A passion for knitting is taking one local woman all the way to the Olympics. She is not an athlete, but her business is creating cozy hats and mittens for Team USA athletes.
Christina Pardy quit her job in sales a few years ago to start Sh*t That I Knit. The female-owned knitwear business is based in Boston, and the products are hand-knit by a group of women in Peru.
"It's been a lot of work, getting to this point, a lot of crossing our fingers and knocking on wood," Pardy said.
Her business has experienced a lot of success over the last seven years. Sh*t That I Knit products are in stores such as Nordstrom and have also been worn by celebrities like Katie Couric and Kristin Cavallari. But a chance encounter with a member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Properties team a few years ago led to a golden opportunity.
After years of emails and persistence, the company is now an official licensee for Team USA at the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing next year.
"I was like, 'I can't believe they like this. This is nuts.' To see this little 'Sh*t That I Knit' next to Ralph Lauren and Nike, especially after lots of years of saying 'This is not going to work,' is just amazing," Pardy said.
Sh*t That I Knit launched a full Olympic collection. It features hats and mittens embroidered with "Team USA," along with more simple styles with the Team USA logo sewn in. All of the hats can be topped with interchangeable poms.
"We worked with the brand to create an authentic collection for fans that's already Team-USA-athlete-approved. We're extraordinarily proud to work with everyone at the STIK team, including Christina, a female founder with a compelling American success story," Peter Zeytoonjian, USOPP's senior vice president of consumer products, wrote in an email.
Since Pardy announced the news on social media, the positive reviews have been pouring in from athletes all over the country. Snowboarder Hannah Teter was a huge fan even before they landed their Olympic deal and figure skater Ashley Wagner is singing their praises.
"I'm rocking my new Olympic swag from Sh*t That I Knit. It is the coziest," Wagner said.
No one knows who will win the gold at the games, but for the Boston-based brand that's keeping Olympic athletes warm, it is already a win.
"You get a no and a no and a no again, and then you get one big yes, and it is emotional for me," Pardy said. "I'm really proud."