Yesterday, as President of Lion Brand, I had the honor of joining my cousin and EVP of our company, Dean Blumenthal and Vanna White, Lion Brand’s spokesperson, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to present a check representing donations of $1 million. When we first introduced the Vanna lines of yarns and Vanna shared her wish that we donate a portion of the proceeds to this fantastic cause, I had a dream to donate $1 million. Yesterday that dream became a reality.
As the fourth generation in our family-owned business, we learned the importance of giving charity in both our business and personal lives from our parents. The opportunity to tour the St. Jude facility and learn more about what this amazing organization does was truly a highlight of my life.
We heard from one woman who survived leukemia when she was 10 years old. The survival rate was 4% at the time. Today, the survival rate for this type of leukemia is 92%, thanks to the cutting edge research and treatment that this organization provides. We saw the heartbreaking scene of small children who are being treated for cancer. We heard the extraordinary fact that no family every pays for anything related to the treatment of their child. Not only does St. Jude cover all the costs of medical treatment, but they take care of housing for the family and provide emotional support for the siblings and parents.
I knew that we were donating to a good cause, but it was humbling to see the human side of this organization. I was inspired by what can happen with vision.
(Please NOTE: there is a brief ad that appears before the segment)
Courtesy of KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News
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My family was blessed to celebrate the 100th birthday of my Mom, Ann (Chanchy) Blumenthal, on November 26th. I share this with you because my Mom is a member of the third generation of the family that owns Lion Brand Yarn Company. From the 1940s to the 1990s, my Mom was active in the business, answering customer letters and phone calls. She served as a trusted advisor to my father, Isidor, the President of Lion Brand from 1958 to 2003, offering her wisdom and ideas on everything from advertising to selecting yarns, colors, and patterns.
I’d like to share some photos from the party.
|Amazing how many different 100th
birthday cards there are!
|The cover of a book of photos|
My mother received a letter from President Obama congratulating her on her birthday. I also wrote a letter on Lion Brand stationery thanking her for her service to our company and signed it with my titles: President, CEO, and Son.
As a member of the fourth generation of our family-owned and operated business, my Mom continues to inspire me.
Here at Lion Brand, it’s a well known fact that I read many newspapers and magazines, from business to knitting and crochet to fashion. I like to tear out articles, ads, and photos that inspire me or catch my eye, so I can share them with our associates.
Recently, I was flipping through the Wall Street Journal Magazine, when I came across an article entitled “A Gripping Yarn.” It was accompanied by a photo collage of all kinds of knitting, crochet, and yarn-inspired pieces seen at the Milan Furniture Fair, a major trade show in the interior design industry. The article described how yarn and crafting are coming into their own in the design community:
Following a resurgence among fashion designers and artists, homespun, cozy techniques such as crochet, macramé and knitting have found favor with international furnishing designers from Rotterdam to London to Toronto. “Craft is the word of the decade,” says Murray Moss, founder of the design gallery Moss in New York. “It went from having the most pejorative meaning to being embraced.”
Having grown up surrounded by yarn–our family business–and having seen the world of hand-knitting and crochet evolve over the last several decades, it is especially gratifying to me to see that designers everywhere–and even the Wall Street Journal–are taking notice of the wonderful world yarncrafts.
I hope you’ll click here to read the full article and check out the photographs of just some of the items–from chairs to lamps–inspired by yarn.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited back to my alma mater, New York University, to speak to the Stern School of Business’s Scholars, a group of the top students in their respective class years. I was asked to share my experiences as the president and CEO of Lion Brand Yarn Company for the last 7 years and a member of the company for the last 40 years. My talk was followed by a Q&A — and this group being of future business leaders, I was happy to be put through the paces by, and to share my experiences with, these students.
They asked me about our iPhone app, working with our many retail partners, the challenges of being a part of a family-owned and operated business, and surviving—and thriving—with the ups and downs of the knitting and crochet yarn industry as it has evolved over the last several decades.
As always, it brings me great satisfaction to give back to a community that has contributed to my success and to talk about this company, which I love.
Every year in early December, Lion Brand associates gather to think about where we’ve been and where we are going. This year we spent some time defining who we are in 7 words. We would like to share those values with you today.
Vision offers meaning as we move forward with the day-to-day details and challenges of our business. It was vision that resulted in the extraordinary success of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio (featured in the January 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine.) With vision we reinvented the look of Lion Brand through new yarns, color palettes, garment design and visual images that reflect a contemporary beauty. It was vision that allowed us to create the most popular online destination for yarn crafters in the world. Throughout our history, vision has helped us become the company we are.
As a family business, the personal values of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents infuse every relationship with vendors, industry associates, customers and employees. We believe that when all is said and done, this value is what supports all the others.
Adaptability is the value that allowed a 131 year old brand to survive and even thrive through the great depression, world wars, the years when knitting was considered passe, and the extraordinary ups and downs of a business tossed about by the culture, the economy and the fast pace of change in today’s world.
Yarn was part of the dinner conversation growing up and it has been the lifeblood of our family for generations. The passion that we feel for our work makes us go the extra mile every single day. We have built a team of associates that shares this energy.
The product we sell enriches peoples’ lives by providing stress relief, a creative outlet, and a way of sharing of oneself. Serving these higher goals gives meaning to the work we do.
We know that your enjoyment of our yarns may depend on your ability to develop your skills so we offer education at all levels through illustrations, videos and step-by-step instructions.
