Keep moving forward: Our Kauffman Foundation Demo Day pitch (with slides and a video!)

Yesterday my partner Sarah and I presented a quick six-minute slide deck about Hello Holiday at the Kauffman Foundation’s Demo Day in Kansas City. KC is in the midst of their Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration, and we were honored to be included as an Omaha startup. Also an honor to hold down the XX-chromosome contingency out of the 24 startups presenting that day. There was certainly a “type” of founder that day.

After the anxiety from the impending presentation died down and I re-watched what we said (we start at 1:30:00 if you want to fast-forward), I tried to look at it objectively. Here are some things I wish we had done better or differently:

  • Opened up with a screenshot of our website instead of our logo. I think this would have reinforced to the audience that we are a working business with revenue instead of just an idea.  Maybe a timeline would have been effective.
  • I wish I had maybe spoken less extensively about my personal background. Not that necessary.
  • I wish we had talked more about how we created what we have now instead of what we want to create. I think our vision would have been more clear that way.
  • I did not need to get super into explaining Instagram. That came out of my nervousness. I needed to talk more about how we’re going to innovate on OUR site rather than blabbing about social media.
  • I should have explained the percentage of inventory we have now that is from emerging designers vs. the percentage of other  brands/vintage we carry. (Right now in our early stages we only carry exclusive pieces from emerging designers Jane Round and La Lisette, and all the rest of our pieces are from mainstream brands like Seychelles and Dear Creatures.)

Otherwise I thought we did pretty well. Oh man I can’t even tell you how much ACCOUNTING I’ve done over the last two weeks preparing for the Q&A session. Turns out nobody asked us to expand on our financials at all.

Related sidenote, the 15th is going to be a big day for us too. It’s Sarah’s birthday (28! 28!), my deadline for the first part of my book, and the day Y Combinator announces interviews for its Winter 2013 class of startups. We’re non-technical co-founders but we had a pretty strong application and video, I think. I had everyone I know review it before we sent it and we had the recommendations of a few former YC founders so hopefully that will boost our chances a bit too.

Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe we won’t hear back. We applied to three different incubators this year and we got rejected from one of them so far. Obviously the incubators don’t matter to our business progress or goals, but we’d love to use them to gain some good advisers, publicity, and mentoring.

Keeping on!

xx

 

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2 thoughts on “Keep moving forward: Our Kauffman Foundation Demo Day pitch (with slides and a video!)”

  1. My two cents says:

    Practice makes perfect, Megan! Maybe giving your talk to friends/family and letting them ask you questions will help you prepare? Or you could look for a start-up group/society in your area?

    Bottom line, you must be able to speak about your company (and all the gritty details) like you’re having any old conversation. That’s what close friends who’ve been through all it tell me :)

    Best best best of luck!

  2. Sarah Allison says:

    Good luck:)


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Alice Elfie’s Day Off

Alice and I stayed home today so we could start making presents for our family. It's hard to find much time to be together and do any of that between getting off work and bedtime, so we both took a day off! We listened to the Mariah Carey holiday Pandora station all day and had personal pan pizzas delivered for lunch, and ate all the cookies we wanted from a cookie exchange we went to last weekend. Here's what we made, including links!

OOTD: Clothes to covet

Today Alice and I are staying home to work on all of our Christmas gifts together! With my new work schedule, there isn't a lot of time between work and bed to finish any meaningful projects together, so we both took the day off to make and wrap all of our gifts. One thing on my gift list is this outfit. If we don't sell out of my size before the holidays, I'll definitely be buying it from the store. Usually I just buy whatever I want as things come in or order extra for myself, but during the holidays I want to give all of our extra inventory a chance to sell at full price before I snatch it up.

Clark & Company: Young guns in the Omaha music spotlight

This summer was the first time I heard Clark & Company’s music. I was at a friend’s house for a big party and the place was buzzing with lively discussions between friends reuniting and new introductions being made. I heard Clark & Company in the background of all this fun, and it was the kind of sound that you at first think is coming through some speakers somewhere. Soon, singer Sophie Clark’s beautiful, soulful voice caught my ear, and I began paying more attention to the music than the conversation.

Starting a Storefront

So I've never worked clothing retail before. In college I worked at a record store for a while, but it was pretty much exactly like the movie High Fidelity and thus not a legit retail experience. As we were preparing to open our first retail location for the Hello Holiday offices, everyone who knows me kept saying stuff like, "Well, I hope you can handle retail." "I think you're gonna find that running a physical store is a lot different." "Well, I look forward to hearing how THAT goes." It's like when you're a parent and you say stuff like, "I'm planning on taking my kid to work most days," and other parents knowingly go, "Oh, YOU'LLLLLL see."

I opened a store. Here’s what it looks like.

On November 25th, right before Thanksgiving, Sarah and I opened Hello Holiday's first brick-and-mortar location. When we started Hello Holiday, we had no intention of opening a physical store, but one thing we are both good at is seeing opportunities when they arise and reacting to them quickly to take advantage of them. We had had some success with local pop-up shop events, and when a retail space came over in one of Omaha's coolest neighborhoods, we knew we had to take it. We're excited for the store because it'll give us the space we need to grow. The front is the retail showroom, the back will be our offices when we finish construction, and our growing online fulfillment operations take place out of the full basement. With this space, we'll also have the opportunity to carry more independent designers from all over the world and take more risks with designers that would be harder to sell online. When customers can feel the clothing, see the lining, feel the zipper, see how it looks on, they're more likely to feel that emotional connection to these designers. It's not just a connection to an object, to an item of clothing, but a connection to a maker--a designer--who may live thousands of miles away. It's someone we believe in and support, and we're exposing their work to hundreds of thousands of new supporters through our store--both online and now with this physical location.
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