Turning a yarn passion into a career
This post is sponsored by Lorna’s Laces.
One fall day in 2002, Beth Casey was flipping through a magazine and discovered a classified ad that would change her life forever. The avid knitter had quit her job in textbook publishing and was making ends meet by working a series of odd jobs here and there. But when she stumbled upon an ad for a yarn company that was for sale, she knew she had to jump on the opportunity.
“I followed up with that ad and negotiated a contract, and in January of 2003 I was introduced as the new owner of Lorna’s Laces at TNNA.”
Twelve years later, Lorna’s Laces is a booming business, producing some pretty spectacular and beautiful yarns for knitters all over the world. And with an innovative branding initiative backing up its latest venture, Mrs. Crosby, the company is certainly turning heads.
Finding a Community
Beth first started knitting when she was in her late 20s, after moving to a new town in Kansas. Like many newcomers, she didn’t know a whole lot of people, save for her colleagues. After meeting with a few coworkers, she’d noticed they were wearing some handknitted items, and the idea that she should learn how to knit popped in her head. She took a knitting class at a local yarn store and never looked back “I’d felt like I really found my community,” she says.
The Little Guy
As a woman owning a small business, Beth faces a number of challenges on a day to day basis—one of them being the fact that people don’t perceive yarn as a serious business.
“People don’t give credibility to our legitimate work because they see knitting as a hobby,” she says. “If you were to say ‘I’m a textile manufacturer,’ that’s one thing. But if you say ‘I dye yarn,’ they might not take it as seriously.”
And like many other small business owners, she keeps a sharp eye on the competition. “I’m a bit concerned about the bigger companies coming in and taking over the industry.”
Meet Mrs. Crosby!
Beth has taken a unique approach to her latest adventure by creating a persona of sorts surrounding product in the form of Mrs. Crosby, which is a whole new brand with a curated line of kettle-dyed yarn that follows the story of a sophisticated, well-traveled woman. With yarn names like Carpet Bag and Satchel, a distinct color palette, and stories from the vivacious personality of Mrs. Crosby herself, the brand has been a game-changer, to say the least.
“Mrs. Crosby is a creative outlet for me,” says Beth. “She’s a persona as much as she is a brand. We’re keeping her tightly curated with a focus on telling and creating stories.”
Lorna’s Laces and Mrs. Crosby don’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon. Beth says that Mrs. Crosby fans can expect to see a new type of yarn on the shelves by January of 2016, and Lorna’s Laces fans will be seeing a new season of colors curated in collaboration with some of that company’s favorite designers. But in the meantime, Beth will continue to happily knit away—she’s currently working on a few Mrs. Crosby projects herself.
Lorna’s Laces recently sponsored a new video tutorial, Kitchen Dyeing: Dye Your Own Yarn with Everyday Ingredients with Tanis Gray. You’ll learn how to create stunning tonal and variegated colorways in your own kitchen, using familiar, easy to find materials such as coffee, tea, vegetables, and flavored drink packets. Be sure to check it out!
Visit the Lorna’s Laces website and sign up for their newsletter to learn more about their beautiful yarns.
Happy, beautiful knitting to you.