Just a few weeks ago, I was notified of an invitation on facebook by my friend and former Creative Director of Lotus Premium Denim, RiaMae Marquez. She shared with me the “Fashion Tech Roundup 4.0 : Women Startups – Pitch Night” event sponsored by SF/FAMA (San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance) that was being held in San Francisco on May 24th. I skimmed the event details and thought to myself, “What the heck. It should be fun to pitch Blooms Privé! At the very least, I’ll be happy with the experience and exposure of our startup.” Also, it doesn’t hurt to practice speaking in front of strangers. I filled out the application and sent it off, crossing all my fingers with a quick prayer.
Within 3 weeks, I got an email informing me Blooms Privé was selected to be pitched at the event. My jaw dropped. Uh-oh, now I really have to practice! My adrenalin shot all the way up since countdown to D-Day was less than a week away. As nervous as I was, I knew I was ready for it.
The day of the event arrived, and I still had not practiced my pitch. Tamiko, Creative Director of Blooms Privé, finalized our pitch deck and made it beautiful. All it needed was a flawless delivery. In all my years of developing an idea or startup, one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am not so good at memorizing rehearsed speeches or presentations. And this was no exception.
“Just go with your heart,” my sister and co-founder Marie told me.
Both Tamiko and Marie accompanied me to the event. I confessed to them I had not practiced my pitch, but that I felt I understood the different aspects of the product need and solution, the market, and goals for the business. I apologized in advance if I messed up. Despite it all, they reassured me of their unwavering confidence and support. From what I was told, they were more nervous for me than I appeared to be myself that night.
A quick prayer for guidance and gratitude, and I was next up to present.
My nervousness went away. I went up there and shared my heart and my passion. I can only remember the occasional smiles and grins when I shared my story and how the idea of Blooms Privé came about. At the end of my pitch, I was asked a few questions by the judges. They showed their enthusiasm for the idea and their genuine excitement for the market opportunities. I was humbled by all of it. I extended another prayer of gratitude and appreciation for this moment.
After my pitch, I excused myself to the back of room and poured a glass of wine while the judges were deliberating. About 10 minutes later, the MC announced the results and told us it was a close tie all around. I stood alone in the back of the room, already pleased with the experience and couldn’t wait to discuss critiques with my team members in the car.
Then I heard the winner of the pitch competition was Blooms Privé. I felt myself blushing and grinning from ear to ear. WE WON!!! The rest of the night was a dream come true. My team and I thanked the sponsors of the event and congratulated the other startups for a job well done. We drove home delirious, grateful, and excited for what will unfold next for Blooms Privé.
With our launch just a few weeks away on Kickstarter, this memorable night couldn’t have come at a better time. WE ARE SO READY!
Thank you for rooting for us and thank you for inspiring us to keep reaching for the stars.