Let’s say you’ve got an idea for an amazing new business. You’ve got a plan! You’ve got a pitch! You’ve got a dream!
And … you might also have some questions — maybe a few fears, too. Perhaps you’ve listened to a few of our podcast eps with badass women in business, like Cat Lincoln of CLEVER or photographer and entrepreneur Kyle Hepp, and you’re feeling both inspired and a smidge concerned about how your pitch will be received in the male-dominated venture capital space.
Well, you know how we’re big fans of Title Nine? It’s not just because of their fantastic clothes — it’s also because the company is all about supporting women in a variety of ways, including the annual Title Nine Movers & Makers Pitchfest, an event designed to support, promote, and encourage female-led brands to risk, own, and lead in their business endeavors by pitching their brand to seasoned professionals, after which winners receive marketing, sales, and mentoring support.
Title Nine’s Molly Hanks, the woman behind Title Nine’s Movers & Makers Pitchfest (who also happens to be the brand’s Lead Bravangelist — seriously, she knows all things bras and helps to create their highly-curated bra selection), spent a few minutes answering some of our questions about Pitchfest, along with offering some advice to those of you out there who may be considering whether a pitch contest like this is the right next step for you and your dream.
Why is the T9 Movers & Makers Pitchfest so important, and why might a female entrepreneur want to attend it rather than another pitch contest?
The Title Nine Movers & Makers Pitchfest is important because we are helping to elevate the stories on female entrepreneurs in the outdoor industry. While other Pitchfests typically offer cash prizes, we provide long-term support by offering one-on-one mentorship, thorough product feedback, marketing support in our catalog, and purchase orders.
What should women know when they begin the pitching process, whether that’s with T9 or elsewhere?
For our Pitchfest we set up finalists with an experienced mentor (female founders who we currently do business with). These mentors provide insight and guidance for the finalists prior to their pitches, offering feedback and a space to practice in the months leading up to the event. In general at Title Nine, we want to get to know the founder and her product. We encourage all participants to be authentic and genuine in their pitches, being themselves rather than focusing on being polished. We want to see their personalities, and while of course we are looking for great product to sell, we are also searching for badass women who are taking risks and taking up space.
Could you talk about some of the things that women gain at Pitchfest, whether they win or not?
The most gratifying part of Pitchfest was realizing that, no matter their involvement, everyone left feeling exhilarated and motivated. The winners, the people who don’t win, the judges, the mentors, the speakers, the Title Nine employees, the women-owned businesses who provided coffee, food, and snacks; we all made meaningful connections. We laughed, we cried, we played together, we competed, and we all walked away feeling like we could take bigger risks in life and work. We grew our networks, and already a ton of cool collaborations have evolved from the connections made at our Title Nine Pitchfest.
Do you have any other advice for women who are just starting out in business?
Take risks, fail fast and learn from it, just keep going — and don’t give up majority ownership!
Who out there has attended something like Pitchfest? Got any other advice you’d offer to the entrepreneurs-to-be who are reading? —Kristen