Soktevy “Tevy” Phann tells her customers that her gourmet cotton candy is “a little science, a little magic.” It seems to be working, too, because in just a year Tevy’s business “Spinning Wylde” has transformed from a festival vendor to a brick-and-mortar store. Originally, Tevy wanted to sell Cambodian food, but knew that the startup investment was too much. Evelyn Mouacheupao, AEDA’s creative placemaking projects manager, seeking unique foods for the Little Mekong Night Market, came to the rescue by suggesting that Tevy use her cotton candy machine for the 2017 Night Market instead. “Evelyn really supported me,” Tevy said. She named her business “Spinning Wylde”: a creative take on the cylindrical machine that produces cotton candy and her energetic son, Wylde.
Tevy’s “instagrammable” cotton candy creations caught the attention of many Night Market visitors. With Night Market success, Tevy was encouraged to think about bigger possibilities. She decided to pursue her new business at other festivals. She asked AEDA’s business development program for assistance, and enrolled in AEDA’s financial literacy training and credit building. After improving her credit, she qualified for a business micro-loan and was able to buy a photo booth and generator to bolster her customer’s experience at festivals.
Even though Tevy didn’t have much business experience, she had a vision for her business that became a reality because of her dedication and creativity. With red-and-white striped umbrellas, a rug, lawn chairs, and a “chalk bus,” Spinning Wylde is more than just a product – it’s an experience. Customers loved her product, and Spinning Wylde continued to garner positive reviews.
At one of these festivals, Tevy was offered a stall at Raas, a market in the Mall of America. Until this point, Tevy thought that Spinning Wylde would only last the summer. She reconsidered, and decided to accept the offer as a way to sustain her business during the winter months. While at the Mall of America, Tevy experimented with her flavors and packaging. Now, Spinning Wylde offers over 50 different flavors – including Lavendar Love, Wasabi, Coconut Cream, and Lemon Cardamom – that are naturally sourced and free of artificial dyes. Tevy moved out of the Mall of America early this month and is working to fundraise $25,000 on Kickstarter for the opening of her brick-and-mortar shop in August. Tevy has enjoyed the experience of being a business owner. “Spinning Wylde is about joyful making and joyful giving,” she said. “I’m making a magical, ethereal thing.”