On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a group of craft brands with my guests Mark Hyland and Ursula Morgan.

Mark Hyland is the CEO of Premier Needle Arts. He’s a seasoned marketing, sales, and corporate executive with 30+ years of experience building brands and successful organizations. Mark’s hands-on leadership style found him in various leadership positions implementing strategic direction and execution guidance at multi-million to billion-dollar brands and companies during his career. Today, Mark continues to provide his leadership to the brands and companies of Premier Needle Arts, where is focusing on growth initiatives, long-term strategy, and M&A opportunities within the needle arts world.

Ursula Morgan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Crafts Group. Ursula is a global award-winning seasoned technology and craft business executive. Before joining Crafts Group in January 2020, Ursula led the digital innovation and marketing team as Senior Vice President at CSS Industries. Previously Ursula held the CEO role at Creativebug, a Subscription Video On Demand platform, and led the acquisition of Creativebug by JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores in 2017. (Listen to Ursula’s first interview on our podcast when she was at Creativebug.)

This episode is sponsored by Wool and Waves.

An online yarn, needles, and notions shop.

Wool & Waves is an online yarn, needles and notions shop. Based on Vancouver Island, we offer a wide variety of Canadian Indie Dyed yarns and products from a host of talented small businesses. We’re crafters too and can help you make your project dreams come true! Listeners can save 15% off regular priced yarn, needles, and notions with code CIA15 until November 30, 2021. Visit us at woolandwaves.com or Yarn.ca

We begin this conversation with Mark talking about being recruited to become the CEO of Handi Quilter in 2005. He explains the potential he saw in the company at that time and how it grew under his leadership. Next, Mark explains his current role at Premier Needle Arts. Next, Ursula talks about what drew her to the position at Craft Group.

Mark explains how private equity works and the role of BluePoint Capital Partners in Premier Needle Arts. Mark also clears up any rumors about the firm buying an industry trade show.

knit picks yarn

Ursula talks about building WeCrochet, the newest brand in the family, including creating a magazine-like catalog and a podcast. She also talks about KnitPicks new 100% American-made yarn, High Desert. We discuss how the pandemic impacted their business and how they think the crafts industry will fare as the world begins to open up again. Finally, we discuss mergers and acquisitions and what Mark is looking at when considering acquiring a company, and we finish up by discussing the traits of a good leader.

And, of course, I ask Mark and Ursula to recommend great stuff they’re enjoying right now.

Mark recommends:

Ursula recommends:

  • sewing and knitting for her new grandson
  • hiking and camping on the West Coast
  • Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordo

Keep up with Mark and Ursula through the Premier Needles Arts brands.

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