We interviewed Otto Strauch from Strauch Fiber Equipment, one of our 2016 Bison Sponsors.
Spinzilla: What is the focus of your shop/business?
Otto: Our focus is to educate folks in the wonderful world of fiber processing. We want to show them that it does not have to be an arduous chore, but rather enjoyable. Fiber prep is another way to stimulate one’s creativity. We do all this by making tools that are well designed, durable, and fun to use.
Spinzilla: What is your typical day like?
Otto: My day starts at 7AM. Orders are entered on the production board so that our staff knows what’s to be made and shipped. From 8-4 it’s busy, busy. Questions from workers are fielded, incoming parts shipments are processed, emails answered, and I still take some time to build carders. From 4-7PM, end of the day paperwork is finished and the production shops are made ready for the next day.
Spinzilla: What is your favorite part of the job?
Otto: Even though most of my time is running the business, I really love to spend time in the shop making and improving our equipment for the fiber enthusiast.
Spinzilla: That must be satisfying. Which of your products specifically help spinners produce more yardage and how?
Otto: That’s an easy one. It’s our world class drum carders! Drum carders are needed to produce batts or rovings in order to spin. Folks have told us that because of the unique design of our carders, they can produce batts faster, smoother, and easier, allowing them to spin up more yarn in a given time.
Spinzilla: That is a great thing for Spinzilla spinners to remember! You also have a nice “helpful hints” section on your website. It’s one thing to have tools, and another thing to use them to their best advantage! What about your business would surprise our team hosts and spinners?
Otto: We are a very nimble company. We can respond quickly to customer’s special requests and get them exactly what they need for a specific job.
Spinzilla: What kinds of crafts or other activities do you enjoy personally?
Otto: Actually, my company is also my hobby. But, I do spend some time on non-business related wood working projects.
Spinzilla: What is your fiber background?
Otto: None! I was a manufacturing engineer in the corporate world. But, Joanne, also from the corporate environment, spun, knitted, and crocheted for relaxation.
Spinzilla: Many of our sponsors came to the fiber world after being in the corporate world. I guess the lesson is that if you like fiber, you might be able to try to make a living in a related business at some point. What was the first fiber item that ever caught your interest?
Otto: That’s easy, Cashmere. We raised cashmere goats for over twenty years and Joanne is still spinning and blending that luxurious fiber.
Spinzilla: Tell us why you are in the fiber business. How did you get started?
Otto: Fortunately, we were both able to retire at a very young age. To keep us active, Joanne pursued her love of fiber and I wanted to continue working with my hands. As the years went on, we attended more shows and festivals. Joanne saw a need for better equipment and first asked me to make a stronger swift for her yarn winding. We experienced rather rapid growth which led us to what is now Strauch Fiber Equipment Company.
Spinzilla: Why are you sponsoring Spinzilla?
Otto: It’s a great way to inspire the fiber community and to be able to answer their fiber processing needs.
Spinzilla: What is the most fiber fun you have had?
Otto: I love to interact with people at shows, and to see their looks of amazement when they experience for themselves how our carders blend fibers, and I like to see the beautiful batts they make. Their enthusiasm is contagious.
Spinzilla: Well, so is yours! Thanks for the interview and for your generous support of Spinzilla, and keep up the good work making wonderful tools!
Find out more about Strauch Fiber Equipment on their website!