This past week, I had such a blast as a judge for the #FashionTech pitch event. Six businesses gave a presentation to a panel of judges to share their business plans. I was blown away by the talent of these dynamic entrepreneurs.
Held at the General Assembly in San Francisco, the room was packed with fashion enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and techies. Read below for the description of the participating businesses, how we arrived at our decision and tips for creating a solid pitch.
The businesses pitching were:
TO WEAR WITH showcases style for all occasions! Whether dressing for a wedding or a job interview – To Wear With is here as a searchable and (soon to be) shoppable closet! As you engage with different styles To Wear With will build a style profile & recommendations based on your taste and interests.
JOMPERS (jumpsuits & rompers) boast high-tech moisture wicking fabric, stink proof tech & have a nice lightweight drape as well! Jompers feel like pajamas, perform like athleticwear & push fashion forward. Every chick could usea pair for those SUPER busy days (running from work, to the gym, and then to an event) JOMPER saves you time, space & worry so you can focus on being a badass chick!
LACE & LIBERTY is a direct to consumer wedding dress company focusing on high quality versatile pieces, made to measure individually for the modern bride. Our initial collection consists of a variety of tops, skirts and little white dresses which can all be purchased separately and styled in many different ways to reflect a bride’s own style and taste. They make every piece to a bride’s individual measurements, allow for small customizations, to give brides choices and flexibility to create the perfect look for their big day.
BLUE TOPAZ is a bluetooth earring that combines fashion and function. Talk on the phone, listen to music, send and receive text messages, interface with a digital assistant, mute or amplify outside sound. Pierced version is the most secure and comfortable way to attach an object to the body. Superior audio quality and functionality. Durable titanium construction.
LEVANTER APP is a mobile application that allows makers to document and analyze their projects progress. Levanter’s algorithm will suggest projects to makers based on their matched skills and it can also introduce makers to others that have the skills they miss to complete their projects.
SAVVY SOCIETY is an online educational platform that exposes girls to the magic of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) through fashion design! Girls design their own accessories call Savvy Swirls to interchangeably attach to their Savvy Shoes. We bring their designs to life with 3D printing. Through the design process, girls develop concrete CAD (computer-aided design) skills and get excited about opportunities in STEM.
How we judged the presentations:
We based our decision on these viability factors-
- Team's experience
- Proprietary (could the product or process be easily copied or not)
Collectively, we chose Lace & Liberty as the winner. Danielle had a fabulous presentation that demonstrated proof of concept and scored high on all of the viability factors.
Five tips for your pitch:
- Practice your pitch before you have to give it. Also, be sure to ask the organizer how long you have to pitch. You may think you have ten minutes, but only have five.
- Be open to feedback. During a pitch, the judges are there to help you. Not everyone's advice will be a good advice, but don't get defensive if they have some critiques. It's only meant to help you grow your business.
- Know your numbers! Make sure you know your cost per customer acquisition, how much it cost to produce your products, how many units you've sold to date, and a realistic valuation.
- Identify your revenue model. As someone that is all about profitability, this is a biggie for me. I need to know how you will make money from this---which in turn means how I will make money from it.
- Relax and have fun! Pitching is the easy part. Remember you've done all the hard work and if you're prepared it will go smoothly.
For more tips on how to raise funding for your business, check out Xero's two-part guide "Raise Money for Your Business."
Danetha Doe is a business strategist and loves to help entrepreneurs build successful businesses. Contact her at [email protected] or sign up for her free weekly newsletter, #MoneyandMimosas. Full of fun, solid business advice delivered every Monday morning.