Ahhh….it is that time again!
ARCH GRANTS COMPETITION 2013!
For my readers who are unfamiliar with the Arch Grants…here is a really quick run down: (20) $50K grant awards for businesses and start-ups either currently located, or willing to relocate their business to the downtown St. Louis area. It is a tough, tough competition with hundreds and hundreds of entries last year….and the AG committee is expecting the number of entries this year to grow into the thousands now that the competition is being offered worldwide. This will be Cargo Train’s 2nd year in the competition.
Last year, unfortunately, CTA did not progress far enough to win one of the grants, and that was OK. I had high hopes on winning of course, but I knew more importantly that I needed to pay close attention to the competition process that first year, and take the opportunity to strengthen Cargo Train’s foundation.
I can smile today being a last-year-loser simply because Round 1 was ultimately the event that launched the public awareness campaign for CTA, and it was the first time I had ever introduced this company to the public. This time…last year…. CTA was nothing more than all of my ideas and storefront doodles on cheap spiral-bound notebooks, and worlds away from what it is today.
Taking you back a bit….Here is the story on how I got involved with the Arch Grants.
…it was completely on accident/luck/chance/fate…..
in January 2012, I was contacted by Chris Lim, an entrepreneur based out of Los Angeles, CA, and his message to me was along the lines of, “Why are you special?” This obviously got my attention, and the first response I gave back was…. “nothing.”
Chris took my comment in stride and we began to play 20 questions after I saw that Chris was a former officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department; a department that my uncle had retired from as Lieutenant some years ago after 35+ years of service (Yes, I did call my uncle to make sure that Chris was who he said he was…not that I didn’t believe him, I just didn’t know him….Sorry Chris) And yes, everything checked out just fine 🙂
Our Twitter conversation continued on. Then Chris had asked me, “What do you do for a living?” and I told him that I was currently a police dispatcher in St. Louis….,” then I paused briefly,….and for some reason I added, “…but it [dispatching] wasn’t my life’s ambition.” Chris proceeded to ask the million-dollar question of “why?”, and that opened the door for me to confess about my secret entrepreneur life that I had been hiding since high school.
Chris was intrigued and we agreed on a phone meeting, and this is when I took the opportunity of asking Chris why he thought I was “special”, and he told me that he was just curious since he saw that Tony Robbins was one of my followers on Twitter, and that is what lead him to initially contact me.
As our phone conversation continued, we went through my background and what lead me to…. just start designing this company back in high school. After hearing my story, Chris said that he wanted to help me pursue my life’s “true purpose” of pushing myself into the fashion industry somehow. I had the passion but no plan what so ever.
Chris heard information about the Arch Grants competition, and I love what he told me that day, which was in such a confident tone of voice: “We are going to get you one of those grants” It was one of the best feelings ever…..and at that moment, Cargo Train had began to SLOWLY take shape into what it where it is today.
Before the Arch Grants, I only knew that I wanted to be involved in fashion, and that I didn’t want to pursue apparel design or manufacturing (I suck at drawing & sewing) as much as I wanted to find an area where I could exploit my obsession for shopping and extreme bargain-hunting………and then..
My knowledge was vast among brand labels and designers after chasing them damn near my entire life, as well as, several more fun facts, and an OPEN MARKET OPPORTUNITY that show me this venture is more than possible to obtain with a true potential of ranking within the top 3 consignment/resale apparel companies within the Greater St. Louis area, and eventually paving the way to expand nationally
Round 1 did a lot in the initial development of this company, I can hardly begin to imagine what Round 2 will bring! If interested in learning more about the competition, here is the official Arch Grant website