This is the third in a series of posts about the winners of SCORE DC’s 2020 Perfect Product Pitch-Mastering the Art of Persuasion competition with Dara Trujillo, former CMO of SLC Group Holdings, a company focused on investing, mentoring, and helping entrepreneurs to grow their business.
Loren Vasquez had been an artist her whole life and has spent her career making art for other people and companies, including Disney. She wanted to create art for herself and started designing quirky enamel pins through her start-up business Rose & Roo.
The pins were cute, the packaging creative and the product names funny and edgy. Take the “Hey, Boo,” “Little Moo,” or the “Bee Barf” enamel pins. Loren set herself a sales goal of 500 pins by the end of her first year in business. But, after only 19 weeks in business, selling through her website, Etsy, and pop-up shops, Loren shredded that goal.
Knowing that she wanted to expand her sales channels, and would need funding for large-scale production, Loren approached SCORE in January 2020 for help. She was assigned SCORE Mentor Ed Coleman and they were off and running to the Perfect Product Pitch event scheduled for the following month. “Ed basically told me I was doing it and didn’t let me back out,” Loren recalled. “Encouraging me the whole way.” Ed worked with Loren on her pitch and helped her to fine tune her selling points. “The time between first meeting Loren and the pitch event was extremely tight,” Ed explained, “but I knew she had a great story and a winning product.”
And winning it was: Rose & Roo, along with four other businesses, won the pitch event and the chance to work with SLC Group Holdings (SLC) to grow her business. Despite her “wobbly knees,” Loren wowed the judges with her energetic presentation and enthusiasm for her product. Pitch judge and former SLC CMO Dara Trujillo described Loren as having what she called the “win circle:” talent, personality, and product. “The pins cracked me up,” Dara said. “They were right on trend, they were relevant, and they definitely had a pulse.”
After the pitch event and with SLC’s introductions and guidance, Loren interviewed three manufacturers, got quotes and ended up going with the one used by Disney. The process took longer due to the pandemic, but the change in manufacturer secured Loren a better timeline, reduced pricing, and great product quality. Loren was very happy with the results. Presently, she and SLC are working on opportunities with large retailers. “SLC opened doors for me that I probably couldn’t have opened on my own for years, if ever.” So, watch for Rose & Roo in a store near you. In the meantime, Loren’s pins are perfect for Halloween (and beyond) because everyone needs some “Itsy Bitsy” fun in their lives right now.