Over the course of just a few days, Nisha Blackwell went from losing her job to launching her own successful and eco-friendly business making bows and bow ties for kids.
The Pittsburgh resident was laid off right before she was supposed to attend a birthday party for her friend’s daughter. Blackwell, who was also in nursing school, didn’t have enough money to buy a gift, but she did own a brand new sewing machine, still in the box, and fabric. She decided to make the birthday girl several bows, but there was one big problem: she had no idea how to sew.
“I was literally typing into YouTube ‘how to turn a Brother sewing machine on,’ ‘how to thread the bobbin,'” Blackwell told CBS News. After watching tons of videos, she had made enough bows to fill a box. Blackwell held her breath when the girl opened her present, but there was no need to worry: the bows were a hit, and Blackwell left the party with six customers who wanted their own bows.
Blackwell launched an accessories business called Knotzland, and after constant requests for items for boys, she pivoted to making sustainable bow ties. It was also important to Blackwell that she help women in her neighborhood start their own home-based businesses, and she now serves as a mentor. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Blackwell switched things up once more, and began crafting face masks.
The tools people need to transform their lives are right in front of them, Blackwell told CBS News, and she used the technology available to her for good by pulling up YouTube and teaching herself a new skill. “It’s never too late to start,” she said. “It’s never too late to follow your dream.”
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