Shwood Handcrafted Wooden Eyewear began its starring role yesterday (Oct. 25) in a six-part Web reality series on Dell’s Facebook page. The Portland, Ore.-based wooden eyewear company won the star turn as the winner of the “America’s Favorite Small Business" contest sponsored by Dell, MasterCard and Microsoft.
The episodes, which will premiere Tuesday and Thursday for the next three weeks, will showcase the day-to-day workings of Shwood. The company was selected from more than 200 entrants in the contest, which challenged businesses with 25 or fewer employees to create and upload via YouTube a short video explaining why they should be selected as America's favorite small business.
Company founder Eric Singer began his business after hand-carving a pair of sunglasses from a Madrone tree limb in his back yard and adding a rusty pair of cabinet hinges and lenses from the corner store. He went from working solo in his workshop to having a staff of 20.
Back in 2005, Singer said, he was making end tables but got tired of doing that.
"I had a tree limb in my hand and started carving," he said.
Today, the company has scaled from making one pair of sunglasses a day to more than 100. The sunglasses, which are made from exotic woods from around the globe such as Zebra wood East India Rosewood and Hawaiian Koa, are available at retailers in the U.S. from Southampton, N.Y., to San Diego, and internationally, from Australia to the U.K.
For being tapped as America's Favorite Small Business, Shwood won $25,000 in Dell products and Microsoft software and a $50,000 MasterCard prepaid card. Ten finalists in the contest received $1,000 MasterCard prepaid cards.
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