Kiah Twissleman Sits Down with Spark*l to Talk Business, Bands, and Cowboy Christmas at NFR
Kiah Twisselman Burchett (@coach_kiah) is a Central California-based life coach, spokeswoman, brand ambassador, rancher—and, of course, Spark*l’s new favorite face on our lives!
Kiah came to our attention a couple of years ago when she started sharing her story of living a healthy and holistic life and how just making small, mindful changes led her to lose more than 125 pounds and slingshot her into the national spotlight.
She recently sat down with us to talk about her evolution, her evolving relationship with Spark*l, and the upcoming National Finals Rodeo, our big coming out event this December in Las Vegas!
I grew up a sixth-generation cattle rancher right here in rural San Luis Obispo, in a small, unincorporated area called Carrisa Plains. I grew up raising cattle, working on the ranch. A lot of my family has been heavily involved in rodeo, and while I’ve never competed, my uncles and cousins have in the past. [Laughs} I’ve been more of the NFR cheerleader and supportive cousin. Our family raises Corriente cattle, which are roping steers. So we’ve traditionally done ropings and rodeos all over the West Coast, but NFR is our Super Bowl.
I love to promote a business that empowers the ones who are shopping in the process.
A hometown girl at heart, I also have a little itch for adventure. I went away to school at UC Davis—yes, I’m the rebel that left. I wanted to spread my wings and just wanted to earn my own reputation—and not study ag. I got a degree in human development with an education minor. But after I graduated, I realized I wanted to stay in ag after all. Thankfully I went to an ag school and was always involved in Young Cattlemen’s Association and ag ambassadors.
After college, I moved to Germany for a program called the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange. It’s for young professionals, a transatlantic exchange between Germany and the US. Seventy-five Americans go to Germany and vice-versa. I heard about it at an ag conference and was the token ag person. It was a month of language school and five months in a rural school in a little town outside Munich, helping them learn about and connect with food—growing it, raising it, seeing where it comes from.
For my first big-kid job, I moved to Kentucky to be director of consumer affairs for the Kentucky Beef Council. It’s there I really honed my skills in marketing and communications. It’s where I really learned how to bridge the gap between producers and consumers of food, and the first time I worked with influencers and media. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a big window into what would come next.
I was happy living in Lexington but missed being on the Central Coast. I also knew I wanted to work for myself. When I was at the beef council, I started a little side hustle that was a marketing firm for smaller ag operations. I did graphic design and illustration and worked with a lot of small businesses and small farms. Out of that came an opportunity for a farm bureau here on the Central Coast. I was with my boyfriend [now husband] at the time and somehow convinced a Kentucky boy to leave the South. We came out, and I was able to really start to spread my wings.
At the same time, I embarked on my own personal health journey. I started really small, just with a few posts here and there on social media that just went out to friends and family. They were immediately super inspired by the changes I was making. And people in my circle would ask me if I would ever consider coaching. I’m a yes girl and decided to try it out, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was working with women, watching them build relationships with themselves, and just trying to form better habits. At the same time, I was still doing marketing—and the National Livestock and Meat Board, the ‘Beef. It’s what’s for dinner’ folks, asked if they could pitch my health journey. They said you eat beef, you know where it comes from, so can we share this? They ended up pitching to People magazine, and I was in the June 2020 transformations issue. Then it just snowballed. I had segments on Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, an article in Women’s Health Magazine…and my social media just boomed overnight.
Cowboy Christmas is a highlight of the season. I love the energy. It’s so fun. I cannot wait to see Rosie the Airstream there!
So I went all in. I’m now Coach Kiah, and I’ve been coaching full-time for more than a year. I’ve been on the Kelly Clarkson show and even had my own Spark*l band. The mission, through coaching and keynoting, is to create a healthy life from the inside out with a mindset-first approach.
It’s become a community that connects women across the world who want to do the work. Since the pandemic, it’s been a virtual space but this spring—and this isn’t official yet, but we’re getting ready—we’re going to host the first ranch wellness retreat, and it’ll be a chance to get all these women from the virtual world to connect in person. I can’t wait.
Spark*l was the first company that reached out to me. I knew they were in my backyard, and I knew they were a woman-run company, but I started looking a little more into them, and everything was just exactly what I’m about. A lot of Spark*l products are made with beef byproducts, but repurposing them and making them incredibly beautiful. Of course, the cowhide bands have a special place in my heart. But I love our partnership. I love getting to participate in the live sales and seeing who’s out there. Most of all, I love to promote a business that empowers the ones who are shopping in the process. What Spark*l does is [help people] become a part of a community. It’s not necessarily about the accessory—though, I mean yeah, they’re gorgeous—but the feeling it gives us.
Almost every year, my family goes to NFR. Cowboy Christmas is a highlight of the season. I love the energy. It’s so fun. I cannot wait to see Rosie the Airstream there! It’s the New York fashion week for the western world and Spark*l bands will make huge waves. I just can’t wait to see it!
Spark*l and Rosie the Airstream will have a booth at the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas located in Cowboy Christmas – Space #4260 from December 1st-11th. Stay tuned for more details and chats with influencers leading up to the big event!