess! I soon found myself saying, “Life is short. What would I do if I could do any job in the world?” Well, the answer was knit and teach others. As of now, myself and my staff have taught almost 1,000 Cincinnatians to knit!
What prompted your move to Over-the-Rhine? Wasn't your old location perfect for the knitting crowd?
My move to OTR was prompted by rent. Montgomery was great, and I loved it, but it was time for a change. Knitting is somewhat seasonal, and the summers were hard to get rent paid. I have been paying attention to the development of OTR for a while and wanted to be a part of it's growth. When I met Moe Rouse, the owner of Mannequin Boutique, a nonprofit vintage clothing store on Vine Street, I knew I wanted to make the move! She had made a deal to have her shop rent-free for two years; this year she started paying rent. Her goal is to give everything she can to charity.
What is next for Fibergé?
Next for Fibergé is online sales. We should be up and running with an e-commerce site in a few weeks. I have found we get several tourists here, and they want buy from me online. Fibergé is also looking to expand into all the fiber arts, such as weaving, dyeing, spinning and felting. The supplies for these arts cannot be found in the Cincinnati area. We would like to be the full fiber arts provider in the area. I am currently in enrolled in XLAB at Xavier to put together a new buisness plan and seek funding for our expansion.
Interview by Sean M. Peters