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Knitter Turns Hobby Into Multi-Million Dollar Business (Video)

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How did she manage to overcome a variety of challenges and build a company in a sector she knew virtually nothing about? Watch Jimmy Beans Wool founder and CEO Laura Zander on The Story Exchange.

By Karin Kamp (Director of Digital Media, The Story Exchange)

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 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.

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 virtually nothing about? Watch Laura’s story:

Women 2.0 readers: What you share your story at 1,000 Stories? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Karin Kamp is the Director of Digital Media at The Story Exchange, which encourages women to consider starting a business. She is a journalist and producer. Previously, she worked as the senior web editor for the broadcast news magazine, NOW on PBS. Karin has a master’s in journalism and an MBA. She lived and worked in Europe for 13 years before returning to New York. She now lives in Brooklyn with Mark and their four-year-old daughter.