Dogwood to host PN event this Wednesday
The Final Five.
Who are they?
They are the quintet of entrepreneurs chosen among nearly two dozen entries to compete in the Pitch North event this coming to the Dogwood Center this Wednesday (May 8th) from 4-6pm.
The winner will walk away with a $4000 check as well as a host of confidence from having secured the stamp of approval from a panel of judges.
Runner-up? Well, $2500 isn’t bad for a consolation prize and third place (that would be ‘show’ for you Derby fans) nets a cool thou.
And even if you don’t come away with the cash there is the opportunity to plug your idea to not only the judges but also the audience who will be filling the Dogwood to see this local Shark Tankish event unfold.
We caught up with the five women behind the ideas to be presented to get a little background info. They were asked what inspired them to begin their venture, the challenges they have faced and their goals for the future.
And here’s what they came up with.
Pitch North is open to the public, but registration is required. To register to attend, visit pitchnorth.com
Pretty Pop Ups
Cammie Hollinger lives in Grant with her husband Jay, their two kids and a chiweenie named Finn.
After graduating from Newaygo HS she went on to obtain her Marketing degree at Liberty University and when not remodeling campers she can be found working as a travel agent or substitute teaching all the while operating a non profit organization.
“I have spent much of my adult life being inspired by The Dream Giver. The book has encouraged and inspired me to go after my dreams whatever they may be.”
Pretty Pop Ups came to fruition out of both passion and frustration.
“Our family fell in love with camping last summer, and we had several family members or friends who wanted to join us, but they weren't comfortable sleeping in a tent, and didn't have the means to tow a large camper, or didn't want to invest in a camper they would only use a few times a year.
“Most nearby camper rentals are very expensive, and not conducive to short weekend getaways for families on a budget. This past winter, I came across a blog featuring pop-up camper remodels. I realized that I had the skills and the passion to not only undertake my own camper remodels, but to turn it into a business and allow our friends and family an affordable camping opportunity.”
As for the upcoming event?
“I am honored to be a finalist with the Pitch North competition, and I look forward to sharing more details about Pretty Pop Ups with the judges and our community."
Her quote from is from The Dream Giver, the book she referenced earlier.
"Courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it's choosing to act in spite of that fear."
The Bohemian Boutique
Tara Kelley lives in Shelby with her husband, their three children and the family puppy Mabel. Born in the UP she grew up in Florida where she graduated from Jupiter High School before receiving her degree from Muskegon Community College.
Spending time with her family either outdoors or on movie nights and some regular contact with friends ( “I can’t forget about girls night, it keeps me sane”) fills her life as does the ever vigilant search for those unique items that inspire her repurposing artistry.
“I started by traveling around to craft shows selling my creations. I did well but hauling and setup by myself got old fast. I found a small space downtown that was perfect, my kids could walk to and from school and home.”
Her downtown Shelby shop Bohemian Boutique is an eclectic collection of decor, apparel, lighting, jewelry, pottery, candles, essential oils, jams & jellies in addition to Tara’s creations.
Asked why she pursued the business she stated “It was something I’ve always dreamt about and if you don’t go for it you’ll never know and always wonder.
“My Mother is my inspiration. She gave me the DIY, treasure hunting bug when I was little. She is always in my corner cheering me on. If she lived here we would be doing this together.
“I learn something new everyday, and I love it. I’ve been happily surprised by the compliments and kindness of strangers.”
“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve”.-J.K. Rowling
Baking Beauty’s Custom Cakes
Ericka Frericks was born in Georgia where her Dad was stationed in the army but made her way to Michigan by the age of 2 and spent her school days at Fremont High. After graduation she completed her second year of cosmetology and took classes at MCC.
A law enforcement wife and mother of 3 their household includes a dog (Calie) cat (Tinkerbelle) goldfish (unnamed) and a leopard gecko named Tucker.
Always the family baker, she has been whipping up tasty cupcakes for holidays, birthdays and special events. About 3 months ago she started getting asked to create custom made cakes and realized there was a real need in the area for creative bakers.
“My kids were totally my inspiration. We love watching the baking show Nailed It and anytime I'm creating something beautiful in the kitchen, I always have a precious little face (or two) telling me that I would totally "nail it" if I was on the show.
"My son and daughter tell me and anyone who'll listen that I'm the "best maker ever"......who wouldn't be inspired by that?”
Ericka hopes to continue baking from the comfort of her kitchen while her littles are home and would love to expand her knowledge and experience into new techniques and new desserts.
“In 5 years I'd love to be working out of a licensed kitchen, selling some of my goodies in a local shop.”
Something about her that might surprise people?
“That I've overcome a nearly debilitating fear of rejection to become the person I am today. I've been apart of a personal development course by Brene Brown and I feel grateful for what she's taught me about being brave, having courage and encouraging those around me to do the same!
"Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver."-Brene Brown.
Red Boots Kids’ Books
Sandi Bernard lives in downtown Newaygo and is well known for hosting the Thursday night Open Mike night at the Riverstop Cafe the past 17 years. A Reeths Puffer grad she moved back to Michigan after many years in North Carolina.
“I wanted to move to the place where I felt the most serene. I had always visited my brother who lived on the river and when I made my choice it was hands down Newaygo. I always say this town is like a Hallmark movie.”
Sandi wrote lots of kids stories when her own kids were little but it was her adult daughter Marquita who lit a fire under her about 18 months ago to start writing them again and offered to help with the technical side to produce them.
In addition to her daughter Sandi’s 94 year old Mother also provides inspiration.
“She started drawing wonderful character art on lunch bags for Kids Food Basket just last year. You're never too old to take on a passion and develop it.”
Sandi hopes her work inspires children to be thinkers and doers.
“I want to help kids 5 to 10 see that they are capable of writing their own books and thus helping create inspiration that will last a lifetime.”
Her favorite quote?
"Imagination is the pathway to everything".....Terence Kenna
Truffles and Goodies Lady
Deanna Dickinson spent much of her life in Hesperia where she graduated from high school and currently resides with her three children.
She likes to spend time outdoors with her kids and her boyfriend camping, hunting, fishing, tubing and beaching it when not creating the products she sells including coasters, magnets, key fobs, lanyards, embroidered items, coin purses, cell phone wristlets, baby items, & sweet treats like candy bars, truffles, and clusters.
Her business started out as a hobby to help out with finances but over the years the business has kept growing.
“My biggest seller is my ID Wallet Lanyards I was shocked it only took me like 2 days online on Etsy for orders to start flying in. Since black Friday I have sold over 250 between Etsy, Facebook and various shows as well as my cross body bags that I sell tons of as well.”
Deanna was inspired by her parents who also did shows and made money doing what they enjoyed.
“My hope is to one day own and operate my own small shop. To have a website, hire someone part time, train them to get things ready for orders and increase my sales even more.
“And to set aside money for the kids’ college fund.”
Pitch North is made possible through funding from the West Michigan Prosperity Alliance and Northern Initiatives. In-Kind prizes were donated from The Stream, Eric R. Fox, Attorney at Law and H&S Companies
Features and Fun
Concerts, Plays, Happenings, Local Recipes, Gardening, Entertainment, Charities, Fundraisers, upcoming events, Theater, Activities, Tech, and much more.
“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Eric Qualman