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Steven Tatar
Appreciative Reflection Designer, Creative Director and
Entrepreneur
Steven Tatar and I have known each other for around fifteen years. When I moved back to
Cleveland in the mid-90s, I was a single parent with a three-year-old daughter and
freelancing at the time. Steven was creative director of American Greetings when I first
queried him about writing opportunities. Although he left American Greetings shortly after
that call, I freelanced at the e-commerce firm MarchFIRST where he reemerged as the
Creative Director.
His edgy, yet pragmatic design skills traverse multiple disciplines –- art directing, branding,
architecture, sculpting, place-making, and entrepreneurship. His roles have included
leadership, teambuilding, and creative management for major corporations and
development projects. If I were developing a new or existing business, he would be the
first person to call for an unusual, intelligent approach. For his website, visit:
(http://www.steventatar.com). As a self-employed independent contractor, he has hired
freelancers and now operates in the entrepreneurial realm as the driving force of a new, old
vintage knitwear company Ohio Knitting Mills. Click on the following site:
(http://www.ohioknittingmills.com/).
For our interview, we are sitting in a 3,000 square foot industrial space built around 1890.
The building has morphed from a stable into a machine shop, then converted to a train car
maintenance station, and now is the headquarters from Steven’s newly branded company
Ohio Knitting Mills that is situated in a rough area of Cleveland. I have a hard time
concentrating because I am distracted by a fabulous, colorful collection of vintage sweaters
from 1947 to 1974.
As we are talking a delivery guy brings the first copies of his new book, The Ohio Knitting
Mills Knitting Book: 26 Patterns Celebrating Four Decades of American Style (Tatar with
Grollmus, 2010) which is his homage to vintage knitwear and industrial design. As I write
an appreciative reflection of Steven’s journey –- from discovering this hidden gem of a
company, to rebranding Ohio Knitting Mills, and then seeking production partners for
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