Cosy handknit gloves perfect for that winter morning! Designed with laughter and love in Sante Fe, New Mexico. 100% women-owned and operated, Fair Trade compliant, and handcrafted right in Peru by artisans from local communities! 20% of all profits go to the Bodhi Fund, a fund designed to cover all New Mexico children who are diagnosed with rare cancers or blood diseases and require out-of-state treatment. Twitten is, without doubt, a natural choice if you are looking for gloves with a cause!
Here’s an interview with founders with founders Connie Kaiserman and Jennifer Issacson!
As Moms, We absolutely love these adorable Twitten lines! We love that Twitten is handcrafted and operated Fairtrade, and even better, owned by two Moms!! Tell us the story behind this amazing line. How did it all begin?
During frigid University of Pennsylvania football games in the sixties, I knit my first Twitten for my boyfriend (and subsequent husband of many years!) Steve Robinson, so that we could hold hands. Several decades and professions later, I met Jennifer Isaacson, who had spent a lifetime sourcing materials all over the world and designing everything from textiles to furniture. Jen was keen to jump in with a hand knit product. When she saw the original Twitten, she said to me, ‘If you want to start a Twitten business, I’ll help you!’ I had no idea about producing, wholesaling and retailing knit goods, but I said OK because I thought it would be fun to do something different together!
As Mompreneurs, If you could give any advice to our moms looking at starting a business, what would it be?
Jen: Like most things in life, opening a business is not a straight road. But I do think it’s very important to learn the basics, however boring that part might be; just having a good idea isn’t good enough. Find a mentor, really understand how to buy, budget, keep track of inventory, grow, whatever it takes to get started. I’m not a real believer in business plans. I think it’s best to understand the basics, grow slowly, recognize opportunities and be flexible. It’s also important to remind yourself to enjoy the process and remember to consciously nurture the important things in your life, while being true to yourself!
Connie: The only thing I’d add is to be careful and gentle if you are going into business with a very good friend. Jen and I are actually better friends now than when we began. Sometimes when you have a close relationship, you assume your good friend will have the same reaction to business issues she has had to friendship issues, and that is not always the case! Things can get funny around money, so clarity is the key. In my experience, it is an easier process to go from being business associates to becoming close friends than it is to go in the other direction!
Could you tell us more about your artisans initiative in Peru?
Connie: My partner Jen works with women’s coops, and teaches them how to make products to U.S. Standards. For one of our fingerless glove lines, she travelled to the small Andean village of Chinchero in the Sacred Valley of Incas, 15 miles from Cuzco. In Chinchero, Jen taught a young women’s cooperative how to make products suitable for the U.S. market. This is a way to keep cultural traditions alive while expanding commercial opportunities. They use this knowledge to make new products and sell them in their shop for tourists.
Jen: We started working with young women in Peru who had never learned how to weave for US standards. Our goal then became to teach the younger generation how to knit. We sat with them, trained them on pricing and the desired standards for the US. Two years later, they were able to open their own store that’s thriving now that they have the ability to knit for US markets.
If you were to pick your favourites from this season’s collection, what would it be?
Connie: I remain mad about the simplest grey tweed leg warmers and fingerless gloves that I wear every day! For kids, I’m partial to the Unicorn!
Jen: I agree with Connie. The unicorn is remarkable.
Finally, What can we expect to see from you and Twitten brand in the near future?
Connie: More legwarmer/fingerless glove colours; KILLER batman and batgirl hats and fingerless gloves; and best of all, BABY TWITTEN!… 100% baby alpaca Handknit Sleeping bag for baby, handknit baby dress and little boy togs!
Jen: We’re launching a new baby line using Baby Alpaca. The first collection is beautiful and delicious to the touch. Connie who is the real genius behind the kid’s line designed the Batgirl hat and Batman hat. I love both of these styles along with the Little Red Riding Hood hat for little girls and the Big Bad Wolf hat for little boys. What’s so nice about the line is that when you see kids walking down the street in any of our hats, it makes you smile.