which is not yet understood” (Miller, 1938/1961). Milller’s description captures the
messiness of the creative process. Although brainstorming can appear chaotic, there is a
new life form emerging and the structure is shaped with discipline, coordinated efforts, and
an overarching vision. Innovation and invention involves elements of chaos but also
coordinated action.
Ohio Knitting Mills: From Freelancer to Entrepreneur
Steven comments on the freelancers in this economic downturn, “We are the tail that the
dog wags. Freelancers are absolutely dispensable and disposable commodities.
Particularly now and it’s such a sellers market for jobs right now.” He made the logical
transition from freelancer to entrepreneur and I think that is where many freelancers are
heading. After all, we have the wherewithal to help launch other people’s business. Why
not our own? Steven comments, “I was forced to do that. The reality is that I never hung
out a shingle ‘Steven Creative or Designer.’ It’s always been me out and about
networking and seeing what’s going on. I see there’s an opportunity for XYZ and I’m the
guy to do it. Part of the process or game there is to i.e. convince the client that I can help
your needs. That’s what I do.”
Ohio Knitting Mills is a full-circle creative branding enterprise that Steven discovered,
created packaged and Steven adds, “raised the money, opened the showroom, swept
the floors, greeted the customers.” I wondered how he found this stash of amazing vintage
sweaters and he replies, “I was actually looking for some steel I needed a high beam to
run a trolley on it so I could pick up a heavy mold without hurting my back and setting it in
a heating oven. I was snooping around for some material-handling stuff. I was also asked
to find a location for the annual meeting of the Mid-Town Cleveland development team.
They were having their annual meeting and they wanted to go to a downtown hotel. I said
‘why don’t we keep it in the hood?’ Somebody mentioned that the Oho Knitting Mill had a
lot of space. They sold and they’re moving out of the building. I walked in and there were
these old knitting machines in operation still knitting. There were thousands and thousands
of cones of yarn. They were in the process of packing it up and shutting it down. But they
were still running out a few contracts and orders. There was a skeleton crew of about a
dozen people at the max. It was clearly on its way down. There were whole floors that
were empty. The vibe was so real. It was old school. I met Gary. He was the guy whose
hands weren’t dirty and was telling people what to do. I said this is really incredible. I said,
‘where am I and who is this?’”
“The sweaters weren’t out they were in storage. They were knitting plain solid color
tubes and acrylics for blankets. I didn’t see amazing product. I was just seeing machines.
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