COSE Pitch Competition - Shark Tank Style with Daymond John

Posted on April 17, 2012 by Debbie Kuhn

 It begins with receiving this in the mail…

Daymond is going to be a Keynote Speaker at the COSE Small Business Conference.  I say to myself, “I am going to get myself in front of Daymond John”.  I am an avid watcher of Shark Tank and who is more perfect to share my idea with than Daymond?

Now, I saw it going something like, “Debbie, this is Daymond.”  “Daymond, this is Debbie,” and I proceed to tell him about girltrunks.  Well…COSE had something else in mind – a Business Pitch Competition.

I had to totally go for it, and I did.  The rules of the competition were revealed and a two-page Executive Summary and two-minute video were required.  With the assistance, support and talent of wonderful people in my life, both of the “two” were completed.  Around 90 of us submitted our business ideas and the judges were choosing 20 to go into the next round.  The Top 20 would then have to pitch their idea to a panel of 10 judges.  I made it in the top 20.  What’s next?

So now I had to do a presentation.  With all my years in business, I had never done a Power Point presentation before.  I remember practicing, to make sure my timing was on target and thinking to myself, “Don’t forget to forward the slides as you are talking.”  The day arrives, it’s my turn, they hand me the remote clicker, my hands were shaking, my voice was quivering and I proceed to give my pitch.  The nervousness wore off and just like that it was done. 

Now the wait and see.  On a beautiful Friday after lunch with a friend, I checked my voicemail to find a message that I made into the Final 4.  To say I was excited was a total understatement – I was over the moon thrilled.   In the meantime, I am interviewed for an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  So now the preparation goes into pitching in front of Daymond John and a panel of judges at the kick-off event the night before the COSE SBC.  If you watch the Shark Tank you know how crazy and intense some of the questions the sharks pose to the entrepreneurs can be.  As a result, I researched and studied like a maniac.  I felt as if I was back in college before finals. 

I find out I am first to present which actually came as great news.  I am at the event, I am prepared, I go on in front of over 400 people and pitch my heart out.

The beginning of the presentation...

I was so speaking from the heart as I am so passionate about girltrunks. Love the girltrunks boxes in front of all the judges.

Sharing the unsolicited testimonial girltrunks receives.

The part I was most nervous about – the dreaded Q&A.  Every one of the judges asked me questions.  I can remember standing there with a smile on my face, listening and answering their questions, thinking to myself, “Aren’t my 7-8 minutes up already?”  To say it was intense is an absolute understatement.


Receiving the check…so exciting!


It truly was a thrill and opportunity of a lifetime.  The next day at the conference after Daymond gave his amazing and high-energy Keynote address, those of us that made it in the final four had the privilege of sharing breakfast with him.  He could not have been more gracious and lovely.  And…he’s quite the sharp dresser.

It was a wild yet, fantastic ride.  Good things have definitely come from putting myself and girltrunks out there.  I thank COSE for this amazing opportunity and for all the wonderful people in my life for their unwavering love and support.

When I watch the Shark Tank now, I think…”Oh my gosh…I actually met Daymond…how cool is that?! “ Pretty darn cool.  If you use twitter, I highly recommend following him @TheSharkDaymond.

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COSE Pitch Competition - Shark Tank Style with Daymond John
April 17, 2012