Bed-Stuy is made up of some incredible, committed small business owners and Claudette Brady is one of them. She began her business, Slip Stitch Needlecraft, online after becoming ill and having to move out of Bed-Stuy. Thankfully she returned, and opened a brick and mortar location with her massive collection of yarn and books in 2015. She moved into a larger space at 450 Nostrand Avenue, between Putnam and Jefferson, last year. Anybody crafty–or anybody looking to get crafty–will find tons of supplies here: yarns, threads, floss, patterns, needles and hooks. But what makes this place really special is its community focus. “This is designed as a community space where you can sit down and be comfortable,” Claudette told me. Basically, it’s the perfect place to take a class and learn how to knit or crochet, or join a circle (held on the last Friday of every month) to sit, drink wine, meet your neighbors, talk about the world and craft away. Check out the shop’s full list of events here.
Claudette is now raising $6,000 on GoFundMe to renovate her space to begin hosting maker’s markets. As she said in her fundraising profile, “Brooklyn has become the Makers capital of the USA, unfortunately, many in our community have been excluded from the various makers markets or do not have the financial means to have a retail outlet; my goal is to be an incubator for these Makers/artisans and provide a low-cost space.”
It’s no secret that Bed-Stuy is changing rapidly and becoming un-affordable to many of our neighbors who have long called it home. Claudette would rather see community-focused retail opening up here, rather than an endless stream of bars and restaurants. Her business seeks to preserve the close-knit support system she has loved about Bed-Stuy since her arrival in 1995. “This has long been a middle class neighborhood, and was made beautiful because of all the black people who live here,” she said.
Claudette’s impact in the neighborhood surpasses the management of Slip Stitch. She was one of the most influential voices behind expanding the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District and establishing the Bedford Historic District. She has also helped organize Greenest Block submissions and It’s My Park Day at Von King Park. Claudette’s commitment to Bed-Stuy has been an incredible gift to the neighborhood, so be sure to stop by, say hello, support the business and enjoy the space on your next stroll down Nostrand.
Photos via GoFundMe