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Pitch Night Follow Up with Bodyworks’ Founder BJ Dowlen

Entrepreneurship is about being open to the unexpected. Bodyworks Ball founder BJ Dowlen – who participated in last summer’s Pitch Night –  is proof of how a moment of serendipity can lead to amazing opportunities. “When I started my day, I had NO IDEA I’d be pitching the BodyworksBall,” she explained of how she found herself explaining the benefits of her massage ball in front of a panel including HSNi CEO Mindy Grossman and GMA correspondent Tory Johnson. As for what’s happened post Pitch Night? Ahead she shares the exciting updates.

For starters how did you find out about Pitch Night?
I attended a Small Biz event by American Express OPEN hosted at STORY.  Following the event, I had to rush out for a radio interview about manufacturing my product in America. Afterwards I walked back to STORY to thank Rachel for hosting the event. While there, I met Rachel’s sister Jenny, and at the same time they said to each other:  “Are you thinking what I’m thinking”?  They asked me what I was doing that night, and told me about their pitch event and invited me to participate.
What was it like to pitch your product to the panel? 
It was a great experience pitching to the panel. Rachel, Mindy, Tory and the entire team at STORY made the process fun and painless. They created a welcoming, intimate setting, and kept to the 3-minute time limit, which kept things moving.

What’s the story behind Bodyworks ball – how did you get started on your small business journey? 
I’m a Sports Performance Therapist and have been working with elite athletes since the 90s. I was also a partner in a large exporting company. On October 29th 2012 my business was wiped out by Superstorm Sandy. At that point, I decided that it was time to leave my corporate job, and pursue my lifelong passion of getting people out of pain full time. At the same time, demand for the BodyworksBall by my pro athletes started growing. My background in both corporate global policies and bodywork enabled me to create #Take2AndRenew recovery stations for Fortune 500 companies, office workers, and business travelers.

If you could share one piece of advice with small business owners what would it be?  Network your butt off. Social media is great to find people, but nothing beats face-to-face to build real relationships. And constantly work and prepare for success, because when it happens, it comes fast and furious.

What’s one thing that the internet doesn’t know about your business? 
The BodyworksBall is the ONLY self massage tool used by two Superbowl MVPs, an NBA MVP, and multi billion dollar companies like Bain Capital. And…because of the pitch event at STORY, HSN called me and I’m flying down to Tampa next week to discuss having my product on air!