The Story of Jimmy Beans Wool
Our latest yarn shop highlight is Jimmy Beans Wool. Chances are, you’ve probably heard of this store before as they’ve done a great job bridging the gap between traditional yarn shop and online sales.
Jimmy Beans Wool began in 2002 as a teensy little yarn shop in the mountain town of Truckee, CA. The owners, Laura (aka Jimmy) and Doug Zander were Silicon Valley expats looking for a change of pace (and good skiing)! when they moved to Truckee in 2001. this time, Laura learned to knit and loved it… which is how she met Lorna – owner of a local hand-dyed yarn company (Lorna’s Laces) who she built a website for. Lorna encouraged Laura to follow her true passion (knitting!) and voila! Doug and Laura emptied their savings account and Jimmy Beans Wool was born!
Laura and Doug just after we moved to the warehouse, Laura and Huck, Laura in the new retail space before the renovation, and Laura and Doug Skiing
They took their business online the following year and soon they realized they were going to need more space (they had yarn coming out of their ears…and in their guest room)! In 2004 they opened a shop in Reno, NV about 30 minutes away, and the rest is history… the Truckee store closed a year later and the Reno shop and online business has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, and in 2011, they moved to an official warehouse space. Doug continues to be the technical backbone of JBW by managing all-things web related with a small team of experts that he has personally trained (both women & knitters!) Laura is our head business maven full of ideas and energy. Her entrepreneurial spirit drives us, and keeps us moving forward and growing. If you can’t tell, we have a lot of fun around here!
The original Truckee shop, a guest room full of yarn, and the new warehouse and Reno shop
If you’d like to learn more about our team, you can read about them here:
We pretty much live and breathe fiber arts around here. Almost every one of our employees knits, crochets, weaves, or spins…or some combination of these. And if they don’t when they start working here, they quickly pick up something…it’s contagious! It’s in our blood! Most of us find it to be the most relaxing part of our day, and we get more energy just being around great yarns all of the time. Several of our staffers are up-and-coming designers, and being around yarn every day certainly helps to fuel that creativity. That’s really the key right there, for us, it’s how we express our creativity…and we love sharing knowledge and ideas with others so they can express theirs!
We’ve done a lot of little things over the years to make the shop experience unique and fun for people. For example, we used to have a big hot tub full of yarn in the back of our warehouse that people could get their photos taken in when they visit. We regularly let folks “shop the warehouse” and give warehouse tours when people visit us from out of town. We try to make it fun for them!
Some snapshots of the shop and the famous yarn hot tub
We really try to offer a lot of FREE learning opportunities to our local customers. We host 3x weekly free Walk-in Help Sessions (although anyone can come in any time for help) and we’ve grown quite a group of followers! We rarely have less than 8 or 10 people that show up for these sessions and many of them just come to chat and knit. We also have twice monthly knit nights and everyone puts $5 in a pool to win a gift card. It’s tons of fun. We also have special retail shop only “Flash Sales” that you must be physically in the shop to take advantage of. Being an online business, we try to be really cognizant of making our local customers who we have face to face relationships with, feel special. It would be really easy to lose sight of them, but they are our #1 priority!
Book signing event with Romi Hill
We’ve also started hosting retreats where we bring in some widely known designers and head for the nearby mountains for some awesome bonding, scenery, and learning. It’s a blast. Because our business has such a large online component, we get customers coming to these retreats from all over the world! It’s fun to meet our online customers in person and get to know them better!