Business of Craft Episode 15 Dave Van Stralen on Changing Your Model


Leanne’s guest today is Dave Van Stralen, owner of Louet North America. They discuss changing business models, the decline of retail and what that means for local yarn shops.

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#1 Can you share with our listeners a brief history of your background and how your family got involved with Louet? [1:45]

#2 First, let’s give the listeners some background into recent changes at Louet and then we can jump into discussing how that came about?[6:38]

#3 If other listeners out there are struggling with competing focus, what would you advise them as to how to sharpen the focus and refine a business like you did? [10:18]

#4 As someone doing business in the international realm every day, what are the challenges you’ve experienced that you’d caution others to consider if they are thinking about expanding to international markets? [13:17]

#5 Can you give us an example of the purchasing with that consideration? [15:13]

#6 What sorts of items fall into that model? [16:35]

#7 Do you have other “lessons learned” from playing in that sandbox that other business owners might benefit from? [17:21]

#8 In addition to going back to the roots of Louet with spinning and weaving, you also purchased Kollage needles and you’ve brought the manufacturing o Canada. How is that new development working for LNA? [20:46]

#9 Dave, I know you’ve been on the TNNA board for a long time. How long exactly? [27:20]

#10 The yarn market has really undergone some turbulence in the last few years. As someone who’s talked to a lot of people on both sides of this issue, can you give us your perspective on where the turbulance originates? [29:55]

#11 How, as an industry, do we prepare for what seems like some inevitable and difficult changes ahead? [36:15]

#12 Do you think the yarn companies that survive will HAVE to have an online, e-commerce presence to compete? [40:25]

#13 Can you share some of the changes TNNA is making that we can see at the January show? [45:24]

#15 I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some hockey questions since I know you’re a diehard fan. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced that it would expand to China, beginning next season, becoming one of the first North American professional sports leagues to field a team in Asia. What’s your feeling about that? [48:17]

#16 Do you think this means that China will have a competitive team for the 2022 Olympics in Bejing? [49:46]