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Shwood – Eyewear Made With Handcrafted Wood

Most people with myopia these days may opt for corrective laser eye surgery or contact lenses, but a beautiful, well-crafted pair of eye glasses is still undoubtedly a statement piece, a declaration of one's personal fashion. It's even more impressive when said eye glasses are handcrafted by true, creative artists - such as those made by Shwood Handcrafted Wooden Eyewear, an eyewear company that comprises of artists, musicians, and even skateboarders who put together beautiful, unique eyewear made from... natural wood. Portland, Oregon-based Shwood was founded by Eric Singer, whose inspiration for starting the company came from hand-carving a pair of sunglass frames one day out of a Madrone tree limb from his own backyard, adding a rusty pair of cabinet hinges and lenses from a corner store. He then grew from working alone in his workshop to having around 20 staff, all creative types, putting together some of the most beautiful - and hip - wood-framed eyewear ever. And it all started from a desire to experiment with using materials found in natural surroundings, and incorporating design and aesthetics to produce a truly unique product.

America's Favorite Small Business

It's perhaps not a surprise then, that Shwood recently emerged as the winner of "America's Favorite Small Business", a contest sponsored by Dell, MasterCard and Microsoft. Earlier this year in August, businesses with 25 or fewer employees were invited to create a short video explaining why they should be America’s Favorite Small Business (AFSB), and upload the video via YouTube. Judges then narrowed down  more than 200 video entries to the best 10 submissions and invited the public to vote for their favorite. Shwood came up tops, winning a US$75,000 prize package - which includes US$25,000 in Dell solutions and Microsoft software, as well as a US$50,000 MasterCard prepaid card. The company then became the subject of a six-part web reality show as well, with each episode showcasing Shwood's day-to-day workings (you can find the web episodes on Dell's Facebook page). It's truly amazing what one can create with some creativity, a bit of inspiration, and the right materials.    

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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