164 
Don’t Hang Out With People Who Give Agreement To Your Complaints
Steven offers good advice, “gravitate toward colleagues and find people whose value you
recognize and hang out with them hang on to them. That includes a variety of people. I
don’t think it’s good to hang out with people who give agreement to your complaints.
Hang out with people who believe in their ability to achieve their goals and adopt their
thinking.”
He is not afraid to ask for the deal and says, “I’ve been forced into it. Every entrepreneur
will tell you retrospectively how everybody thinks it was a great idea but I promise you
nobody thought it was a great idea in the beginning. It was a great idea when they
demonstrated the success of it. Before that it was just an idea. I say to students ideas
are a dime a dozen to people like us. It only matters what you do with it. If you can’t build
the process, the plan and negotiate and make it yours and own it, and own it and own it
again and own it some more.”
The Takeaway: One Year Later
Steven is still freelancing while working on attracting investment partners to start producing
the collection. Recently, he sold 5% of Ohio Knitting Mills to pursue the next phase of
manufacturing which gives him the financing to produce an American made limited edition
run of the dress featured on the cover of the Ohio Knitting Mills book (Figure 1).
He has an ongoing partnership with the firm Design Within Reach where he has “trunk
shows” at multiple store locations throughout the United States. This is helpful for both
businesses and provides a new kind of model for “mutual coordination” (Gergen, Schrader
& Gergen, p. 247). Click the following link for Design Within Reach and Ohio Knitting Mills
(http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2007/08/ohio_knitting_mills_trunk_show.html).
The “pop-up” stores he developed were an inventive way to showcase his product. This
started when a real estate developer wanted him to lease space in a trendy urban renewal
section of Cleveland. At that point, Steven had closed the Ohio Knitting Mills store in
Brooklyn, New York and did not have the resources to rent. He was offered free space last
Christmas (2010) to sell sweaters and sportswear. This allowed him to raise capital and
attract potential investors for Ohio Knitting Mills. Click on the website to see Steven’s
Cleveland Institute of Art video showing his merchandise and pop up location site
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7sFwH3I7DQ).
Steven Tatar is all about collaboration, community, repurposing, inventing and
strengthening manufacturing in America. Current projects include designing a collaborative
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