6 min read
Shannette Rivera is the first winner of the Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch room, hosted on Clubhouse. In the pitch room, entrepreneurs pitch their businesses and are evaluated on the strength of their pitches for the chance to win a feature on Entrepreneur.com.
Despite having minimal experience pitching her business, Rivera won the competition by pitching her Miami-based cosmetics company, Irresistible Lips. Launching a cosmetics company was a big career change for Rivera, who previously ran a preschool for more than 17 years with her mother. But after having trouble finding the perfect the perfect lipstick shade, she ideated a double-sided lipstick product that could address the painpoint.
In the summer of last year, Rivera went to work creating lip products and face accessories to sell alongside her double-sided lipsticks. Rivera says starting a venture, especially during the pandemic, was a challenge. From traveling internationally to finding a suitable lipstick tube to creating face masks that were lipstick-friendly, she says the process of starting the business from scratch was stressful.
But the journey wasn’t for naught. When Irresistible Lips launched in February, Rivera says the company sold nearly 100 boxes of lipsticks in the first week and has grown ever since. Now, she plans to take her business on a larger scale, and says she has been marketing her products to distributors in different cities.
We spoke with Rivera about formulating a winning pitch, marketing a unique product and her tips for other budding entrepreneurs.
When did you come across Entrepreneur’s Elevator Pitch Clubhouse event and what prompted you to do it?
Rivera: I was introduced to Clubhouse by my friend. I went into the first room and I listened. All I heard them say was, “Okay, we’re going to take turns and everyone’s going to pitch their business.” And in my head, I’m like “Pitch my business. What does that mean?” I started listening and I realized that everyone was just saying what their businesses were.
I went into [Entrepreneur’s] room kind of late. I did not know I was pitching for a competition. I thought I was pitching just to pitch and get feedback from the panel.
There were a lot of men in there and I’m like, “They can’t care less about double-sided damn lipsticks.” I didn’t even think anything about me. It was my second [Clubhouse] room. It was my second pitch ever in life. I was floored [when I found out I won.]
Why do you think people liked your pitch so much?
I think it’s the ability for [my product] to be marketable. Cosmetics is a big umbrella of its own. And the fact that I’m doing something that’s never been done, I think it just took a lot of people by awe.
I’m targeting issues that, as women, we go through. We go through the fact that our lipsticks — we have to spend another $30, $40 for a whole new one. It addresses something that has never been addressed before.
Image credit: Irresistible Lips
How do you go about marketing a new product? To bring attention to people, on even a local scale, can be challenging.
I already had a rapport with [radio station] WEDR 99Jamz through the preschool. So when I went on this independent venture, they were so happy to assist. I’ve also been learning about pop-up shops. So I’ve been doing events throughout the city and in other cities to bring recognition to myself as well.
For people who are trying to come up with their elevator pitch, what would you advise for them?
I have told people dozens of times, “Hey, here’s my card. Check out my website when you get a chance. I sell double-sided tubes of waterproof, matte lipstick and lip gloss.” They look at me like, “What are you talking about?” I realized that if I focus on the key points and elaborate on them, it’s much better.
Find your key points. What are the key things that make your brand different? What makes your brand stand out? What is it about your brand that is going to grab someone’s attention and say, “Ooh, I want to hear more.” If you find those key points, those attention grabbers, when you’re pitching focus on those and elaborate, that’s what works best.
If there are any entrepreneurs out there who may read this and are looking for advice, what advice would you give them?
Walk in your purpose. If you’re going to do something, go for it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re scared or if you’re nervous. If you love it, and it’s something that you feel within your heart is going to be successful, you make the choice to make it do what it’s supposed to do.
How can you make yourself better than everyone else who’s doing it? Like a preschool — there’s like a thousand preschools. Sometimes there’s like five within the same area, minutes away from each other, but each of them are full. Each one found a way to market themselves to appeal to the people who they need to appeal to.
If you know your brand and you know what you’re trying to do with your purpose, you can’t go wrong. But if you are insecure or you doubt yourself, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.