CREATING ACCESS IN THE ARTS

Jersey City Entrepreneur, Brittany Graziosi wins 1st Place in the Start Something Challenge

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“I’m here today because I was a weird kid.”

Last night, that’s how artist, entrepreneur, and mother, Brittany Graziosi began her winning pitch at the 6th annual Start Something Challenge, a business pitch competition hosted by Rising Tide Capital, a New Jersey nonprofit.

A Greenville resident and Rising Tide Capital Community Business Academy Graduate, Brittany pitched her way to 1st place, winning $10,000 for her business, Jersey City Oddities Market, a pop-up event that provides a well-advertised marketplace for niche crafters and artists.

“I have been in the vendor circuit as an artist for over six years, and I wanted an event closer to home that would cater to the type of art I made and vendors like me- while still being inclusive.” Brittany said, “What I found in the world of vending is that promoters just want to fill a space. They will book an artist, take their vendor fee and that’s it; they won’t give you any other promotion and I thought ‘What if I could change that?’ and that’s when the idea of Jersey City Oddities market was born.”

While Brittany was exploring her entrepreneurial interest, she was dealing with things in her personal life that took her business from just an idea to an action.

“The timing of my business idea lined up perfectly for when I pulled my four-year-old out of his preschool, as they were not equipped for his autism,” Brittany began, “so I needed to make these markets successful, so that I could dedicate more time to him while we searched for a new school. During that time I realized how many of the artists I was working with were in similar positions as me; single moms, parents of disabled children, vending their art as their only income, that’s when I knew these types of events could become more than just a pop up market but an entire network of artists helping and promoting each other.”

Brittany’s long-term goal is to find a permanent location to house her community of artists work so that they can focus on creating the art, and she will focus on the business of marketing and selling.

“The focus of my market is one hundred percent on the artists, I would like to take the concept of a community of sellers under one roof and turn it into a permanent location.” Brittany said, “vendors would not only have a permanent space to sell- but would be able to host pop ups that focus one day solely on their goods- as well as teaching small workshops on their crafts. I could amp up marketing tenfold and continue curating a collection that caters to a very large but often overlooked customer base, we all would win.”

While only three entrepreneurs won cash last night, all of the finalists will receive prizes from Rising Tide Capital. The seven finalists not winning cash prizes will all receive an iPad, which will be presented along with a surprise Community Choice award of $1,000 at the Rising Tide Celebration on November 2at Harborside in Jersey City.

To learn more, visit www.StartSomethingChallenge.org.

Win up to $10,000 for your small business, meet other entrepreneurs, and work those marketing muscles to grow your enterprise!

Headquartered in Jersey City, Rising Tide Capital, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded with the mission to empower entrepreneurs to create and grow small businesses which transform lives and communities. The organization’s vision is to build a replicable model for high-quality entrepreneurial development services that can be adopted locally in other low-income communities.

Learn more at www.RisingTideCapital.org