Reno company a wooly winner

Started almost as a hobby, Jimmy Beans Wool, in the last year nearly doubled its sales — and it’s staff. The privately owned company now employs 40 people and grossed $6 million in 2011. This is just the kind of business Nevada needs — and needs to highlight — in its quest to dig out of its economic quagmire. Image

Laura Zander, Jimmy Beans founder, president & CEO, drive, creativity and marketing smarts is the company’s secret weapon. Positioning wool and knitting as cool for sophisticated (i.e. wealthy) city folks, and the ultra hip (skiers, actors & Hollywood types), She’s taken a tiny 500-foot shop into a major internet company with a store in Reno in less than a decade.  Now located on Capitol Boulevard (off East McCarran near Buckbean Brewery), Zander has big plans for 2012.

Sponsoring the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, expanding into quality fabrics, strategically partnering with charities are just a few areas that will generate huge paybacks.

This week I heard Zander talk about her company’s journey. She cloaks her steel-hard determination and ambition with plenty of self depreciating humor, but do not even think of standing in her way. 

Jimmy Beans Wool typifies the unusual, entrepreneurial business that every Nevada development and business group should tout. It brings the new money into Nevada. 

Comments? Have you been to Jimmy Beans? Do you know of other entrepreneurial ventures that need recognition? Let me know!

6 thoughts on “Reno company a wooly winner

  1. Greta

    I love Jimmy Beans. I try to hit it whenever I’m in Reno, even when not actively knitting. Their internet presence always surprises me when, in different states, folks name drop Jimmy Beans as if it were “their” local store.

    • It is their niche. They started in Truckee — catering to the hip/second-home crowd from the Bay Area. Those folks wanted to knit at their “cabins” … then when they went home, they wanted to stay in touch. The “beans” part of the name came from the original espresso cart — Zander thought she’d sell more coffee than yarn!

  2. Yolanda Solferino

    I’ve been getting yarn from there for years! They have such beautiful yarn, and employees who are always helpful with your projects. I’m excited to hear they will expand into fabrics…I hope they hurry up!

    • Laura Zander said fabric is coming this year. The quality of their products truly sets them apart. I’ve been to yarn stores in New England with similarly wonderful products … but the Jimmy Beans folks have vision and ambition to take it to the next level (and beyond!)

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