At first, Brandi Buss was contemplating not attending the Winter’s Edge Investment Forum
. She didn’t immediately see the value in finding outside investors because of how well her business was already growing. Not to mention, she had a wedding in Hawaii that same week.
“Three people from three different areas of my business called me and told me that I needed to learn more about this and apply,” says Brandi. The more she read about the Winter’s Edge Investment Forum, the more she saw the immense opportunity being presented to her and other businesses based in Central Alberta. “Finally I said to myself, I’m going to apply and go for it. This is an opportunity that I need to seize with the momentum my company is gaining.”
The business Brandi pitched was BeeLieve Lifestyle and Apparel
, a fashion company with a focus on pickpocket proof clothing with a special emphasis on travel. The seven-minute pitch that Brandi compiled earned her $10,000 from CWB. During the event, she had no idea that she was sitting on the winning business pitch. Even after she won, she explains it took a few days for it all to register.
“It was like an aftershock,” says Brandi. “The event itself was so amazing, but the time I got to really relish the win was with my team on a Friday night. We had dinner and drinks, and everyone was just firing on all cylinders.”
Transforming a negative experience into a winning idea
The original idea for BeeLieve Lifestyle and Apparel began its development after Brandi herself was pickpocketed while travelling through Poland. Fully admitting that she typically put fashion before any security function while she was travelling, Brandi explains that despite the negative experience, she still really loved Poland and wanted to impart an idea on other travelers that bad experiences shouldn’t paint an opinion of a whole country with broad stroke.
Opportunity Central (Alberta)
Combining her passions for design, traveling and fashion, starting a clothing company with this strong focus was the perfect venture for Brandi. She explains that through the help of a business mentor, and a lot of time on Google and YouTube, she slowly learned how to run a small business and finally launched her line on March 23, 2018. That summer, Brandi and a friend took a road trip across BC to introduce the line to small independent markets across the province, before seeing the line gain some traction in Ponoka, Red Deer and Lacombe.
The business climate in Central Alberta actually wasn’t necessarily conducive for a company like BeeLieve Lifestyle and Apparel. Brandi explains that when she started her business, there was no foundation to create a fashion business focused on manufacturing and design. However, she found this to be an advantage and an opportunity to create her own rules and build something totally new for the region.
“There are so my talented sewers and designers around here and a lot of them didn’t think it was an option to make money at it because it was something they did for fun at home,” says Brandi. “And they’re not really in it for the money. It’s giving them an avenue to create. They come to meetings every month just hyped on life and they bring creations from where we just continue to build.”
Pitching with passion
While preparing her pitch for the Winter’s Edge Investment Forum, Brandi scrapped her entire pitch concept more than once on the advice of her mentor. She stresses that it was some of the best advice that she received for the event, and from it she was able to craft a pitch that spoke to her passions.
“My brand comes from a pretty deep-rooted story and a very passionate part of my life, and when you can speak with passion and love it shines,”
says Brandi. “A lot of people came up to me after and told me my pitch was amazing and they would pick out certain parts that they could relate to or grabbed them. I think I got really lucky in that sense.”
Now that she’s won the $10,000 prize, Brandi explains that this money will go miles towards seeing BeeLieve Lifestyle and Apparel expand. The next areas she’s looking to delve into include introducing new products to her line, investing in paid marketing and even expanding the content on her website to provide travel advice for many different regions across the globe.
A community of inspiration
Brandi also points out that though there was some further investment interest, she’s also lined-up a collection of meetings with other business owners on some new collaborations. As she looks back on her experience at the Winter’s Edge Investment Forum, she realizes how many amazing business ideas are out there—all providing some sort of value to the lives of others.
“There were so many great businesses at the event and so many moments where I thought, ‘oh yeah, that would be a great idea,’ but I would have never thought of that,” says Brandi. “It opened my eyes to what other people are thinking. How other people are working so hard in their daily lives to improve the world. And it was cool to see that.”
CWB is here to support companies throughout every stage of their business. Speak to a CWB advisor today
to see how they can help your business grow.