We believe that as a team we are stronger than the sum of the unique talents of the individuals. The connections we have to each other when we share information and ideas and collaborate on projects add value to everything we do.
At Lion Brand, we are truly honored to serve your needs. We hope that the work we do enhances your enjoyment of knitting, crocheting and crafting with yarn. As we look forward to 2010, I want to personally thank you, the Lion Brand Community, for your support and for sharing your comments and ideas with us.
It’s not often I have an opportunity to write on the blog as my family and business responsibilities keeps me quite busy. I thought it appropriate to share about an event that was very special to the Blumenthal family and those that knew my father, Isidor Blumenthal, of blessed memory (1909-2003) that took place last Monday, April 20, 2009.
At the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, a division of the State University of New York, Lion Brand Yarn dedicated a seminar room to Isidor Blumenthal. In addition to being my father, Isidor was President of Lion Brand Yarn from 1957 until his passing in December 2003. He was truly the driving force behind our family and family businesses – Lion Brand Yarn Company and Orchard Yarn & Thread, Inc.
My father was a soft-spoken, modest individual with a passion for education. The importance of learning and teaching were among the most essential things in the world to him. It is most gratifying to have a seminar room named after him at an institution of higher learning and one that he thought so much of and to which he and our company are connected.
Dr. Joyce Brown, President of FIT, and Lisa Braverman, Dean of Students, spoke at the dedication regarding Lion Brand Yarn and its affiliation with FIT through scholarships, the endowment of the seminar room, and, on the occasion of Lion Brand Yarn’s 125th anniversary in 2003, by sponsoring an exhibit at the FIT museum.
During her remarks, Dr. Brown announced the establishment of a new award by Lion Brand Yarn for the student that shows the most creativity in hand knitting and/or crochet in the field of textiles.
We at Lion Brand are blessed with a wonderful heritage of helping others and providing a superior quality products that people enjoy working with.
It’s been a dream of mine for over 10 years–to have a flagship store, a studio space at our Manhattan location, where we can display our yarns and inspire customers with our images and garments in a way that truly reflects the Lion Brand vision. My goal is for it to become the center of the yarn universe.
Here is the facade of the building under construction. We’ll be telling you more as time goes on. Since we do want it to be a surprise until we have our grand opening, peeks will be limited. But, as a reader of this blog, you’ll be offered a few exclusive preview days before we open to the general public. Watch this blog and look for announcements in our newsletter in September.
In all of New York City, there are so few places to buy Lion Brand, we think you’ll enjoy the opportunity to purchase our yarns when you’re here. But there will be so much more to the Lion Yarn Studio. There will be classes, book signings, fashion shows and more! I am truly excited.
Last weekend I attended Maker Faire at the San Mateo fairgrounds near San Francisco. Maker Faire is an amazing event for do-it-yourselfers. It’s a family oriented event where everyone from little children to grandparents can interact with and experiment with everything from circuit boards to crochet amigurumi. The atmosphere is fun and the energy is great.
We have been one of the sponsors of this event for the last couple of years. This year at our booth we taught about 200 people to knit and crochet. What a thrill it was for me to see the looks on peoples’ faces when they learned to craft with yarn!
The icing on the cake was that our booth won the Editor’s Choice blue ribbon. And. . . speaking of cake, we offered a workshop on making yarn cakes. It was great fun to see even young children walk out of the booth with smiles on their faces and a finished slice of cake in their hands after working on it for less than an hour. Keep an eye out for our newsletter where we will announce the new patterns for these cakes.
It’s been one week since we launched the Lion Brand notebook and it’s been a real thrill reading all the comments. I especially liked the one from Laura, who wrote from Argentina. She said, “even though your yarns are not available in Argentina, I just want to thank you for all the interest(ing) things I find at your place. . . I can’t buy your products, but I love to see the patterns and all the tips you give us.”
You may wonder why I was so pleased at a comment from someone who can’t even buy our yarn. It’s because when Lion Brand can encourage someone to knit and crochet, I believe we have done something good. I am thankful for the fact that I am part of a business that helps make peoples’ lives better. Yarn provides people with a way to de-stress, a way to express themselves creatively with color and fiber, a way to share something handmade with others and so much more.
You may even be surprised to know that I work with my competitors (I like to refer to them as my friendly competitors) several times a year to come up with ways to promote and encourage crafting with yarn. I’m chairman of an organization called the Craft Yarn Council which, among other things, organizes the annual Knit Out, now held at the Mall of America in February.
Loving my work means loving the business I’m in as well as believing in our products.
Hi, I’m David Blumenthal, President of Lion Brand Yarn Company, and I’d like to welcome you to Lion Brand through this notebook. As a family business with a long history (Lion Brand has been around since 1878), we are passionate about yarn and dedicated to upholding the values that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents have instilled in us. Several times a week we’ll share ideas, information and thoughts about crafting with yarn and we’d like to hear your comments.
The picture above is a sign that greets visitors in our corporate offices Carlstadt, New Jersey offices. There is also a bronze plaque in our reception area with the following quote:
The ideals set forth by our parents for this company will ever remain the guiding spirit in our efforts to promote lasting friendship and fair dealing.
We’ll be bringing you answers to your most asked questions, tips and technical support for crafting with yarn, information about the community of knitters, crocheters and crafters, and knit and crochet events. Please check this notebook regularly for up-to-date news and information about new products and plans for an exciting new endeavor that we’ll share with you soon.
We’re looking forward to the conversation. We hope you’ll become part of our extended family. Please feel free to leave a comment, introduce yourself and say hello.