Giving Tuesday is upon us – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving where we give back to our favorite charitable organizations after a week of spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. This year, we’re excited to continue our partnership with Black Girl Ventures by donating 5% of sales made on Giving Tuesday to further our mission in supporting women and doing our part to help close the racial wealth gap. 

 

Giving Tuesday: Learn About Our Ongoing Partnership With Black Girl Ventures

 

What is Black Girl Ventures?

Black Girl Ventures (BGV) was founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur and computer scientist Shelly Bell. This mission-driven organization addresses the unique challenges Black/Brown women face in accessing social and financial capital to grow their businesses. To date, BGV has funded 264 women of color, held over 30 Pitch Programs across 12 cities and served over 2,000 participants. BGV pitch participants are collectively generating over $10M in revenue and supporting 3,000 jobs.

 

How does Equilibria support BGV?

In 2020, Equilibria joined forces with BGV. Our partnership included a pitch competition in May of 2021 where 3 women won the funding and tools to scale their businesses. The winners included Monisha Edwards of Scent & Fire, Kelley Williams of CurasaIve and Symphony Lyricist of Lotus Flower Om.

 

We recently caught up with all three women to check in and see how things have been going since May.

 

Catch up with the EQ x BGV Pitch Competition winners

Monisha Edwards – Scent & Fire

  • Can you share what the most useful part of the Pitch Competition process was for you?

The most useful part of the pitch process was doing pitch practice and receiving feedback after. This really helped me refine my pitch and gather all of the information that I really needed in order to successfully share my business, data, and goals with potential investors.

 

  • What’s one specific thing that winning the Pitch Competition has done to elevate your business?

One of the great things that winning this pitch competition has done for me was allow me to be able to keep a step ahead of the supply chain issues by purchasing inventory in bulk. This allowed me to be able to make the products needed to increase my inventory to deliver to my customers.

 

  • What’s something you’ve learned in the last year that you would share with other entrepreneurs?

One of the major things that I have learned within the last year was to not be too afraid to ask for help. I was always so independent and felt like I could do everything myself, but then I would become overwhelmed and burned out. Ask for help, seek information, and be open to learning new things.

 

  • Tell us more about what the future holds for your business.

There are some great things that are in the works for Scent & Fire! We are knee-deep into the holiday season right now with new holiday scents and gift sets. Going into 2022, we are fundraising to open an experience loft by the end of the year, as well as a kiosk concept by the Spring.

 

Giving Tuesday: Learn About Our Partnership with Black Girl VenturesKelley Williams – CurasaIve

  • Can you share what the most useful part of the Pitch Competition process was for you?

It was amazing to hear Equilibria’s perspective on my business expansion. I was able to identify an untapped market that I am going after this year!

 

  • What’s one specific thing that winning the Pitch Competition has done to elevate your business?

The pitch competition gave me much needed funds for my marketing and production efforts and the confidence to fundraise. It is a very daunting task for many women to talk about their business and ask for money. Winning the competition made me realize my value in the industry and have the pitch deck to go after additional funding.

 

  • What’s something you’ve learned in the last year that you would share with other entrepreneurs?

Success in CPG and business overall is about consistency. You have to learn to weather the successes and mistakes with grace. I also can’t overstate how important it is to 1. know your customer and refine your marketing and service delivery to meet their needs and 2. manage your business finances with the same zeal and tenacity you had when you dreamed of the business concept. Your ability to manage money and fundraise is extremely important to scaling.

 

  • Tell us more about what the future holds for your business.

Curasalve is expanding our product line on amazon.com and our website curasalve.com. In addition to personal care we will offer changing pads and diaper bags.

 

Giving Tuesday: Learn About Our Partnership with Black Girl VenturesSymphony Lyricist – Lotus Flower Om

  • Can you share what the most useful part of the Pitch Competition process was for you?

The most useful part were the meetings and practice sessions BGV held to provide information on what a crowdfunding pitch was, who we were presenting to, and what information was needed to effectively communicate our brand within 8 minutes. I was nervous about the time allotment at first but the one-on-one and pitch practice allowed me to stay focused by only communicating key points that the audience and judges needed to hear to understand the problem I was looking to solve. I had been in business since 2016 and had only recently discovered pitching about 5 months before I entered the competition and it inspired me to learn more about the process.

 

  • What’s one specific thing that winning the Pitch Competition has done to elevate your business?

It allowed me to revisit my business plan and rework my story strategy to deliver a value proposition that is in alignment with my brand’s image and message as well as a clearer financial forecast that includes hiring a team and staff that can support me in delivering that strategy.

 

  • What’s something you’ve learned in the last year that you would share with other entrepreneurs?

I’ve learned and would share that it’s important to have a solid business plan with a well thought out contingency plan in place for future events or circumstances that could potentially disrupt / shift your business model and affect your profit margin, supply chain, and continued market viability to sustain growth. In addition, I’ve also learned and would share that as a founder it’s important to have an advisory board of professionals like a business coach / industry mentor, attorney, etc., that can advise them on such issues as marketing, sales, financing, etc. and guide them through some of the hurdles and growing pains of getting a business off the ground or stabilizing it through difficult decisions.

 

  • Tell us more about what the future holds for your business. 

Currently working on a brand/digital marketing strategy with brand imagery and message that will enhance our customer experience across all digital media as we continue to increase brand awareness by retargeting potential customers and gathering data on ideal customers. We will also continue to nurture our current retail partnership with Madewell – Hometown Heroes as we scout additional partners that support our brand. We are also preparing an Ad campaign that will introduce our re-designed lotion candles. 

 

We’re so excited for the future of these amazing black female founders and proud to be a part of their journey! To learn more about Black Girl Ventures Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, or to donate directly, visit their website at www.blackgirlventures.org.