Online show shares the stories behind businesses
Shawn Diddy understands the ultimate goal for businesses is sales.
But what the former New Hampton resident who has spent the past two decades presenting and selling thousands of products on television shopping networks really likes is the stories behind those products and those business owners.
“I think it’s fascinating to hear how people ‘found’ their businesses,” Diddy said. “The products are important, I totally understand that, but the stories I think help make the sales.”
So Diddy’s one-woman company, She Did It Productions, partnered with Pixel Labs in Cedar Falls to bring attention to Iowa’s small business with an online show “Local Finds.”
The Facebook Live 30-minute shows began on Black Friday and are currently concentrated on the Cedar Falls-Waterloo area, but this Thursday, Diddy will hook up with a fellow New Hampton High School Class of 1988 member when she interviews Cru9 Wine owner Faythe Stone-Brocka.
Cru9 Wine is a unique business that Stone-Brocka says she started not only because she loves wine but because she wanted her “brand to be an advocate for positive change.”
So for each bottle of wine that she sells, she donates money to organizations like House of Hope in Waterloo, Dorothy’s House in Des Moines and Alternative Pregnancy Centers with the idea being that “every time you buy a CRU9 Wine bottle, you also help level the playing field for survivors of human trafficking, domestic abuse, and homelessness.”
And those are the stories Diddy wants to tell.
“Faythe is a perfect example of a business that has a story, one that goes much further than just the bottom line,” she said, “and I want stories like hers to be heard.”
It’s why each episode of Local Finds also benefits a charity.
Last week, for example, an episode on NRG Pilates supported Court Appointed Special Advocates, and the Cru9 Wine show will feature the House of Hope. Next Tuesday, when Diddy features Lotus and Lou Interiors, she will have a co-host — a “furry friend” from the Cedar Bend Humane Society.
Local Finds is giving Diddy a chance to return to “shop TV,” albeit in a different setting.
After graduating from New Hampton High School, she attended the University of Iowa, transferred and received her degree from the University of Northern Iowa, was named Miss Iowa-USA in 1997 and earned a master’s degree in mass communications from Towson University in Baltimore.
She has presented thousands of products on QVC, HSN, Jewelry Television, ShopHQ, ShopLC and other networks over the past two decades, and for the past two years, she has been pursing a doctorate degree at Maharishi International University in Fairfield.
Diddy is working with Pixel Labs’ Zach Everman to produce “Local Finds,” and the ultimate goal? She’d love to turn it into a regular show that features local businesses with unique stories.
“Zach has been great to work with,” she said, “and we started in the Cedar Valley because that’s where both of us have a lot of contacts. But I’d love to see this branch out. Stories like Faythe’s … they’re everywhere, and I’d love to tell them.”