If you ever needed testimony to the power of social media, look no further than the recently completed “Battle of the Brands” competition.
Sponsored by Little Rock-based Arkansas Capital Corp., the aim of the contest was to boost awareness for state entrepreneurs and to draw attention to a new web site, ArkSourceLink.com.
The site provides free resources and a one-stop shop for start-ups and existing businesses looking for advice ranging from funding to marketing to mentorship.
The March Madness-style “Battle of the Brands” contest pitted famous – and yet to be famous – iconic Arkansas companies against one another. Every week, businesses competed against each other to advance in the tournament bracket.
From a field of 64, the Final Four included Guillermo’s Gourmet Grounds, The Twisted Purl, Whole Hog Cafe, and Yarnell’s.
Everyone loves a Cinderella story and The Twisted Purl certainly pulled the upset of all upsets. It beat Whole Hog Cafe in the finals – no small feat for a one-person company with a worldwide audience.
Talk Business Arkansas visited with Cyndi Minister, owner of The Twisted Purl, a Conway-based homemade yarn and fiber company. Minister, who describes herself as “an avid knitter and full-time spinner,” was born in England, grew up in California, lived for a period in Vermont, and now calls Arkansas home.
TBA: What made you enter the competition?
Minister: I learned about the competition while attending BarCamp Conway earlier this year and thought it would be a fun way to get my business name out there. By entering the competition, I had hoped The Twisted Purl would get a tad more statewide support and recognition. Plus, I love competitions.
TBA: What happened to you and your business through the course of this competition?
Minister: It was just such an honor to have been chosen as one of the Top 64 Brands among so many recognized, state loved companies. Weekly, I had to adjust social media strategies and come up with new approaches to keep our fans and followers engaged. It was a blast! From covering a Daisy BB Gun in yarn to creating numerous weekly themed items, I tried to keep it fun. I watched as our fan base grew and in turn our sales increased. My family and I celebrated each weekly victory with shock and an extremely grateful attitude. Handmade is a story that must be told and sharing our journey has been immeasurable.
TBA: How will you capitalize on what has happened over the course of the past few weeks?
Minister: The Twisted Purl is a handmade company run by just one crafty, crazy, yarn lady. I plan on continuing to share my love of Fiber Arts and my passion of handmade. Each skein of handmade yarn is a unique creation and our customers get to take the yarn and continue their own handmade story by creating something of their own. I hope the momentum we have built, can help to shed more light on Fiber Arts and other handmade businesses, as well as to continue to propel our own company. Handmade is heart and passion and is treasured for generations. I’m just blessed to be able to do what I love and share the adventure with others.
TBA: Are you surprised you won and got so much voting support?
Minister: Each week, I was astonished to get past each company. I was absolutely floored to have beat Whole Hog Cafe in the end. I mean, this is Arkansas, we are pretty passionate about our BBQ and our Hogs! The support The Twisted Purl received was amazing. We had votes coming in from all over the world and it seriously blew me away. Being a small business of one and having to run every aspect of the company myself is difficult at times but very rewarding. Having the support of our fans, friends, and family in such an outpouring has been overwhelming and really meant the world.