For many, knitting may still conjure an image of a grandmother in a rocking chair, her cats sleeping and her doilies taking shape. In recent years, however, the quiet industry of tiny neighborhood yarn shops scattered across the U.S. has become an unlikely cultural battleground. It’s been divided by charges of racism and cultural appropriation that have erupted in a series of social media firestorms, prompting some owners to close, sell, or rebrand their businesses. It may seem surprising that such a quiet pursuit could produce so much conflict, but it’s really not all that different from the fissures afflicting the country as a whole. In this conversation, we meet three women who were not content to stick to their knitting: Adella Colvin, whose business, LolaBean Yarn Co., is a prominent independent dyer based in Grovetown, Ga.; Gaye “GG” Glasspie, a leading yarn industry influencer whose signature color is orange and who is based in Clifton, N.J.; and Felicia Eve, who owns String Thing Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the few Black-owned yarn shops in the country. The video offers our entire conversation. You can also listen to a slightly edited 21 Hats Podcast version of the conversation wherever you get podcasts.
This week, we talk to two people who walked away from promising careers to buy blue collar businesses. Long before search funds and sweaty startups became all the rage, Bob Schwartz left a Wall Street investment banking career to buy a chain of laundromats, SuperSuds, which operates in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. More recently, Mills Snell left a prominent private equity firm to buy a roofing contractor, Aqua Seal Manufacturing and Roofing, which is based in Columbia, South Carolina. In this conversation, Schwartz and Snell talk about what they were thinking, what they learned about buying a business, what they’ve learned about operating a business, and whether they’re looking for an exit.
White owners often ask Mel Gravely, CEO of TriVersity Construction, what they can do to help. He’s got an answer for them, which he offers in this interview and in his challenging new book, ‘Dear White Friend.’
Rob Dyrdek—high school dropout, professional skateboarder, reality TV star, founder of the Dyrdek Machine—has learned a lot of entrepreneurial lessons since getting scammed the first time he started a business. For example, he never starts a business unless he sees a clear path to the precise outcome he has in mind.
Both Jeff Taylor and Jim Kalb run companies with employee stock ownership plans. Jay Goltz is thinking about implementing one — but he’s got questions, such as: Where does the money to buy the company come from?
TIME TO LISTEN: 48:00TIME TO WATCH: 48:00TIME TO READ: 17:00 MINS
Brent Beshore likes to say of the businesses he invests in, “Boring is beautiful.” It’s one of the things that sets him and his firm, Permanent Equity, apart. He runs a private equity fund with more than $300 million in capital, but he’s not really a private equity guy.