We are PITCH 23 Finalists!!
You may already know this by now from the news and on our social channels and of course me telling absolutely everyone I meet, but we (Treat Yo Self) made it to the FINAL 5 of the #Pitch23 competition with Arnotts!
This is huge for us. Like beyond imaginable... Let me tell you all about it!
My Mam is obsessed with Brown Thomas, the luxury department store in Grafton Street, Dublin. There are actually a few of them around the country, but the one in Dublin is her favourite. Every single time we go in, she brings us up to the top floor where all the sweets and confectionary is and says, one day Treat Yo Self will be in here guys, believe me I can see it!
To be honest I didn't know why I couldn't just send the buyer a video and email like I always do and just close the deal! Mam and Dad explained its not that simple for big companies like BT and we would have to work our way in there and it may take years but it was on the goal board.
Always looking for an angle, Mam reached out to her friend who works in BT's and asked did he know the buyers name, we were going to send them in a big box of treats to just let them know who we are and open the first door. He told her about PITCH 23 - but the entries were closing the next day!!
I was in school at the time so the second I got home she told me about it. Dad had already done the research and we were eligible to enter so I did a really cool video, we filled out the application and with 20 mins to spare until the deadline, we got our entry in!
Just to go back a little and tell you all about what PITCH 23 is!
"Brown Thomas Arnotts is committed to playing a pivotal role in supporting our community and championing local talent.
We invite Irish start-ups and entrepreneurs to pitch for a chance to be mentored by a team of experts in the world of retail and secure placement as part of the 2023 Arnotts Christmas Market and thereafter. Our ultimate Pitch ’23 winner will also secure a €10,000 business development fund.
Pitch ’23 is open to a range of businesses and entrepreneurs, whether you’ve been in business 10 years and are looking to take the next step or are a newly established company, just starting out on your journey."
We did our research and checked out the previous finalists and entrants and honestly, I knew we could do this. I just knew it!
A few weeks later no email, no contact - nothing! I was a bit sad I really had a good feeling. Then Dad checked JUNK! Guess what - We made it through to the pitch selection!! I actually couldn't believe it - little ol' us, the saw something in us, even if the business is run by a kid!!
Basically - a number of businesses that entered were chosen to go and pitch the judges, a little like Shark Tank or Dragons Den. I didn't really know what it was all about but my Mam, through her tears and screaming like a mad women (you know how emotional Mams can be) explained and I really wasn't that worried I knew I could do it. For a few weeks I watched about 50 episodes of Shark Tank - Its my favourite show now and I never even knew about it before this.
Pitch day came and it was so exciting - I had a time slot, I was well prepared, had all my little cards to remind me what to say and I went in to the townhouse in Arnotts, in front of 4 judges, my products were all laid out on a table and I sweetened the entrance with big bags of treats for each of the judges to taste while I was telling them all about my business.
It was meant to be 20 mins but it went way over 'cause after my pitch they asked me lots of questions and we were chatting for ages. It was the best fun, I mean at 11 to get to do something like that I think was pretty cool anyway. And I got a day off school to go in to do it so I was loving life right then.
My Mam was crying, again and Dad kept saying how proud he was of me. It really is pretty cool to be able to do this and also have their support 'cause to be honest I couldn't do any of this without them.
The waiting game was on again. This time it was much longer so I just got on with things until it was the day of my Grandads Anniversary, 30th June and it also happens to be my little brother Ollies Birthday, he was 7 and it was his birthday party.
Dads phone rang - Vena was on the other end. He is going to kill me for writing this but he came back inside the house and was crying 😂 Mam thought someone had died and of course, started crying AGAIN! They are all so emotional I don't really know why but then Dad told us, WE MADE THE FINAL 5!!!!
Out of hundreds of Irish businesses, these people thought my little sweet business was worth taking a chance on.... So at this point I actually got a bit nervous, first time in the whole process but I felt like, what do they see in us, what made us stand out. Is this really happening?
Treat Yo Self started as a lockdown project - it was never meant to be this. I sold pick n mix online to people I knew as a way to make some money for a gaming PC when I was 8 during lockdown.
And now, my products are stocked in retailers all over Ireland. I have a huge corporate client base (I didnt even know what the word corporate meant 2 years ago) and now I am a finalist in a HUGE small business compeittion and my products will be on sale in ARNOTTS this Christmas. This is like living in a dream.
My friends don't really get it, so I don't go on about it too much but I know how big a deal this is. I really am so proud. Even if it all ended tomorrow, I have learned so much and thats what matters.
So - we launch, in ARNOTTS on the 16th November!!
My products.... On Sale.... IN ARNOTTS!
I have to keep saying it to make sure its real.
I would love to invite you all to come and visit our display in store. I will be there every Saturday and Sunday in from next weekend from 12-4 chatting to customers and telling our story. If you are in Dublin, pop in!
The overall winner will be announced in January 2024.
Im just so proud to get this far. And to be finalists alongside some amazing brands and people - I got to meet them all recently and they really are brilliant.
You can see the finalists HERE
So there you have it! Our journey to Pitch 23 Finalists! Its been crazy and so much fun so far... I am really grateful to all the people in BTA who work there and have been so good to us, they are amazing.
Wish us luck everyone and thank you also to all of you for all your support, without you all there is no way I would be here today telling you all this.