This article is a part of the series to discover female career paths within the creative and digital industries
3 girls aged 26-27 who call themselves “a pretty-damn-good blonde team” represent THE KNOTTY ONES, the brand new Nordic knitwear label. They are all the winter kids – Akvilė was born in December, Danutė in January and Sandra in February. Might explain their passionate love for the season & knits.
Why The Knotty Ones? How did you get the idea?
Akvilė: We were toying around with the word ‘knot’ for a little while. It seemed very much appropriate for knitwear. An Australian friend of mine was visiting Lithuania this summer and while the three of us were telling him our knitwear idea over some wine, he said something between the lines “you are such a wild bunch of girls, you are the knotty ones”.
This naughty/ knotty wordplay instantly clicked and we never looked back. After all it does reflect what all three of us believe in, that is having a bit of a wild heart.
How much time did it take from the idea to the launch of the product?
Danutė: Akvilė and I started thinking about doing something design related two years ago when we were still at Grad School in Seoul, South Korea. The art scene is booming there. Being part of it was certainly a big inspiration. We were constantly talking about opening a clothing store together sometime in the future. But it was just talks at the time.
Akvilė: A year later I met up with Sandra in Bali, when Sandra was 6 months into her South Asia trip. Both of us were super amazed by the importance of local craftsmanship in Indonesia. Naturally we started thinking about bringing the concept of craftsmanship back to Lithuania. Everyone knows we love knitwear here up north, but knits usually are just way too old-school. A modern take was urgently needed.
Sandra: So yeah. That was basically it. All 3 of us happened to be in Lithuania this summer and while having lunch we had one of those “why the hell not?” moments. It was only a natural next step.
What is your point of inspiration?
Akvile: Definitely craftsmanship. Lithuania as a Nordic country has such deep rooted traditions of knitting. But we’re also very much inspired by the new wave of Nordic designs: it’s clean, minimal, yet functional, and always with a twist of coolness.
In that sense all our designs are loved children of traditional craftsmanship and modern minimal aesthetics.
Where all 3 of you live right now, I’ve seen Danute loves traveling a lot, do you guys share the passion and the rhythm?
Sandra: Travelling is THE thing that brought us closer. Akvile lived in France, India and South Korea. She moved back to Lithuania after her Australian adventure just this summer. Danute spent the last 8 years moving from Denmark to Florida to London to Paris to Seoul to New York. I’ve just returned after 7 months solo trip in South East Asia where I travelled for a distance of 26.500 kilometers in total.
So I’d say, yes, we indeed share the rhythm (laughing).
Who is your role model and why?
Danutė: That would certainly have to be tons and tons of inspiring people each of us met along the way. Especially when traveling.
From a DJ-turned-blogger documenting the life of Paris to some random guys at a beach party (who just happen to run the hippest accessories company ever) to a super hardworking mother in Cambodia doing her best to provide for her kids. There’s nothing more inspiring that these “everyday” people.
What is your mission in life?
What’s your credo?
Danutė: One of my favourite photos ever is the one Sandra took in Indonesia of local fishermen in the sea. She called it ‘Limitless’. You can really relate to those fishermen, who wake up everyday thinking beyond their own horizons and going beyond their own limits.
Simple as that. Sandra, you still owe me that print by the way (laughing). I have dibs on it.
What is your wish for this project?
Sandra: To make it happen. And by that we mean creating something big and meaningful. As Danutė just said, going beyond our own limits.
What kind of a lesson have you learned so far?
Akvilė: Too many (laughing). Mistakes happen daily, but it is a massive part of our growth process. We did however learn not to make the same mistakes twice.
The most important thing is to let it go, stop overthinking and simply enjoy what you are doing.
Sandra: I think we’re very lucky to all have the same mentality when it comes to this. It’s all about about making sure to have fun along the way.
What are the next steps – what are you focusing on right now?
Akvilė: We launched The Knotty Ones barely 2 months ago, so it’s all very fresh. We’re however finishing up our online store and negotiating expansion opportunities across Europe. As Danutė constantly says “go big, or go home” (laughing).
What was the best career advice you ever got?
Sandra:“You cannot solve your problems with the same way of thinking you used to create them”.
Is university important at all?
Sandra: That really depends. It could be extremely useful for networking alone. That being said, we all did the same graduate programme, but never were close friends or considered working together until we went traveling together.
So it’s not necessarily about the degree itself, but your ability to surround yourself with people that inspire you to learn everyday. Uni is certainly one way of doing it.
What would be your message to other girls?
Danutė: We’d rather send a message to everyone, despite one’s gender. It would be a very simple one.
Make sure to have fun and maybe be a little naughty/knotty along the way. However you define that. It may be having a massive chocolate cake very late at night or quitting your job to travel to the most remote part of the world. All three of us have done both and those were one of the most rewarding experiences.
What makes you a good team?
Akvilė: Well first off, blondes have more fun (laughing).
But more seriously, all together we have a perfect package of skills. Sandra, who currently also has her travel photography exhibition going on, focuses on our visualization and designs. Danutė, who spent some time fashion blogging in Paris, does our marketing and branding. I’m crazy about yarns in general, hence I deal with manufacturing and logistics. All three of us live and breath nordic designs, and are super passionate about life in general. That sounds like a pretty damn good team to me (laughing).
I have heard that the gorgeous three have been celebrating Christmas by sticking to the old good classics – Hugh Grant in “Love Actually”, drinking eggnog and working on their spring/summer 2015 collection.
Seems to me, whether you already have your 2015 goals set on paper or not, the only really important thing to get is the right partner-in-crime. Let’s thank The Knotty Ones for leading the way!
Part of the series to discover female career paths within the creative and digital industries