The Steel City Fiber Collective is the brain-child of a long-standing knitting group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It all started during our semi-annual retreat last March when one of us wondered, "Why can't you rent a spinning wheel?"
We decided to create a space in Pittsburgh for crafters to try out all sorts of fiber-crafting equipment before deciding if they wanted to make the investment in purchasing equipment to learn a new craft, and the Steel City Fiber Collective was born. We are raising money to get our physical space started. We will be using the funds we raise for the following:
- Finding an appropriate space to rent in Pittsburgh, PA
- Paying the first few months of rent on the space
- Any necessary changes or construction within the space
- Furnishing our space with counters, displays, and other furniture
- Purchasing fiber crafting equipment and supplies for our members to use (looms, spinning wheels, knitting machines, etc)
The Steel City Fiber Collective will provide a unique community space for crafters of all backgrounds. We want anybody and everybody to visit us to share the adventure of learning a new skill! By creating a space dedicated to learning and experimenting with fiber arts and crafts, we hope to promote a DIY culture which will enrich the lives of Pittsburghers.
There are many ways a community can benefit from fiber crafts:
- Working on crafts and art can positively affect our health and well-being (http://bjo.sagepub.com/content/76/2/50.abstract). The act itself can be meditative, and the finished project can give people a sense of accomplishment.
- A collaborative and supportive environment can provide a sanctuary for people in a big city. We want our space to be comfortable and personal and want our members to get to know each other.
- Hands-on activities provide quality time for spending with friends and family. Learning a new fiber craft with a loved one is a fun, educational, and kid-friendly bonding activity.
- Fiber crafts can provide people with "unplugged" skills or hobbies. At Steel City Fiber Collective, people will connect with themselves and others instead of screens.
- Learning fiber skills on the individual scale preserves the cultural heritage of fiber processing which is lost in fiber goods manufactured on the global scale. We want to pass on these time-tested skills on to the next generation.
The Steel City Fiber Collective will operate as a studio or makerspace. Users can buy day passes or monthly memberships in exchange for the opportunity to use the space and equipment with the help of experienced crafters. In addition, we will host classes and events related to spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing, sewing, and fiber processing.
Space is an essential aspect of any makerspace, and we need your help in securing an appropriate facility in a location convenient for our members. After we find our space, we will purchase equipment and furniture for our members to use.
Our initial goal of $10,000 covers costs associated with acquiring the space, paying for the first couple months of rent, utilities, and taxes, and accounts for Kickstarter fees.
Yes, our starting goal sounds low for such an ambitious project! We intend to secure more traditional funding as well as crowd-sourced funding. Banks are more likely to give traditional loans for equipment rather than rent, that's why we are turning to you!
Thanks for your support!
Risks and challenges
We are just a group of friends with an idea! The Steel City Fiber Collective will be run by a group of well-rounded crafty ladies who don't have MBAs and have never run a business before. Our team has proactively attended several small business workshops and consulted with professionals to fill any gaps in our entrepreneurship skill sets.
The Steel City Fiber Collective has already faced the worst setback imaginable for us. Originally the SCFC was composed of five brilliant fiber artists, but our dear friend and cofounder Marwa Kandil passed away at the beginning of August. The remaining four of us have persevered, and we intend to make the Steel City Fiber Collective a success to honor Marwa's memory.
This is a very new business idea, and we don’t know of any other businesses quite like it. It’s very possible that we won’t get off the ground at all but our market research has demonstrated that a lot of other Yinzers* are excited about the Steel City Fiber Collective! However, even if the space doesn’t work out in the end, we promise to get our tangible rewards out, no matter what!
*Yinzer, n. Native of the city of Pittsburgh. Derived from “Yinz”, plural form of “you” in the Western Pennsylvania dialect.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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