Knitter Turns Hobby Into a Multi-Million $ Business

The Story Exchange By The Story Exchange

By keeping an eye on the bottom line, Laura Zander has grown her tiny idea into a major success.

When Laura Zander started her yarn shop in a small town in California she was hoping to make $30,000 a year. “That would be great,” she thought back in 2002.

Laura and her husband — former software engineers who worked in San Francisco during the dot com boom-bust — sunk their modest life savings into starting Jimmy Beans Wool, a retailer of yarn and fabric.

The business challenge that has been the most difficult has been learning how to communicate with other people.

A little more than a decade later, Laura has parlayed her passion for knitting into an online retail business with sales forecasted at seven million dollars this year and Jimmy Beans Wool products being shipped to over 60 countries.

And she grew her business at a time when many Main Street knitting and sewing shops were closing their doors.

Read Laura’s thoughts on Finding Upsides in an Economic Downturn

Laura’s life has been challenging – she was raised by an alcoholic mother who divorced her father when Laura was three years old. So how did she manage to overcome a variety of challenges and build a company in a sector she knew virutally nothing about?

Watch Laura’s story and share your thoughts below.

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We learned about Laura after she sent her story to our website. If you’re a woman who has started a business share your story and it will appear on our site. We will use it to find candidates for our 2013 filming season and blog posts.

Posted: February 28, 2013

The Story ExchangeKnitter Turns Hobby Into a Multi-Million $ Business