SVP 2017 People's Choice Award!
At every turn of the new year, I sit down and write a list of intentions for the coming year – things I hope to do, hope to accomplish, hope to embody. At the beginning of 2018, I included these two intentions:
- Do some sort of public speaking event
- Employ two women through Adi Co.
In starting Adi Co., Meredith and I knew we were committing to something that we’d be doing on the corner of our desks and out of our own pockets. In order to really get this thing off the ground, we’d need the motivation and coaching of others, and some sort of opportunity to really launch us. (If you know anything about the Enneagram, you’ll know that getting two 9s to start a business is perhaps one of the most challenging things they’ll ever do!)
So that summer, while talking with my neighbor, I was presented with an opportunity that might be that launch…and something that would get me closer to realizing those two intentions.
My neighbor suggested that Adi Co. apply for SVP’s (Social Venture Partners) Fast Pitch competition – a local shark tank-like competition where start-ups give their pitch to an audience and have an opportunity to attract some funding. I quickly threw in an application, not anticipating much, and maintained the hesitancy when we were invited to an info session for the handful of groups whose applications apparently weren’t awful.
But the thing is, Adi Co. kept making it further and further along in this competition. We gave our pitch to a small panel, and made it to the next round….we gave the pitch again and were pushed to the next round. The pattern continued until suddenly, after several months of working with a coach and practicing our 5 minute pitch a thousand times, we found ourselves at the final showdown, as they like to call it. As a finalist, Adi Co. got to take the stage at McCaw Hall in Seattle and share about our work to an audience of several thousand (not exactly the scale I had in mind when I wrote that intention!). Among those audience members were two of our sewers and good friends, Mursal and Sweetra.
Throughout the fast pitch experience, during the times when nervousness and anxiety started to distract me, I kept coming back to the why behind our work. We didn’t start this collective simply to sell beautiful clothing, we started it to empower women through work, and connect communities through handmade items. Having Mursal and Sweetra in the audience at the finals was also an opportunity for us to be reminded of our intention to co-create this business with our artisans as well: Nothing about us, without us.
We walked away from that crazy finals night with so much love and support from the audience and with the feeling that this work was meaningful not only to us, but to potential customers as well. Our hope in designing the pieces and sharing the story of Adi Co. was that our pieces would give people the opportunity to wear their welcome – to use the economy to support the movements, values and communities that matter to you.
We’re grateful to the SVP community for giving us that wild opportunity to share about our work! Not only could I check some intentions off my list, but it became a pivotal process for us where we really refined the message of what we are all about, and how you can be a part of that!