Susanne Frühmann about her social project * fairknits
Susanne Frühmann about her social project * fairknits

This Upper Austrian makes the world a better place by crocheting hoods and thus supporting a women's shelter in Peru. We spoke to the 34-year-old about her new social project.

Susanne Frühmann
Susanne Frühmann

Exactly a year ago we reported on the 34-year-old entrepreneur Susanne Frühmann. At the beginning, the Upper Austrian was laughed at because nobody believed that she could one day make a living from crocheting a hood. Today is a successful company that also supports a social project. We spoke to the committed entrepreneur and mom of a 5-year-old son about her new project * fairknits * and made her WOMAN of the month in November. So much sense of fairness and sustainability should be rewarded!

WOMAN: Since when have winter basics for men, women and children been designed and sold under the label “handmade in the Salzkammergut”?

Susanne Frühmann: It all started with me crocheting bonnets and hats for me and my friends. Initially, a friend's casual snowboard hat and the firm decision “I can do that too” served as a template. I got the business idea a year later (2008) when people asked me about it and wanted to order a hood as well. Back then, my husband programmed my first small website ( and I began to crochet custom-made beanies when “DIY” (do-it-yourself) was not yet a trend. The products ranged from traditional costume beanies to sporty ski hats to baby beanies, which you could design yourself using a configurator.

WOMAN: How did you reach your customers?

Susanne Frühmann: The online shop was there from the start. I soon had a large fan base on Facebook ( Every winter for me and my family it was said anew: crochet hoods like on an assembly line. Everyone lend a hand, especially my grandmother Christl (83) and my mother Brigitte (60). In the winter months it quickly became more than just a leisure activity. Friends even helped to process the orders. I sold my beanies to Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

WOMAN: Now Peruvian women produce your designs under the label fairknits. How did that happen?

Susanne Frühmann: Due to the popularity of regularly received offers from companies in Eastern Europe and Asia to have my hats made cheaply "in bulk". Machine-knitted hats, inferior materials or inhumane working conditions - none of this was what I wanted. The production by hand and the use of pure, exclusive natural fibers were two important pillars on which I wanted to continue to build. I made contact with a Peruvian aid organization in order to set up my own fairtrade knitting line " * fairknits *". That became the third pillar of fair and sustainable production in cooperation with an aid organization in the Peruvian Andes. “Fashion with a heart” - knitwear with a good cause.

WOMAN: How does it help women?

Susanne Frühmann: Today every piece in Peru is hand-knitted by women with great attention to detail. I am supporting a social project by SOLID International ( and giving young mothers in one of the poorest regions of Peru a new perspective: a secure and fairly paid job including childcare.

WOMAN: Have you met the mothers who work there yourself?

Susanne Frühmann: Naturally! I was only there again in June 2016 to discuss the production of the next collection, to visit the mothers and to convince myself of the sustainable production on site. I have to admit: I am always deeply impressed by what has been achieved here.

WOMAN: You only use the wool from baby alpacas for the Fairtrade designs. Why?

Susanne Frühmann: I found the best raw material for my hats, scarves and ponchos in the South American Andes: the home of the alpacas. I use pure, valuable baby alpaca wool, also known as the “fleece of the gods”. It is one of the most exclusive natural fibers, is soft and supple but at the same time resistant and has excellent insulation properties. We only use the cuddly soft "baby alpaca" wool from this cute animal, i.e. the wool of the young animals. Alpaca wool has an antibacterial effect. Compared to sheep's wool, this wool has very little wool fat (lanolin). As a result, bacteria cannot multiply on the surface and die. At low temperatures, alpaca wool stores body heat better than any other wool.

Popular by topic