A Darn Good Mission: Changing Lives Through Yarn

© 2015 Taylor Taz Johnson

By Raye Mocioiu

Seasoned knitters will tell you that part of the joy of knitting is making something that is uniquely yours, formed by your hands. It’s a great way to get in touch with your inner creativity—and it can also be a great way to support the lives of artisans across the globe.

In 2008, Air Force veteran Nicole Snow wanted to learn to knit. Instead of taking a knitting class, she took two of her passions in life—art and helping others—and combined them, creating Darn Good Yarn. She used her experience from college and the Air Force and looked for yarn that could change lives.

In love with colour and interesting textures, Nicole discovered that shredded remnants of old saris could lead to fabulous interpretations of something as commoditized as yarn. Nicole took this opportunity, used this trash, and turned it into craft products and other apparel items.

From the start, Nicole wanted to use her business as a conduit to create a globally conscious lifestyle through art. In parts of India and Nepal, where Darn Good Yarn is focused, there are high levels of unemployment. Nicole’s mission was simple: provide phenomenal quality fibres to enthusiasts, while helping the women of Nepal and India become autonomous and self-reliant—the first step to tackling generational poverty.

The problem was that many of these women were caught in a cycle where, because of their gender, they had no opportunities available to them. The women who work for us are hand-selected for their skill and given a wage that not only allows them to survive, but thrive. This affects the rest of their family as well—their children can stay in school and get an education. So, while our yarn and clothing is made from old processes, it provides the most stability, and in turn, we can pay up to five times the daily rate for a worker in this environment because our core materials are discounted, since they are seconds or trash.—Nicole Snow

To date, Darn Good Yarn has saved more than two million pounds of material waste from heading into landfills and has turned it back into exotic clothing and craft supplies. As well, Darn Good Yarn has employed over 600 artisans with steady work, effectively changing their lives by providing sustainable employment and support.

“All of the yarns are handmade in small batches and undergo extensive quality control,” Nicole shares. “This also means that all of our yarns are, essentially, mirrors of the amazing women who create them.”

For knitters and new crafters alike, Darn Good Yarn’s Yarn of the Month Club is an easy way to experience unique and beautiful yarn that directly supports artisans.

Nayeema with her two daughters Gulafsa and Sonam
Nayeema with her two daughters Gulafsa and Sonam we paid for a surgery for Fareeda last year her two daughters come to work with her to earn extra money, Bhagalpur Bihar India. © - 2015 Taylor Taz Johnson

“Yarn of the Month is by far our most important product we carry, going back to our mission of creating safe and sustainable jobs alongside carrying world-class yarn. For every 100 subscriptions, it creates one full-time job! It’s about making beautiful things and doing good at the same time.”

When you invest in Darn Good Yarn for your projects, you help a family eat, access proper medical care, and send their children to school—you are crafting a globally conscious life that you can feel great about.


Get your free copy of Global Heroes, jam-packed with positive news, straight in your inbox.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Global Heroes Podcast


Subscribe to our Newsletter and Access all issues of Global Heroes News straight in your inbox. 100% free, no purchase necessary, for life. Uplifting stories, highlighting the inspirational efforts of everyday people, celebrities, and organizations, who are diligently working together towards practical solutions to global problems.