By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (April 6, 2016) — What started as a western boutique in Stephenville has grown to present a legendary musician in concert.
In New York City, no less.
Twisted J Apparel presents Steven Tyler “Out On A Limb” is a charity concert at the Lincoln Center on May 2. It benefits Janie’s Fund for abused girls.
“It was told to me once that if you make it in Manhattan, you’ve made it in the world,” said Twisted J owner Cody Johnson. “So I hope this means we’ve made it in Manhattan.”
Twisted J has definitely made it, so to speak, on social media.
When Tyler, the legendary lead singer of the famed rock band Aerosmith, announced the concert Monday on his personal and professional social media, the release instantly went viral.
“There were ten of millions of interactions in a matter of hours on Facebook, Twitter, InstaGram, even Tumbler,” said Lindsey Black, director of social media and marketing for Twisted J. “I was trying to track it, but every half hour it was growing exponentially.”
It’s just the latest exponential increase of the Twisted J brand after Cody and his wife, Luann Johnson, represented their business at festivities leading up to both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
And they aren’t done. While planning for the Steven Tyler event, Twisted J staff were also notified their products have been selected by Ellen De Generes and will be featured on her hit daytime talk show, Ellen.
All this while the boutique and headquarter offices of Twisted J are being relocated to the spacious building on US Highway 377 North that was previously the home of Down Under Horsemanship.
“This has been a super exciting few months for us with moving and everything, and then for this deal with Steven Tyler to become official and that press release to explode the way it did, I mean that’s global,” said Johnson, shaking his head. “If you had told me this is how it would happen I never would have believed you. We still feel like we’re just a boutique (and now a screen print and embroidery service) in Stephenville.
“I couldn’t do it without my team. If it wasn’t for the team that we have, none of this would be possible, and from the most sincere bottom part of my heart I thank everyone who has helped us get where we’re at,” Johnson continued. “It also doesn’t happen if we don’t live and work in the greatest community on the Earth, and that’s Stephenville and Erath County.”
The Johnsons and Twisted J have spent the first quarter of 2016 spreading a bit of Stephenville around Hollywood and the globe, but nothing to this magnitude.
“There will be a red carpet event in Manhattan that day, and we’ll be at a cocktail party where I get to speak in front of 200 of the biggest VIPs in the entertainment industry,” Johnson said. “This is something in my wildest dreams I never would have imagined I would be doing.”
Because Johnson, as he will be the first to tell you, is just a country boy, a niche that has caught on among the celebrities he’s met this year.
“They all called me the cowboy from Texas in California, now I guess they can call me that in Manhattan,” he said.
Black says the official announcement of the concert reached more than 30 million people Monday alone.
“There were more than 2,000 shares from Steven Tyler’s page, and it wasn’t just that there were a lot of shares, it was because of who was sharing it,” said Black. “It was being shared by companies like Yahoo! Finance and Live Nation.”
Businesses that probably didn’t even realize they were promoting a boutique in Texas. Of course, with their new website up and running – getalittletwisted.com – the Johnson’s and staff are prepared to keep to their Stephenville roots while expanding the sale of their products to a global scale.
All while helping a good cause.
“When I first looked into this and saw it was benefitting abused girls, that was really the coolest part of it for me, because Cody and all the Johnsons have such huge hearts. Anytime we have anything extra Cody wants to give it away where it can do the most good,” said Black. “That’s why this really fits him like a glove. It’s a way to give back and change lives while also expanding our brand awareness.”
The new location and a pending product appearance on Ellen just add to the excitement.
Once the interior remodel work is complete in the front of their new headquarters, Twisted J will move its boutique there from the Bosque River Center. There is ample office space for the entire staff, a wing reserved from the screen printing and embroidery side of the business and a large warehouse for stocking and shipping.
“I’ve been told if you are seen on Ellen and you aren’t ready to handle the volume of orders that come in, it could sink you. We’re dang sure going to be ready,” Johnson said. “All of this is happening fast, but it’s happening with a plan in mind, too.”
A plan that includes sharing a small part of the Cowboy Capital of the World with the masses.
“Everywhere I go, one of the first things people hear from me is I’m from Stephenville and it’s the Cowboy Capital of the World and the greatest place on earth,” said Johnson. “We want to be successful, not just for us, but so we can represent this great community everywhere that Twisted J goes.
Like Hollywood, New York and with a little help from the likes of Steven Tyler and the Ellen, perhaps even worldwide.
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