Google has been a big part of our growth by helping us drive a more thematic approach to our website, to attract the people looking for our products.
When mother-and-son team Karen and Ben Hostetler looked around at the ranches in their Buffalo, Wyoming hometown, they wondered why they couldn’t buy anything made with local wool. “It became a passion to start putting a brand identity to the wool raised in this area of the U.S., and it went from there,” Karen says. The pair launched Mountain Meadow Wool in 2007, helping around 50 ranchers annually to process and trace their wool through production and into yarn and other products. “Most mills in the U.S. specialize in one area of the process so wool is sent away, but we do everything from washing the wool to spinning and knitting it into garments,” Ben explains. “We work with third- or fourth-generation ranchers who, for the first time, can see something being made out of the products they raised. There's a great sense of pride.”
When the pandemic began and more crafters and knitters were searching for quality wool products, the Hostetlers saw an opportunity to boost their online presence and reach people looking for specific types of yarn and wool. They began sharing YouTube videos with behind-the-scenes stories, and tweaked their marketing with Google Ads optimization tools to better reach audiences. That resulted in a 617 percent increase in customer conversions in just six months, from both crafty customers and retailers. “Online visibility drove the most growth,” Ben says. “More people buy directly from our website via online searches, then they go into their brick-and-mortar store and ask for our yarns, and then that store calls us so they can carry our yarns in their store.” Now, Mountain Meadow Wool’s 24,000 sq. ft. facility is one of the biggest employers in the historically boom-bust local economy, providing stable jobs for 24 people–and one sheep. Yarnold, their fluffy mascot, pitches in to attract tourists who regularly stop by to visit him.