Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Kate Austin, founder of charity hygiene service Pinchapoo.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Pinchapoo (short for pinch-a-shampoo) was born from the cheeky idea of ‘pinching’ unused hotel toiletries and donating them to organisations working on the frontline with Australia’s 100K+ homeless population. Transformed from an idea to a registered charity, to date Pinchapoo has provided nearly 500K personal hygiene products to disadvantaged men, women and children in shelters, refuges, community shower facilities, resource centres, hospitals and schools around the country.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
To fund growth and resourcing for Pinchapoo we are aiming to rollout a corporate partnerships strategy. Implementing this in the year ahead is a top priority for the charity so we can start working with big organisations who see value in the work Pinchapoo does. Through supporting us, both financially and by working together with us, we will enable our corporate partners to achieve some of their own CSR goals in collaboration with us.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
The not-for-profit space is a very congested market place indeed, It’s a challenge for all of the players to stand out and get their message heard. Despite this, many ‘leading’ charities continue to push their causes in the same way that is, bombarding the public with guilt driven messages of doom and gloom via any channel possible. Pinchapoo has taken a fresh approach ensuring our supporters get a change of scenery.
Our cheeky and collaborative approach to communication at all touch points means supporters can go on a full filled journey with purpose- despite the serious life circumstances of those they support and the nature of the vital work they do. At all times, Pinchapoo is able to lean on its strong brand attributes which is rarely seen within grassroots organisations
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
Like other start-ups, it’s ensuring we scale sustainably. As a not-for-profit, we don’t generate revenue through the sales of a product or service, so a concerted focus on fundraising is always a priority. We are a small team, at the moment we are 100% volunteer run entity. Using our Melbourne based operating model, we are now rapidly expanding nationally allowing us to continue to meet the demand for our service in the remaining states.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
There is more power in what you exclude than what you include.
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