BOSTON (CBS) — If you’ve taken a stroll through Boston’s Seaport lately, you may have noticed a new shop with a name that you’re not allowed to say on TV.
“If it was ‘Christina’s Knits,’ I don’t think this would be what it is today,” said Christina Fagan Pardy.
What it is today, is a very successful Boston-based company founded by Pardy. She learned how to knit when she was 10 years old and from there, her hobby really took off.
“I was knitting so much that I was almost failing out of college. I didn’t write my art history thesis paper because I was knitting and watching Breaking Bad,” said Pardy.
She would also send photos of what she was knitting to her family.
“They said why don’t you stop texting us these photos and start a website called Sh*t That I Knit,” said Pardy. And that’s how the catchy name of her blog and eventually her company came to be.
After college – yes, she did graduate- Pardy juggled working full time while selling her hand-knit beanies on the side, including at the SOWA Market in the South End.
“We ended up selling out and what we realized is everyone loved the name. Everyone who walked by would smile, laugh, poke their friend and come over and ask us about it,” she said.
That was one of the experiences that helped give Pardy the courage to quit her nine-to-five at the age of 25.
“It’s definitely not easy to quit your day job to knit for a living so it was really scary,” said Pardy.
Scary, but worth the risk.
“Last year, we did nearly a million dollars in sales which was really exciting definitely something that wasn’t even in my wildest dreams,” she said.
The only way Pardy has been able to keep up with demand has been by outsourcing production to Lima, Peru where she now employs 170 women. They use merino wool to hand-knit the products you’ll find inside Pardy’s brand new pop-up shop.
“Many of them are making more money than their husbands. They’re sending their kids to college on this money. They’re really supporting their families and it’s making a real impact,” said Pardy.
Pardy is also making a difference here at home.
“I taught a friend to knit a couple years ago who was diagnosed with cancer and I realized through that process that knitting is so therapeutic,” she said.
Her company has now donated more than 400 knit kits to cancer patients to help take their minds off what they’re going through.
“I think that’s why I love knitting so much. I think it’s a real stress reliever for me so to be able to share that is so gratifying,” she said.
Pardy’s unique story, high-quality products, and unforgettable name have recently caught the attention of celebrities like Katie Couric who have shared her products on social media. Pardy said Instagram has been a critical part of her success.
“I think if I had started even a couple years before, even a year before, I would have gone the wholesale route and only sold to stores or I wouldn’t have been able to start at all,” she said.
And it’s a good thing she did start because people love her hand-knit pompom hats, mittens, and more.
“I think people love the name and they love our products, but they also love the happy story of how we’re supporting women in Peru. It’s female entrepreneurship. It’s sort of a happy, fun thing they want to connect with.”
The pop-up shop is open in the Seaport until January 6, 2020.