Nisha Blackwell’s Knotzland store opens in Wilkinsburg

Knotzland, the fashion startup that makes hand-sewn bow ties from recycled fabrics, moved into its first stand-alone space over the weekend. Knotzland Bowties Studio & Showroom opened on Saturday on S. Trenton Ave. in Wilkinsburg, not far from its birthplace in Homewood.

The name Knotzland came to founder Nisha Blackwell in early 2016, while she was admiring the view of Homewood from her grandmother’s backyard. The company, launched in 2014, was originally called “Have Knotz” — a playful description of the startup’s neatly knotted bow ties that also served as a tribute to the neighborhood’s grit and resilience.

Rankin church winds back to life as Mary’s Vine wine lounge

The former Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Rankin — the big orange brick church on the hillside above that end of the blue Rankin Bridge — gets new life Friday when it opens as Mary’s Vine, a wine lounge.

They tried to raise a lot of money for the business from crowdfunding efforts, but that didn’t work, so the family financed everything themselves, only recently securing loans from Bridgeway Capital, the Enterprise Zone Corp. and Allegheny County Economic Development for what’s a nearly $2 million project. Mom, who is 58, and dad, who is 57, maxed out their credit cards and cashed out their retirement accounts.

How the thriving local restaurant scene feeds Pittsburgh’s maker movement

Irwin-Scott credits Bridgeway Capital and their MONMADE exhibitions for creating a network and laying the foundation for a vibrant maker economy.

In her view, the opening of the TRYP Hotel in Lawrenceville was a watershed moment for the Pittsburgh crafter economy. “It’s the first time in my memory of any of the restaurants and hotels that we’ve done where there’s been such a huge commitment to showcasing local work,” she says.

How to attract great workers? Local manufacturers learn innovative workforce development in Homewood

On Tuesday, June 18, Catalyst Connection gathered dozens of manufacturers from across Western Pennsylvania for a tour of 7800 Susquehanna in Homewood, a socially-conscious business hub funded by Bridgeway Capital. During the tour and discussions with some of the in-house experts, representatives from Mitsubishi, MECCO laser-engraving, Quality Mould machine shop and other organizations learned about innovative approaches to workforce development.

Saturday, May 25: DC2 Symposium at Touchstone Center for Crafts

Saturday, May 25: DC2 Symposium at Touchstone Center for Crafts
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Makers of all ilks are invited to retreat to the tranquil Laurel Highlands center for the first annual symposium presented by Bridgeway Capital’s Craft Business Accelerator and Monmade. Surrounded by inspiring woodlands, entrepreneurial creatives from throughout the region and country will discuss the intersection of design, craft and commerce. Conversations, keynote talks and Q&As will explore global markets, handmade and manufactured production and sustainability. There will also be time for networking and socializing, plus a catered luncheon.

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