When della Q started in 1988, its goal was to create the market’s most functional knitting and sewing bags. After serving in the industry for 30+ years, Della Quimby sold her company to Jimmy Beans Wool co-founder Laura Zander.
Since then, the della Q team has grown to an all-female team featuring seven employees in the Reno/Tahoe area and two family-owned businesses in Vietnam and China. In a recent interview, Alex Henley (della Q’s Marketing Manager) discusses the company acquisition, growth impact, product innovation, and maintaining the original brand goal.
Since you are located in Reno, how would you describe its craft culture?
Over 500 people toured the warehouse and bought craft supplies at our last event with Jimmy Beans. It was truly a sight to see. Reno crafters come in all ages and genders in our community, and we love seeing them every other Tuesday during our Knit Nights at Jimmy Beans.
Can you elaborate on the journey of getting customers used to the merge of della Q and the Jimmy Beans Wool Brand?
We’re so honored to be a part of the Jimmy Beans family of brands! With it came a larger audience and some extra creative freedom to create products we know our customers would love. The transition was easy, and we’ve noticed customers have not only stayed, but we’ve added a whole new audience with the addition of our Maker’s Bags and Everyday Collection.
It’s been three years since the acquisition. How has the experience/journey been?
The journey has been a complete labor of love, and growing the brand has been a mix of blood, sweat, tears, fabric, design, and pure joy – typical for a small, growing company.
We’ve added three new collections and a growing list of accessories. We transitioned our Oh Snap bags from Jimmy Beans brand (Namaste) to della Q, launched our original cases and project bags in a variety of new colors and fabrics, and secured a handful of collaborations with fellow brands in the industry.
What are some plans for the business (3-5 years)?
Going forward, we’re ramping up our wholesale program and offerings. New bags and cases will launch in the Fall. Also, we’re sourcing new and fun fabrics and innovating new products that fellow crafters want and need.
What should readers know about della Q products?
Our products are made with all makers in mind – knitters, crocheters, weavers, quilters, sewers, etc. While the bags are stylish on their own, their unique maker-specific features draw crafters to them.
Some [features] include a yarn cutter, yarn feeder, magnetic sides for pattern holding, included darning needle and dot journal, built-in needle and crochet hook holders, emergency stitch markers, and so much more.
How do you continue to provide value to customers while staying relevant?
Because we’re such a small team, pivoting is pretty easy for us. The feedback we get [from tradeshows, like Stitches West and wholesale partners], we take to heart and do our best to implement any changes if we hear it more than once.
For example, we frequently heard that our Train Case needed a crossbody strap and extra handle to make it easier to carry. It took us a few months to figure out these changes, but we were so proud to roll them out, and the feedback we’ve heard online, through our LYS (Local Yarn Shop), and at shows has been incredible.
Name five travel destinations where your bags have been seen?
Our friend and knitting/traveling influencer, Krista Ann (@TravelingWithKnitsy), has taken a della Q bag to:
What are some travel tips for crafters who want to take supplies with them?
- Always pack more yarn than you think you’ll need.
- Scissors must be below 4 inches in length when going through TSA (but our Maker’s bags come with an included yarn cutter, so no scissors [are] necessary).
- Don’t forget to pack accessories – you can never have enough stitch markers, darning needles, and project bags when you travel.
- Our Maker’s Train Case was designed to fit under an airplane seat. It features two yarn feeders on each side, so you can knit or crochet easily as you travel the friendly skies.
What craft do you, or someone on your team, hope to learn within a year?
Besides knitting and crocheting, we’re also woodworkers, weavers, sewers, and more. One thing no one on the team has mastered quite yet, though, is embroidery, and it’s a craft we all admire and would love to try.
Disclaimer: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.