Mari: How did you first meet Kate and Courtney? (Bonus points if you have photos!)
Leanne: I used to work with Courtney when she was the manager at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philly. She was one of my print ad customers so we'd chat on the phone every call and I'd hook her up with the best placements in the magazine. Not long after, I recall being at Maryland Sheep and Wool (maybe in 2008?) and she came running up to me with baby Clyde strapped to her person and she and Kate announced they had a "secret" which was that they had just signed a deal with Daphne Marinopoulos to distribute for The Fibre Co. yarns. I've never seen two people more excited than Kate and Courtney that day. It was magical.
Mari: How have you seen the Kelbourne Woolens grow and change since you first met them?
Leanne: Kelbourne Woolens of course started out smaller. I think there were only 7 or so lines in The Fibre Co. line when they came on board. Kate and Courtney have always had an intuitive sense about how to grow the business and they also seemed to have always been just in front of the curve on so many things. They also walk the walk with regard to marketing where most entrepreneurs just talk about things-- those two really do it. They have a firm vision of their brand, a dedication to doing things well and they work hard to make successful outcomes.
Mari: Definitely! That's one thing I really admire about Kate and Courtney, they don't compromise on quality or style, and they take the time to make sure everything is thoughtfully and beautifully crafted and presented. What do you admire most about each of them?
Leanne: Some of this might sound arbitrary but here is a short list:
I love their business partnership. They genuinely like they like each other as friends and seem to have that rare synergy that combines to make businesses thrive- Think of the Disney brothers Walt and Roy!?
Kate: No b.s. with a dash of wry wit. Such a breath of fresh air for this New York Native, Oh, and she speaks Italian.
Courtney: Style. Not just a personal style but she has unique thoughts and opinions I appreciate. She's got a way of authentically connecting to people I'm trying to emulate. Oh, and she gave her baby an Italian name which is super cool in my book.
(If you can't tell Leanne loves all things Italian!)
Mari: Personally I've been really inspired by all the strong women I've met in the yarn industry. Were you drawn to this industry because it's female dominated?
Leanne: For sure. My first job "in the industry" was working for Deb Robson and then Marilyn Murphy at Interweave Press - both great mentors and role models. I love working side-by-side with strong, capable, talented women and have been blessed to be surrounded by so many of them since starting my agency 8 years ago.