Saturday, March 30, 2013

Merrimack Valley Sandbox Creative Economy Pitch Contest

Seems like everybody I ran into at Brew'd Awakening on Thursday afternoon was heading for the Merrimack Valley Sandbox pitch contest at UTEC later that day. And what could be a more fitting end to my "day of art" spent visiting galleries in Lowell with my friend from Worcester than the Creative Economy pitch contest.  This was especially true because Andy was one of the judges. Some days I think Brew'd Awakening is the creative economy.
The Crowd Begins Filling the UTEC Space
So I walked on over to UTEC. The crowd was already pretty good when I arrived, and by the time the pitches started the place was packed. I ran into so many people I know, that I almost didn't have time to talk to all of them, check out the tables, and do the all important networking with people I don't know.

Crowd - Lots of Pitching, Networking, and Just Plain Talk Going On
Checking out the tables, networking, taking pictures, having great conversations about all manner of creative economy topics and sampling the delicious food provided by the UTEC teens ... all kept me busy.
Meet the Judges
Not only do I know two of the judges -- Andy and Liz -- but two of the participating entrepreneurs are folks I met at Mass Innovation Nights. I remembered Emily and her Fashion Truck from Mass Innovation Night #MIN37. I remembered Veronica from Mass Innovation Night in January (#MIN46). It was great to see her again!
Emily from The Fashion Truck
My Crowning Jewel
First Place
Veronica from My Crowning Jewel won first place. Well deserved.  Not only are her head wraps exquisitely beautiful, but she has a solid business model and knows her market.

Marquis Victor of  Elevated Thought  Foundation made an excellent presentation. He won second place and also won the Fan Favorite voting. I think the Elevated Thought Foundation mural in the background helped a lot. ETP uses art to provide at-risk youth with the knowledge and skills to use their creativity to make positive changes in their lives and communities.The mural they did for UTEC is certainly inspiring.

Marquis with Mural as Backdrop

Second Place
I chatted a bit with Diane of the Cupcakory cupcake truck -- kind of a competitor to North Andover's own Pipedream Cupcakes (fortunately they never seem to end up at the same events). Her recipes use locally sourced and organic ingredients. She'd like to outfit her truck to serve coffee with her cupcakes.  Cupcakes are very popular and food trucks are very popular, and Diane is onto something.  Her third place winnings will help finance putting a generator in her truck.  Keep an eye out for the Cupcakory truck in Boston's Dewey Square.
Cupcakory - Third Place
 I had a great time talking with Peter Zimmerman about Mill City Glass Works, a glass blowing studio at Western Avenue Studios. Besides his hand-made glass gifts and jewelry, he plans to offer workshops for the public. Imagine making your own glass ornament and learning the craft of glass blowing. His pitch was good but the competition was tough.

Chhavy Sinuon of Style This Shindig designs amazing creations for events. Need a pulled-together look for a special event like a wedding? Style This Shindig designs the whole decor -- kind of like interior decorating but for events. I never thought about event styling as separate from event planning, so I learned something from her presentation. I checked out her table after the pitches. Her arrangements are definitely quite stylish.


New Vestures maker space is a great idea. It's a space for fashion designers and those who want to make cool stuff.  Diana's New Vestures venture offers space rentals for resident users and day visitors, classes in sewing, illustration, millinery, jewelry making, as well as modeling for 3D printing and even Arduino Lilly-pad programming. People want to make real stuff these days, and a maker space that provides tools and opportunities for learning the skills is an idea whose time has come.

New Vestures -- Great Looks and Best Hat!
Le Jus makes beverages with wonderful flavors that are not that familiar in the US. I especially liked sea-buckthorn. Actually, I loved the sea-buckthorn. I like that Julia thinks the greater Boston area is a good place to introduce unusual flavors.

Le Jus
I talked briefly with Jon  from the Humanitarian Film Workshop about his mini/micro documentaries. He teaches micro-documentary film making skills workshops where students document the work of humanitarian organizations, on location in  developing countries. I'd love to see some student filmmakers document the work of Engineers Without Borders in Obodan, Ghana or anywhere else that EWB is making a difference. 
Documentary Film Maker
Secret Spin Jam promotes the joy of hula hooping and whip cracking with beautiful hoops and whips. Definitely cool props.
Christine told me about her  school calendars that fit in lockers.

Locker Looks
One of my favorite conversations of the night was with Adrianna of Forgotten Charm. Her table full of vintage cameras definitely caught my eye. Turns out she is trying to bring back film photography.  She plans to sell vintage cameras, some of which she reconditions herself,  and accessories to ordinary photographers. Looking at the old Polaroid Land Cameras was a walk down memory lane. When I told her that my first camera was a Brownie, she pulled one out from under the table!

Vintage Polaroid Camera
Anthony of Mizizi Design sells beautiful Kenyan crafts.

Mizizi Design
MHM Studios Printmaking is a fully equipped printmaking studio for custom printing as well as workshops and plate-making instruction for artists.
A highly productive and thought-provoking evening. I had lots of great conversations about creativity, making stuff, and making a difference with so many great people.

No comments:

Post a Comment