Grand­mas are the se­cret in­gre­di­ent in this com­pany’s for­mula

Inc. (USA) - - CONTENTS - JEMIMA MCEVOY

“People send us pic­tures of the crazy blan­kets and sweaters they’re knit­ting,” sighs Faus­tine Badrichani. This isn’t some weird Tin­der story, we swear: Badrichani’s three-year-old startup, Wooln, con­tracts with grand­mas—and only grand­mas—to hand-knit the com­pany’s hats, blan­kets, and snoods. Wooln cur­rently works with nine nanas. Its flag­ship bean­ies re­tail for $145. Grand­mas get paid 30 per­cent of the whole­sale price (which is gen­er­ally half of what con­sumers pay). Be­sides be­ing avail­able on­line, Wooln wares are for sale in five re­tail shops; Badrichani and co-founder Mar­gaux Rousseau ex­pect that num­ber will dou­ble this win­ter.

The two have a sim­ple test for grand­moth­ers who del­uge them with pho­tos of knitwear: “We give them one item to make,” says Badrichani. “You know if it’s go­ing to work.” Some­times, it works bet­ter than she’d imag­ine. An­nie Gan­ter (above), grandma of five who’s “older than 60 but younger than 90,” knits for Wooln and also dab­bles in biz dev: She struck a deal with Cutchogue, New York, shop Phoebe & Belle to carry Wooln’s wares. That’s good for busi­ness, but per­haps that’s se­condary to some­thing even big­ger, Gan­ter sug­gests: mak­ing “a grand­mother feel im­por­tant and happy.”

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