Talk of the Trail: Crimson Tate

There are hundreds of businesses along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail that have helped transform our downtown, including Crimson Tate :: Modern Quilter, located at 845 Mass. Ave. and owned by our friend Heather Givans, Quilter-in-Chief and renowned fabric designer. Here’s a chance to learn a little more.

Heather Givans is surrounded by the modern fabrics offered by Crimson Tate, many of which are her own design.

Tell us about Crimson Tate.

We offer contemporary, modern fabric; interesting import fabrics from Japan, Africa, England, India and more. Crimson Tate is a creative environment where our community can come and learn to sew, coordinate projects and find inspiration. We also are a cottage industry that creates finished sewn goods such as the “I LOVE Indiana” pillow and the “Harriet Headband.”  Recently, I was contracted by a fabric manufacturer to create fabric designs that are now available nationally. Crimson Tate wears a lot of hats.

What motivated you to start your business?

As a former high school art teacher, my goal has always been to make stuff on a daily basis. When the wholesale business I created took off in a way I didn’t anticipate, I made the tough decision to leave teaching and ride this wave of awesome that is Crimson Tate the retail fabric store.

One of the store’s coveted handmade items is the Harriet Headband, available in a multitude of fun fabrics.

Has being located on the Trail benefitted Crimson Tate?

We are heading into our fifth year on the Cultural Trail and I cannot tell you how elated I am. The Trail offers easy access to pedestrians and bicyclists: It’s not just a park, but a greenway that can be used for work or for play. The Trail has transformed the connection to the downtown neighborhoods and I thoroughly enjoy seeing the Trail being used by a wide cross-section of populations.

Did the Cultural Trail weigh in your decision on where to locate?

I feel like I grew into an adult on Mass Ave. When I knew I wanted to open a storefront, it was my first choice. The Trail on my end of the street was just being completed so I’ve had the great fortune of seeing the Trail become a bustling gateway to and from downtown.  At this point, if relocation is something we do, I will look for a space that is a part of the Cultural Trail. It is definitely a major force that keeps our neighborhood safe, clean and vibrant.

Is biking part of your business’ culture?

Yes!! I commute to work by bike and often will have meetings with Crimson Tate’s manager while biking the Cultural Trail. We are able to synthesize ideas, share happenings, and leisurely ride our bikes while chatting and brainstorming creative ideas.

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Shoppers find it easy to make their way to Crimson Tate via bike or foot along the Cultural Trail.

What is the connection between biking/walking and success for your business?

We have countless stories of visitors to Indy who easily find us because we are along the Cultural Trail. Walking from the center of downtown to Mass Ave is an easy task. We also have many northside dwellers who bike down for an afternoon, discover we are here and also call us home.

What’s your favorite thing about Indy?

I love the diversity of Indianapolis.  I love how alive and distinct the Cultural Districts have become. Who would have known that Indy would have become a pedestrian-friendly city?! Our city planners, that’s who, who have worked tirelessly to create this culture.  I am so honored and happy to be a part of it and support it.

An inspiring display of fabrics at Crimson Tate. Photo courtesy of Eric Lubrick.

What does “community” mean to you?

Community is what drives our business. We are a hub to support creative individuals in Indianapolis. That creative community is only enhanced by the Trail and the opportunity to be outside in an urban setting that is easy to access, inspires and serves purpose.

 Stop by Crimson Tate to meet Heather or one of her nine employees for fabrics, handmade goods, classes and expert help on your projects.