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#PitchNight Recap: Part I

As always, September 13th’s #PitchNight – an open call for designers and makers that gives creatives the opportunity to pitch a physical product to STORY founder Rachel Shechtman (and a few friends) – was nothing short of inspirational. The air crackled with electricity as pitchers mingled and prepared to present. This time around, Jim Gold, Chief Merchandising Officer, Neiman Marcus, and Stella Bugbee, Editorial Director, The Cut, joined Shechtman to meet 48 pitchers with passion projects ranging from luxury doggie beds to pottery.

We’re so honored that some pitchers flew in from all over the country (and beyond!) to share their products and the narratives behind them. Here are a few of the out-of-towners whom we had the pleasure of meeting!

Kenneth L. Wright, Jr., KleanCollar Inc. 
Wright flew in from Atlanta, Georgia for a whirlwind visit to NYC. (He left #PitchNight to attend a friend’s fashion show, followed by a return to the airport). Having hailed from the frat with the “GQ” reputation in college, Wright noticed that he – and many of his well-dressed frat brothers – had a hard time preventing the slight “dirt ring” around collared shirts. He decided to do something about it. “One of the really unique things about my product is that it’s virtually invisible until I tell people that I have it on,” he explained. While the accessory is patent-pending, Wright is also selling lapels, pocket squares, and ties. And should there ever be a biography written about him, he noted it would definitely be titled, “Changing the World, One Collar at a Time.”

Nicole Greener, Clickless
Greener took the red eye in from Salt Lake City, Utah the morning of #PitchNight and planned to make an about-face trip home the following morning. But the traveling didn’t appear to take a toll on the founder of Clickless, who was sporting her own pair of killer stilettos. Greener’s product protects high heels from damage, wear, and tear while minimizing that annoying, “clicking noise,” when walking. “I was working in an office where I felt that I was going insane listening to all of the clicking. And I felt like I couldn’t abandon my cubicle because everyone would take notice,” Greener explained. “It inspired me to create something for myself – and something that most women could use.” 

Kate O’Malley, Bangle Stacker
Despite hailing from Chicago, Illinois, O’Malley was eager to book a roundtrip ticket to NYC a few days earlier when she learned that she had the opportunity to present a product that she discovered “by accident.” “My jewelry box was so messy, and I was doing a craft project with my kids, so one day I said, ‘Let’s make a bangle stacker,’ and we made them with toilet paper rolls and duct tape,” O’Malley explained. She quickly discovered that vertical holders didn’t exist – nor were they patented. One year later, she’s selling acrylic and velvet stackers online and looking for the right brick and mortar fit.

Erica Preo, Pantofola
Preo flew in from Raleigh, North Carolina to present her luxury dog collars and leashes – made entirely in Italy with authentic leather and brass. “I was tired of a lot of dog owners and animal lovers giving their own members of their family the shaft with products that are poorly made,” Preo explained, “so I wanted to make a luxury item for our four-legged friends.” Preo noted that a “good chunk” of the profits go to dog rescues. “A lot of my customers obviously have purebred dogs, but I’m secretly saving the dogs in shelters.” Preo returned to her five dogs in Raleigh the next morning (she noted two of them wear the collars, but the remaining three pups will have to grow into them).

Stay tuned for more stories about our fabulous pitchers, and follow us @thisisstory!