Brooklyn knit shop owner Claudette Brady has been making her own clothing since she was a kid. Today she owns and operates a knit shop and she’s not only living out her dream, but she’s also making a statement in the process. She’s dominating as an entrepreneur in an industry with very few Blacks at the top, while also fighting against gentrification in Brooklyn. Last year, DNAinfo reported that Bedford–Stuyvesant, her neighborhood, was among one of the top gentrifying neighborhoods across New York City with rent prices rising and a slew of new businesses popping up. Here’s how Claudette Brady balances striving to make her neighborhood a better place without it losing the heart of its culture and also running a successful business in an industry where she’s still party of the minority.
Full Name: Claudette Brady Age: 55 Title/Company: Owner/Slip Stitch Needlecraft Location: Bed-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Hometown: Jamaica Social Media: @slipstitchneedlecraft The Gig: We’re a full service yarn shop that offers a wide range of yarns from budget to high-end yarns. We also offer a range of knitting, dying and crochet classes. I got started online in 2012 before opening a small pop-up shop in 2015, then I moved to this larger space in 2016. Resistance Against A Changing Community: The biggest thing about gentrification is that I am now invisible to a portion of the population. It’s like I’m not seen. Old Bed-Stuy, I’m seen. We’re all seen. We’re all valued. We are all members of the community. A Safe Space For All: With our meet-ups and knitting circles, we’ve built a community for a lot of women, not just Black women, but a lot of women of color who feel that they’re at ease in a space [and can] have a conversation about what’s going on in their world without any recriminations. A Love For Brooklyn: I love Bed-Stuy. This is a neighborhood where if they don’t know your name, they know who you are. That’s the thing about Brooklyn, especially Bed-Stuy, it’s just easy to find a space or group to be in. Unfortunately, that’s changing with the new folks who are moving in. Battling Fibroids: Like many Black women, I had fibroids. I’m managing them, managing my stress levels because I found that when I was stressed, they exasperated the symptoms. On top of that, I got hyperthyroid disease, which is a familial disease, which caused my fibroids to grow rapidly. But knitting and crocheting really helped with that. The Importance Of Black Women Managing Stress: We really have to find an outlet, and a way to manage the stress in our life. For me, for a lot of my work life, I was the only Black, or the only woman in that environment, and often times, you tend to swallow a lot of stuff and internalize it. Advice For New Business Owners: Have money. Have friends. Have family. And, have a shoulder to cry on because you’re going to need it. Her Superpower: I can talk to anybody. To learn more about her business, Slip Stitch Needlecraft and to show your support, visit here.