NGLCC’s LGBT Sip & Pitch Program: Marketing, Branding and Consulting Companies Present Their Ideas

| By Kaela Roeder

Another exciting and inspiring round of the LGBT Sip & Pitch program took place with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) on June 26, 2020. Sip & Pitch is an event for LGBT business owners to present their business ideas, hear advice from corporate professionals and network over coffee and cocktails. Corporate Partner Kellogg’s partnered with NGLCC to present this event.

Nelson began the program by recapping the exciting news from this Pride month, including the Supreme Court decisions on Title IV expansions and Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“I am very proud that NGLCC has been a part of these critical conversations. Not just when the news cameras, but long after,” Nelson said. “We need to see long-term systemic change in battling against racism and racial violence, and being the allies we need to be to the Black community. You have my commitment, you have NGLCC’s commitment, that the conversation has only just begun.”

This week, six businesses presented their ideas to our panel of judges: Debra Quade of Kellogg Co., Kimberly Marcus of AARP, Robyn Best of Johnson & Johnson and Rose Hatcher of Viacom.

The first presenter of the day was NiK Kacy footwear, a luxury footwear company designed to fit all genders. Instead of using a gendered mold to create shoes, they created a shoe that can fit all genders with gender-neutral aesthetics.

Kacy founded this company in 2013 after struggling to find shoes that both matched their style and fit them properly. They left their job and went on a quest to figure out why shoes are gendered, and how they could change the industry. 

They found the industry to be cis-male dominated and was told that the niche idea of gender-free footwear was not worth expense and time.
“I am worth it, and I believe many others believe the same thing,” Kacy said.

Next up was Carla Butcher of Marley’s Pet Planet, a pet-product company that sells hand-made human-grade food, treats, beverages and health-care for dogs that “put your pet first,” she said.

Butcher makes a variety of products, including CBD paw and snout soother and craft Dog Beer, also known as bone broth. She created the business in 2019, and has been selling products at local farmers’ markets, pet shows, local Petco stores and online.

In the future, Butcher hopes to expand the CBD line to biscuits and dog Beer for internal health, as well as create flea and tick prevention products. She also wants to find manufacturing and distributing companies soon and expand to selling in other stores.

The founder and CEO of the digital agency SPARXOO, David Capece, presented his new program at the event: SPARXOO’s CROOW: a creative management software launching this year. 

In 2018, Capece found the team was spending too much time per week on low-value tasks, ineffective creative collaboration and had too many disconnected programs. This was holding back their company, he said, and the team looked into creating a tool to boost productivity and effectiveness.

While looking to improve time effectiveness, Capece found there were many project management tools on the market, but not many on creative collaboration. This inspired him to develop CROOW to help with project management, creative review, project organization, brand asset storage and time-saving creative tools for the last 18 months.

Mary Birch, the business development manager of Contractors Business Center, presented the center’s expanding employee training programs.
Years ago, Birch and her team found contracting and construction companies needed help training their employees. The center took this need and now assists with employee mamagemet in online courses to obtain certificates, learn safety guidelines and grow teams.

The company offers online courses and training and has been ramping up online courses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes include blueprint reading 101, building inspection training and more.

Founder of Retail Support Group, John Sanford, also presented his company to the NGLCC network. Founded six months ago, the group is a membership organization designed to connect small, minority businesses.

A variety of services are offered, such as consulting in marketing, digital stories, human resources and more taught by professional consultants with decades of experience for 30-50% off the general market value.

The last presenter of the day, Ken Cameron from CoPilot Cat, discussed his business model with the network. CoPilot Cat is a promotional sourcing company that specializes in the beverage industry and created branded drinkware, apparel, accessories and more.

With nearly 30 million items from over a million suppliers, CoPilot Cat can help clients have laser-targeted branded items that build aesthetics. Cameron also noted the heavily reduced market prices that are offered, which helps the client save money while growing their business.

The NGLCC network was floored yet again by the unique and engaging business pitches and is excited for the next LGBT Sip & Pitch event on July 17.

Want to learn more about LGBT Sip & Pitch Fridays or apply to present your business ideas? Click here to learn more or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.