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.