Edana Tisherman ’94
This profile originally appeared in Bowdoin magazine, Vol. 72, No. 2, Winter 2001
"Invention is the necessity of motherhood," to put an even more maternal twist on the old adage, one that fits well with Edana Tisherman's new career. In June 2000, she left her job in television production to open her own business-well, actually, to open her own two businesses. As Edana Tisherman, she knits shawls and scarves, which she sells herself and distributes to high-end shops and boutiques. Under the name Edana Peacock, she has designed a new product for mothers, a diaper backpack, for which she is in the process of implementing a manufacturing and distribution plan.
The seeds of entrepreneurship grew while Edana worked as a production assistant with a close friend on Fox Television's That '70s Show. "Just before Heather left the show to have her baby, we spent a day together going from baby store to baby store scoping out the available wares," Edana relates. After seeing "how tacky" some of the mother/baby products can be, along with hearing friends complain abouttheir diaper bags as "big black holes in which they can never find anything," Edana had an idea. Wedding style and function, Edana Peacock diaper backpacks were born. "I'm learning as I go on this one," she says. "It's very exciting-but also very stressful." So, to alleviate some stress, Edana turns to her other business, knitting.
"My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was about 10 or so, and I practiced for a while on the cheap 'grandma' yarn that she gave me," she remembers. "And then I didn't knit for years until just a few months ago." Heather hooked Edana on knitting again this past January and now Edana "could talk to you for an hour about how wonderful knitting is," she gushes. "How creatively satisfying it is, how women and men (just tell former Pittsburgh Steeler great Rosie Grier that men don't knit) gather at the knit shop and sit around the table talking and knitting. You can sit down next to someone you have never met before and within 15 minutes, you're talking like old friends."
Speaking of friends, continues Edana, "I could also go on and on about what Bowdoin did to get me to this place. Mostly that Bowdoin doesn't limit its students to do anything specific upon graduation, but rather teaches us to think and learn and grow for ourselves. Give a woman a fish and she'll eat a meal. Teach a woman to fish and she'll eat for a lifetime-to paraphrase the old maxim." Edana relearned how to knit and perl, (knit is the basic stitch and perl is the reverse) and began a scarf for her husband. Soon, she was accompanying Heather to the knit shop.
"I have to tell you about the knit shop!" she exclaims. "It's an amazing place called La Knitterie Parisienne, run by a French woman named Edith. Everyone in Los Angeles who knits goes there-regular people, TV and movie stars, knitting experts and novices. The store is packed with incredible yarns from floor to ceiling and Edith sits with everyone at a big table and knits and talks and teaches. Women in their 80s who've been knitting for 65 years, women in their 30s who have just picked it up as something to do while they're waiting to meet their unborn children, celebrities, and some men, too, all hang out together, talking and knitting," smiles Edana. "It's wonderful to have a place to go where you can be creative and productive at the same time; where you are welcomed as an equal. There are no dues to pay, no applications to fill out, and it's totally unstructured-you can go every day of the week, or once a month and when you go back, it's like going home. It's all about positive energy."