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On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about in-person events with my guest, Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX, Inc, publishers of XRX Books and promoters of STITCHES Expos. We recorded this show live and in person at STITCHES United in Hartford, Connecticut (read my show report). It was a great experience being able to sit down with Benjamin to talk about the yarn industry in person.

Benjamin is a second-generation partner in this 31-year-old company originally started by his uncle, Alexis Xenakis, his father, David Xenakis, and their partner Elaine Rowley. He’s been a part of the fiber industry since his family opened a yarn shop in Sioux Falls, SD when he was a small boy, an enterprise that later evolved into XRX. After a career in the software industry, Benjamin rejoined the company eleven years ago as CEO and Director of Marketing & Sales. It’s his intention to carry on the legacy of passion and commitment that characterized his family’s contributions to the fiber world.

Stitches United Hartford, CT

I ask Benjamin how his family came to own a yarn shop, The Golden Fleece, in Sioux Falls, SD originally, and how that shop grew to become XRX, Inc. Benjamin’s father, Alexis, was a weaver who became world renown for his work on the rigid heddle loom, including his development of the Xenakis technique. The store became a hub of top level teachers and from there the family got into the publishing and events business. We talk about the recent decision to shutter Knitters Magazine.

Stitches United Hartford

A glimpse of the show floor at STITCHES United in Hartford, CT, where we recorded this episode.

When STITCHES began the reception in the knitting world wasn’t 100% positive among local yarn shop owners. Benjamin explains why that was and how he believes STITCHES events can be a marketing boon for local stores. We also talk about a new product he’s developing that will allow for in-store purchases of digital books.

Weave Knit Wear

A new title published by XRX, Books: Weave, Knit, Wear by Judith Shangold.

And, of course, I ask Benjamin to recommend great stuff he’s enjoying right now. Benjamin recommends:

  • zombie apocalypse novels
  • playing Pokemon Go
  • and watching movies on the Hallmark channel, especially around the holidays

Catch up with everything happening with XRX, Inc. on their website.

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Sew Surprised

Today’s episode is sponsored by Sew Surprised. Sew Surprised is a learn-to-sew subscription box that is delivered to your door every month. Each box will contain all the materials needed to make a complete project, along with a link to a video showing you exactly how to complete the project. Sew Surprised is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to sew, and we have boxes for boys, girls, and adults too! Visit us at Sew Surprised to get started and use the code WhileSheNaps to get free shipping on your first box!

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You can listen to this episode by clicking on the green arrow below, or subscribe to the Craft Industry Alliance podcast in iTunes or on Stitcher so you never miss an episode. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it! Thank you so much.

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