Small hats win big bucks

| Print |  Email
Saturday, November 01, 2008

PistilDesignHat

HOOD RIVER  Sometimes honesty pays. Midway through his public-funding pitch to a committee of angel investors, Peter Hixson described his company as “a three-man baseball team,” then shrugged and said, “I have no experience with taking a company from $1 million to $5 million.” A few hours later, the Gorge Angel Investors Network presented a check for $100,000 to Hixson for on-the-job training. Hixson’s Pistil Design, a fast-growing hat and fashion-accessory company, took the top prize in an entrepreneurial competition at the first of what organizers hope will be many Gorge Angel Conferences.

Hixson looked exuberant and more than slightly surprised as he and partners Tood Douglas and Forrest Jones sprang up to accept the award. “We didn’t expect to win, but we did,” beamed Hixson. Added Jones: “It was basically a cry for help — and it worked!” Their business has doubled its sales over four years and earned its way onto the shelves at REI and ski resort gift shops, but it needed a six-figure boost to push through to the next level. Pistil beat out 13 Gorge companies ranging from a network of multilingual preschools called Bambinos to an investment fund named Clean Tech Start-Ups Inc.

The well-attended event at the Hood River Inn was modeled on the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s successful string of biz-pitch competitions in downtown Portland, minus the “elevator pitch” theme because of Hood River’s lack of elevators.

It was an odd time to be celebrating the power of capitalism, sandwiched between several of the largest bank collapses in U.S. history. Few if any local startups will be receiving small-business loans as credit markets seize up, making the growing role of the angel investor more important than ever.

Hixson says the original plan was to invest the new cash in marketing and expanding product line, but the option has crossed his mind of just putting it into reserves. “Maybe we should just use this money as operating capital to ride out the storm. When others fail for lack of cash we will still be around.”                         

BEN JACKLET


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

The Private 150: From Strength to Strength

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Revenues in Oregon's private, for profit sector maintained solid growth as the economy continued to rebound.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS