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true, the good, and the possible” (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005, p. 50)
Steven Tatar, an entrepreneur, describes taking the opportunity presented and allowing the
“what if” possibilities to change the original dynamics and catapult him into creating a new
enterprise:
What Ohio Knitting Mills has come to represent is a wonderful happenstance is that
when I met Gary and found out that he had a huge collection of sweaters from the
40s that he didn’t know what to do with and maybe I had some ideas. He hired me
to do some consulting and marketing for him. To him the problem meant selling
things. I came back to him and said my advice to him again this is an example of
creating opportunity. I said, here’s how I would solve your problem. I would create
opportunity. I think you’re sitting on a gold mine. The raw DNA of a fabulous,
unbelievable, potentially monster of an apparel brand call it Ohio Knitting Mills. He
said, ‘huh?’ He said, ‘I’ve been doing it for 41 years if you think it’s so great why
don’t you do it?’
The way I looked at it and described the opportunity was a vast archive of really
cool, quirky knit pieces as the basis for articulating the brand for telling the story. The
story of Ohio Knitting Mills is the authentic story of heartland manufacturing in a
community of makers in the industrial era and the craftsmanship of that era to make
goods that reflect postwar American popular culture. It’s cool. It’s about colors,
patterns, and playfulness. It’s so rare to have something to find something like this
that has a whole language. It’s like discovering the Lost City of Atlantis. But he
trusted me, ‘He said I don’t get it but I get you and I’ll support you in doing it.’ The
way we structured the deal was that I had control of the materials and the message.
I have to build and create the brand. I have to know that I’m not competing with you
and anyone else. We wrote an option agreement that gives me the exclusive rights
to buy and sell all of the Ohio Knitting Mills garments for a certain period of time. We
established a price structure. I pay for every piece that I sell. If it’ a one, two three
of a kind I pay x-dollars. If it’s a piece in quantities in four or more I pay another price.
Then I just went for it. I raised privately $100,000 from four individuals. Again it was
2005 and 2006, a few people said I’ll throw $50,000 your way and see what
happens. They’re still friends. I had drinks with a few of these people last night and
they said to keep going.
In the discovery phase of finding out what their client needs, the discussion shifts to what is
possible, and then the dialogue moves to how can we move forward together. Steven and
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