The Secret Behind the Pitch That Landed a $200,000 Investment
Sharleen Ernster, founder of We Are Hah, discusses her winning strategy on 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch.'
Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch is the show where contestants get into an elevator and have just 60 seconds to pitch their business. Our board of investors is watching, and if they like what they hear, they open the doors and the entrepreneur steps into the boardroom to try to seal the deal. If they don't like what they hear, the entrepreneur gets sent back down.
It's fun, it's intense, and in this ongoing article series, we're celebrating the entrepreneurs who walked out with a win and sharing their tips for pitching success.
Who are you and what is your business?
I'm Sharleen, founder of We Are HAH the HAHTEST sustainable intimates brand in the world today. HAH is disrupting the industry with our game-changing eco products in lingerie, swim, and sleepwear. HAH was born from my +15 years in the industry, leading brands like Victoria's Secret, and my desire to create the next generation of zero-impact intimates that are easy on you and Mother Earth, too.
Related: Watch Sharleen's Winning Pitch
How did you prepare for the show?
I was a zombie, walking around for days reciting my 60-second pitch while watching my iPhone alarm! Revising it, rewriting it, presenting it to my kids, my husband, my team — looking to everyone for feedback. I spent the entire flight from LA to Miami repeating the pitch over and over. In addition, I watched tons of episodes to ensure I had an answer to every question that might be asked in the boardroom. I just wanted to be able to tell myself that if it didn't work out, I put 200% into the prep and gave it my best.
What did you think was going to happen? What was different from your expectations?
The only unexpected experience was the amount of time spent with the other contestants. We were together all day and it was great, but also really nerve-racking watching them all prepare. It made me more nervous than I expected.
Why do you think they opened the doors?
I think 60 straight hours of recanting that 60 seconds kinda paid off…. but really I had so much good advice about what to keep in my pitch and just practice, practice, practice.
What do you plan to do with your investment?
I made a deal with Kim Perrell, who invested $200,000. We are investing in expanding our team, brand amplification and customer acquisition through new media advertising platforms.
What did it mean to you personally to get in the doors and walk out with a win?
Everything! It was a personal goal of mine to nail the 60-second pitch. It was a real challenge and I was proud of that. But the win was for my team. They are so supportive and believe in our brand and I wanted to win for them. The momentum, exposure of the brand, and validation of our work thus far is epic for the entire team.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of applying to be on a future episode?
Do It! Challenge yourself and meet the challenge. Entrepreneurs have to fail again and again. Failure is a moment and hey, you could succeed!