Role Model: Knitter Turns Hobby Into a Multi-Million $ Business

Guest blog and video courtesy of The Story Exchange, a global video project empowering women to start their own business.

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.

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?

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