BRATTLEBORO — Vermont Weaving Supplies, located in Putney, is this year’s winner of the business plan competition presented by the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.
“Our mission is to inspire, educate, empower and be profitable,” said Dena Moses, who has been weaving for 35 years and who launched the business in 2020 after 13 years of running the Vermont Weaving School.
Vermont Weaving Supplies specializes in the sales of looms, weaving equipment and yarn for beginning through experienced weavers.
“Last year, my sales exploded,” said Moses. “It became clear how important it was to create a plan for growth.”
While the business provides access to supplies for weavers, Moses said the largest segment of her business is a weaving club. Those who sign up for the club receive a kit every two months that includes four tubes of yarn, a lesson plan on a specific topic and a pattern. Club members also participate in virtual meetings to discuss their projects and ask for assistance.
Currently, the club has 360 members, an increase of 130 members since she wrote her business plan for the competition.
As the winner, Moses will receive $20,000 from the Windham County Economic Development Program, $5,000 in Amazon website assistance, and coaching and technical assistance from the nonprofit county agency.
Moses said she will use the money and the assistance to extend the reach of the subscription club, inside and outside of the U.S.
However, noted Adam Grinold, executive director of the agency, Moses will not receive the grant in one lump sum. She will have to reach certain milestones to receive the funds.
Eyad Salha, who will provide technical assistance for credit corporation, said the agency initially received 15 applications, which was winnowed down to six.
Volunteer judges, including Michael Alexander of Recycle Away, Leda Scheintaub of Dosa Kitchen, Peter Carvell of Brattleboro Savings and Loan, and Brian Holt of 1A Coffee Roasters, reviewed the applications, receiving assistance from Windham County Economic Development Program council members.
Salha said, even though there was only one winner, all those who participated expressed thanks and said they found the process to be fun and engaging, and pushed them to think differently about their businesses.
Moses agreed, and said even if she had not been named the winner, she appreciated the process, as well.
She also thanked the state of Vermont for a grant from Restart Vermont in 2020 that helped her launch Vermont Weaving Supplies.