Small hats win big bucks

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2008
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

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


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