Shari Leidich of Know Brainer shares how she won Natural Products Expo Pitch Slam and how you could too.
Shari Leidich: Since the beginning, I've been wanting to make a collagen marshmallow. I heard people bouncing around the ideas in research and development. I charged my team with the job of creating [this], and we did it! We have the first keto, zero-sugar marshmallow on the market. And we're really, really excited.
What did you find most beneficial about the Pitch Slam experience?
SL: Honing my pitch forced me to really narrow into what Know Brainer does and what we create. You could talk about a lot of stuff, but you're really zeroed in on that elevator pitch. And coming from my background, I never really thought about that. That then helped me talk to industry retailers or whomever and forcing me to do that. [Also], creating the slide deck. I use that slide deck today. So, being more disciplined in my approach to how I approach retailers or distributors.
SL: What we do is make complicated food easy and accessible, and I've always been slightly ahead of the curve. We did ketogenic in 2016. I sort of saw this ketogenic space in wellness, and I decided to get right in on it. I think that was a game-changer.
How has winning the Pitch Slam impacted Know Brainer?
SL: It's validation for what we do, and we didn't just win it [Pitch Slam], we keep winning. We're getting validated in a lot of other venues.
What advice do you have for first-time Pitch Slam applicants?
SL: Take it really seriously. You [New Hope Network] really offer great support.