Local entrepreneurs pitch business idea to 'Shark Tank'

By: Nick Mordowanec | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published May 24, 2017

Photo provided by Christine Delvecchio

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Christine Delvecchio is a self-described visionary, and it seems as if her twin daughters have learned a few tricks of the trade.

Delvecchio, who owns All American Screen Printing in Sterling Heights, is spearheading a new business venture in the form of an apparel decoration company called Palms and Roses.

The idea started around 2012, she said, as her daughters Brooke and Brianna Reid were attempting to figure out their own path while attending Eastern Michigan University.

With an increase of online shopping while well-known big box stores suffer, the three Macomb Township women saw an avenue for something hip and fresh.

The fashionista family saw a world where the internet controlled economics, allowing for introverts and the antisocial to shop online without being bothered.

Delvecchio described Palms and Roses’ concept as “hunting and gathering for quality apparel” — essentially being a boutique complete with a social element, including the playing of old Rat Pack music, classic films, runway shows and the serving of coffee.

“We wanted the best lighting people, the best signage people, the best sound because we don’t want it to sound like it’s a boutique,” Delvecchio said. “It will get loud. You’ll feel the music pulsate through you.”

She studied famous stores like Victoria’s Secret, figuring out how they appealed to younger consumers while still offering older adults many products to purchase.

This congregation of people is what she wants for her new business venture: a place for successful women 30 years and older to shop and socialize, while also appealing to the younger, more hip generation by offering quality products and sociability.

Delvecchio compared the idea, with its theatrical-type entertainment, to opening a Rainforest Café for children — pulling out all the stops to engage, entertain and bring in different kinds of people of all ages.

“There’s modern women now in their 40s who want to dress young, but they don’t necessarily want to dress like they’re 20,” she said.

Brianna Reid called her mom the biggest role model in her life, though she said her aspiration for business success is more than just following in her mom’s footsteps.

“Brooke, my mom and I share the same passions, which made it easy for us to decide to do this as a team,” said Brianna, who plans to go to law school. “I would say entrepreneurship is in our blood. With our three minds together, we were able to come up with this fabulous idea that might just shape the future in the retail realm.”

And it’s a “brilliant” idea, Brianna said, because of the current climate in the shopping world. Palms and Roses is not just a clothing store or just a coffee shop. It’s an experience, complete with timed light shows, loud music and Hollywood flair.

Delvecchio said a goal down the line would be to compete with Starbucks, but Brianna said the two businesses don’t really compare because Palms and Roses will offer more than just a cup of coffee.

Brooke Reid, who majored in marketing, said she has been in college for eight years because she switched her major about eight times. Business is just in her blood, she said, and she knows how millennials function.

Challenging major companies involves marketing, like “Instagram-worthy” coffee drinks and extreme pastry presentation. Franchising Palms and Roses is on the agenda, too, to provide local drinks and grub.

In early May, the business opportunity may have received a boost: Brooke and Brianna, representing Palms and Roses, attended a local audition for the popular ABC show “Shark Tank.”

The program gives business-minded individuals the opportunity to discuss their products or business ideas, possibly making a deal with a “shark” who gets a cut of the product or business at a particular cost.

Brooke and Brianna showed up at the audition at around 6 a.m., standing outside in the cold rain for about three hours to audition. Brooke called the experience “incredible.”

“It was just awesome to see other people who were so goal-oriented and following their dreams, because that is how us three girls have been our whole lives,” Brooke said. “We are dreamers and goal setters. It was definitely worth it!”

The women had one minute to pitch their idea, though Brianna admits as they got started they were allotted a little more time. The audition itself was sort of a last-minute decision after finding out the show was going to be in Detroit.

“We knew it was something we had to do,” Brianna said.

Delvecchio’s history in entertainment also lends a hand.

Prior to being a single mom, she was involved in acting, modeling and the entertainment industry as a whole — and she said that feeling never leaves. Rather than encourage a dull factory life as a business owner, she enjoys introducing events and keeping employees engaged.

Her printing and embroidery business generates about $1 million per year, she said, and for Palms and Roses, she imagines an initial 5,000-square-foot store. A goal of $65 million has been set for the aspiring Palms and Roses, with the ultimate goal being a transition to a nonprofit and giving back more to the surrounding community.

At press time, the three women were supposed to find out the fate of their pitch on May 19, and, if their idea was deemed as credible, they would advance to the next “round.”

Delvecchio would love for "Shark Tank" to invest in Palms and Roses’ capital, though she did note meeting with a couple local investors — a doctor and an unnamed NFL player — about the business model. As she said, it’s all about taking bites and approaching the situation competitively.

“I do all the brain work. (Brooke and Brianna) have more liberty to do the one-on-one,” Delvecchio said. “If we go on the show, they’ll probably need me because I have the number side of things.

“But for pitching purposes, they have that young passion. They won’t stop until it happens, you know?”

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