What You Missed at Women’s Demo Night
Guest Post by Nayia Moysidis
"The Li.st is going to make everyone feel like a white man." Rachel Sklar makes the declaration as a matter of simple fact, as though everyone in the room has at one point considered what their life would be like if they went undercover à la Eddie Murphy. That's how Women's Demo Night started on Tuesday evening in the Facebook offices of NYC, with wit, humor, and energy, and carried on in this manner until the very end.
Jessica Lachs, an MBA from Wharton, took a swing at the first pitch. (Pun intended). GiftSimple is “the stuff you want, from the people you know.” Using the GiftSimple Facebook app, Jessica showed the room just how easy it is to post a gift you want for your friends and family to see. Your people can then put money towards that gift until you’re ready to cash out. The best part? All money converts into cash, so as Jessica put it, if you’re short on rent that month, you can put it towards your shelter instead of a shiny new iPad. Good point, Jessica, and that does raise an idea. If I post to GiftSimle today, maybe I can get that Greenwich Brownstone by 2055. Friends, family, empty your wallets!
Next, we swung into Upswing.me. Nicolette Omoile didn’t waste any time. Within a few minutes, she had curly-haired women across the room nodding excitedly to her pitch. Upswing.me aims to “provide local reviews of hair stylists” to an “empowered community.” Mixing hair and an inspirational mission statement certainly seems like a certain way to get into any curly-haired woman’s heart. But if any of the males or straight-haired ladies in the room had any doubts of the size and severity of the issue, their qualms were silenced a moment later. “There are 32 Meetups with 5000 women focused on African American hair alone,” she told the room, and that’s just in New York City. You might not think that a bad hair day creates a serious problem, but let me assure you, 5000+ unhappy women in Manhattan will.
Is it possible to experience a medical bill without the customary eyebrow raise? ClearHealthCosts would like to think so. After working for The New York Times for 23 years, Jeanne Pinder puts her tremendous researching skills to use for anyone who has ever struggled with the costs of medical treatments. ClearHealthCosts is working to “bring transparency to the health-care marketplace by telling people prices for medical procedures and iteams.” The value of this one is pretty obvious, but in case you’re missing it: Would you rather have Lasik for $400 or $6400? A mammogram for $50 or $600? A pelvic ultrasound for $85 or $700? Knowledge births power – or at least a few extra bucks.
For people who really want their fashion to be a statement, Constrvct is looking for you. I first saw this project on Kickstarter a few weeks back and was impressed with the founders’ desire to seemingly make all fashion a form of art. Mary Huang rose to the occasion again, her shoes looking like tiny black staircases in their intricate pattern of intertwined plastic. On Constrvct, fashion artists, as I’ve taken to calling them, can “construct and share designs” creating T-shirts, dresses, and other materials of clothing using uploaded patterns and personal photographs. One audience member comes up with a concept I can only imagine we’ll be seeing when the beta becomes public: a sonogram photo on a loose maternity dress. Creepy or chic? I’ll let you decide.
Fun Org is self-explanatory enough, but I suppose I can tell you a bit more. It’s an app that delivers fun right to you. I must admit I’m a bit biased because one of the first events the team demo’ed on the app was a summer clam bake. The other was a pairing event of honey and cheese. (I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care. Food is my one true love). Jana Trantow made the goal clear: “We’re about the experience, not the discount.” On Fun Org, consumers should be willing to pay an extra buck or two to get an experience that has – dare I say it – a fun guarantee. The last time I had one of those was at Chuckie Cheese, and I definitely think it’s time for a revival. Sign me up!
Gifthit’s Arielle Goldman closed the evening by reminding us that the best thing you can gift is an experience. Is it bad that the entire pitch I wanted to gift experiences to myself? Alas, everyone would know about my greediness, because on Gifthit, you can “treat your friend to a real gift on Facebook.” Need more convincing? The landing page might just do it for you: “Gift cards are great, but getting a beer by wallpost is way cooler.” Now, if only we could just reach through the screen and grab the beer – that would be an experience. (Are you listening Apple?) Arielle also shared that the experiences on site are curated so that only the best-reviewed spots in town make it onto the platform. Save yourself a bad Yelp review and hit a spot that’s already loved? Don’t mind if I do. Disregard the Facebook posts, please.
As Jessica Lawrence, NYTM’s Managing Director, put it at the start of the night, one day Women’s Demo Nights will be futile because at least half of the pitches at NYTM will be made by women. But I’m not convinced we should stop having them even then. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of an event that brings personality, fashion, and fierceness all to the same place at the same time.
About the guest blogger: Nayia Moysidis is the Founder of Writer’s Bloq, a platform that helps great writers get discovered. Nayia graduated from Columbia’s Creative Writing program in May 2011. During her years at Columbia, she played Division I soccer, explored six continents, and held positions at Film London, VISA, SportsMark, and Simon & Schuster. She has been published in Levo League, Women 2.0, The Huffington Post, and Forbes. Follow her on Twitter at @NAYIAisms and on her blog for endless sarcastic wit.