Get to know these 11 outdoor women-led start-ups from OIWC's Pitchfest

Female entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to some of the outdoor industry's top CEOs.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 5 – 8. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

 Shallan Ramsey, founder of MaskIT, presents her outdoor start-up product at the first Pitchfest at Outdoor Retailer.

Shallan Ramsey, founder of MaskIT, presents her outdoor start-up product at the first Pitchfest at Outdoor Retailer.

A start-up committed to providing active women with a sanitary, discreet and simple method of disposal for used-feminine-hygiene items took home honors as the winner of the first Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) Pitchfest at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

MaskIT was one of 11 female-led companies, who pitched their ideas to a panel of outdoor leaders including Backcountry.com CEO Jill Layfield, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke, Outdoor Research CEO Dan Nordstrom, Prana CEO Scott Kerslake and Noosa Yoghurt Co-founder Koel Thomae.

Each business had five minutes to pitch their unique concepts to judges, followed by a question-and-answer session. Each finalist received pitch training, professional business consulting and expert advice from the judges.

As the winner, MaskIT receives free tickets to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Trade Show in Salt Lake City Aug. 5-8, 2016, will attend the invite-only Outdoor Retailer Media Preview Party, and will receive booth space at an upcoming Outdoor Retailer Trade Show.

“Pitchfest is a great experience for women entrepreneurs in the outdoor industries. I’m thrilled MaskIT was able to participate in Pitchfest alongside other amazing women-led startups,” said Shallan Ramsey, CEO and founder of MaskIT.

“We designed the Pitchfest to provide a dedicated channel for innovation and entrepreneurship among women with a passion and love for the outdoors,” said OIWC Executive Director Deanne Buck. “The Finalists represent an array of unique companies and leaders who truly represent the creative spirit of the active outdoor industry.”

Pitchfest participants included:

11at11 Digital will be a new social calendar app specifically for women. This platform will provide a centralized place for friends to coordinate plans, as well as social connections to help users find adventure partners with compatible interests and goals. Located in Seattle, Washington. Presenting Founder: LuLu Gephart. 11at11.co

Beafor Apparel designs athletic apparel for observant Muslim, Jewish and Indian women, which allows them to engage in an athletic lifestyle while keeping true to traditional dressing. Located in Los Angeles, California. Presenting Founder: Ann Scott. www. beafor.com 

BikeLife Cities helps cities promote biking with a glossy, attractive magazine designed to inspire people to ride. Located in Boulder, Colorado. Presenting Founder: Lynn Guissinger.www.Bikelifecities.com

Blokrok is a reusable lotion application system that allows you to simultaneously pump and apply lotion while keeping hands clean. Located in Charleston, South Carolina. Presenting Founder: Arianna Megaro. www.theblokrok.com

Boco Gear designs and develops stylish and functional custom performance headwear for manufacturers, retailers, events, teams and clubs within the endurance sports community. Located in Boulder, Colorado. Presenting Founder: Kay Martin. www. Bocogear.com

Bronwen Jewelry makes handcrafted jewelry for active women. The jewelry features simple designs with beautiful and clean bohemian aesthetics using the highest quality materials that are durable and water-friendly. Located in Bend, Oregon. Presenting Founder: Bronwen Lodato. www. bronwenonline.com

MaskIT brings peace of mind to the adventurous woman who happens to be on her period. MaskIT are individual pouches containing biofilm, a material that prevents odor molecules from passing through the film. Pouches permanently seal up making it very easy for women to pack out while camping. Located in Ashland, Oregon. Presenting Founder: Shallan Ramsey. www. MaskIT. us

Pakems are the lightweight packable shoe perfect for taking anywhere, so the moment you’re ready to relax, you have a comfortable shoe. Located in Denver, Colorado. Presenting Founder: Julie Adams. www. pakems. com

Pallas Snowboards (formerly known as Palace Snowboards) hand builds women’s snowboards and split boards using materials and designs that benefit female riders. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Presenting Founder: Stephanie Nitsch. www.pallassnowboards.com

Trail Mavens is a service-based company that brings together intimate groups of dynamic women for weekend-long, skill-based camping and backpacking adventures that are designed to eliminate the primary barriers keeping women from spending more time on the trails. Located in San Francisco, California. Presenting Founder: Sasha Cox. www. trailmavens.com

Destination Nature is the creator of Destination Nature Club, a monthly subscription service that gets kids outside by sending them themed postcards each month with a checklist of things to do in nature. After kids complete the items, they go online where they can unlock more fun. Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Presenting Founder: Stacy Tornio. www. destinationnature.net

The inaugural Pitchfest event is part of OIWC’s The Workshop, an entrepreneurial initiative funded in part by The REI Foundation’s Mary Anderson Legacy Grant. To learn more, visit: www.OIWC.org/TheWorkshop.

--SNEWS Editors

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