September 12, 2018 will forever be known as one of the most exciting days in Lily Trotters’ short herstory – right next to our 2015 KickStarter campaign that was deemed a success in just 6 hours and 28 minutes. What makes this past moment one for the ages? Lily Trotters took part in our first ever product pitchfest and we WON!
This wasn’t just any opportunity to pitch our product and hone our skills on a new-to-us platform. Lily Trotters was selected as one of 9 finalists from a pool of over 200 applicants for the inaugural Title Nine Movers & Makers Pitchfest. Title Nine. The Title Nine that has led the way as a trusted retailer of women’s outdoor apparel for almost 30 years. The Title Nine that has given a voice to the female athlete, entrepreneur, mom-preneur, advocate and everything in between by holding the “difficult woman” in high regard. The Title Nine that worked to create a community around their brand by standing up and speaking out and NOT just pushing products. Yep, that Title Nine.
The experience alone of being selected as a finalist was incredible. Prior to the event, Title Nine assigned Lily Trotters, along with the other finalists, a Movers & Makers mentor – all of whom were, of course, successful female entrepreneurs. Bronwen Lodato of Bronwen Jewelry gave the Lily Trotters team much needed insight to show up to Pitchfest prepared and confident in our presentation.
Upon arriving at Pitchfest, it was clear that all details and every decision made considered the underlying theme of supporting “badass women entrepreneurs.” Finalists and mentors enjoyed all meals and snacks from local women-owned businesses. The Pitchfest judges included women like Kelli Jones, #girlboss of NoSo Patches, and long-time Title Nine employee Alice Lee, current VP of Merchandising & Product Development. Speakers included Sally Bergesen (Oiselle), Bronwen Lodato (Bronwen Jewelry), Jen Gurecki (Coalition Snow) and Jennifer Ferguson (Handful Bra). Each of whom, along with Title Nine Founder Missy Park, shared stories of successes and failures, resulting in a renewed sense of purpose and heightened motivation to continue making a name for Lily Trotters as the first and only compression sock brand focused solely on the unstoppable female athlete.
When it came time to deliver our pitch, were we nervous? Yes. Were we impressed with, and inspired by, our competition? Yes. Were we confident we had a very good chance of being selected as an overall pitchfest winner? Absolutely. Lily Trotters Founder & Designer, Susan Costa-Walston, shared the origin story of Lily Trotters from concept to KickStarter to now being sold in over 120 retail locations nationwide. Casey Szesze, Lily Trotters Director of Operations & Engagement, discussed the benefits of compression, what sets Lily Trotters apart and spoke about her own evolution from running coach and initial product tester to Lily Trotters compression convert and full-time employee. We shared a sigh of relief after delivering what we felt was a compelling pitch for our product.
As the day wrapped up with a team-building exercise, something that Title Nine builds into each workday, we anxiously waited for Missy Park to announce the 3 winners of the Title Nine Movers & Makers Pitchfest. We didn’t have to wait long as Lily Trotters was the first winner announced. We did it! We came, we saw, we connected, we learned, we pitched and we WON!
What does this mean for the brand? In 2019, Lily Trotters will be featured in Title Nine’s 2019 spring catalog! Lily Trotters will also be provided with mentorships and will be promoted as a ‘Mover & Maker’ in various Title Nine digital and print marketing materials.
It’s hard to put into words just how impactful this experience was both for Lily Trotters as a brand and our team on professional and personal levels. We are grateful beyond measure to have been included as a T9 Pitchfest finalist and proud to be taking home a win. We’re still writing herstory when it comes to the Lily Trotters brand and community. There’s a lot of work to do and we’re ready to get it done.