Wise Woman: Erin Patinkin of Ovenly

Wise Woman: Erin Patinkin of Ovenly

 

 
 
Our ongoing Apiece Apart Wise Woman series distills women’s specific expertise into advice and education that build us all up together.
 
An idea creator and business maker, Erin Patinkin is CEO and co-founder of the award-winning bakery Ovenly; executive producer & co-host of Start to Sale on Vox; and advisor and consultant to emerging businesses around the US. As an advisor, Erin's work centers around making brass tacks advice, tools, and resources accessible to any emerging entrepreneur, from the key terms and proposals every investor wants to know to the portfolio of tools she has cultivated as a self-made business owner.
 
Next week we’re excited to host Erin in a very special intimate workshop in our Soho store, where Erin will both share her learnings as well and offer hands-on advice and access to the tools she has crafted surrounding pitch making and financial modeling. Below, a glimpse at her thought process and a few specific sharing on the tips and advice that have helped her most. 
 
 
 

 

Wise Woman: Erin Patinkin

 

 
Erin’s tough love advice for an emerging entrepreneur:
 
Own your title:
“When Ovenly first started, I was in the kitchen 14 hours a day, developing recipes and baking. But after the first year I realized that the thing that fascinated me most was the business aspect. I organically moved over to working on the sales, the finance, the marketing decisions...at the same time we raised money a few times. And yet, today I still get asked at 40 years old — I am the CEO of five bakeries, one event space, 300 wholesale clients, 70 employees —  if I get up at 4am each day and put on my apron. People assume the title is fake. My response is always, ‘I haven't put on an apron since I was 29 years old.’ 
 
I remember once being in a meeting with an advisor, explaining the roles I played and what motivated me and the advisor said, ‘Well, you're a real entrepreneur.’ And I was like…. ‘Oh. That's the word for what I am.’ I think my path to being a true entrepreneur started when I allowed myself to unapologetically own my title.”

 
Ask For Help:
“If I didn't have my mentors, I don't know where I'd be. I am not wealthy, and I didn't come from money. It took me so long to network and find those people and learn how to communicate in ‘investor speak.’ I have been in fundraising situations where I felt really locked out of conversations and locked out of being taken seriously…
 
When I was beginning to shape my business I didn’t have anyone who could directly answer my questions, like: How do I do this thing that I want to do? What does a pro forma look like? What should a pitch look like? What is typically expected in a meeting with an investor? What 17 terms do I need to have responses for?
 
I think it's such a detriment that people (especially women) feel too embarrassed to ask for that exact advice. This is why I do what I do now.” 

 
Know how to craft a pitch…and how to back up the lingo:
“Access to capital is the #1 reason people either don’t start or end up closing a business. It’s not because the business or the idea is bad! Rather, it’s usually because they don’t know where to find funding, or they don’t know how to make a proper pitch. For example, one thing every entrepreneur will be asked to show potential investors is a ‘pathway to profit with EBITDA.’ This phrase is going to come up again and again, and it basically just means: what is your real net profit going to be at the end of the day?”
 
 
Know your numbers:
“Another thing I hear all the time is, ‘Numbers make my brain melt. I can’t look at them.’ To that I say… get over it and learn them, because if you don’t know your numbers you will never make it. Or if you truly cannot do the math, find a business partner who can. You can’t just blindly pass everything off to a bookkeeper and walk away. You must understand money coming in and going out or you’re going to have a problem down the line.”
 
 
Not everything is an inspirational quote:
“Sometimes a failure is just a failure. The best thing you can do is learn from that. The popular narrative is about ‘the thing someone thought was a failure that turned into the landslide success’ but…you can’t turn all failures into a win. And that’s ok.”
 

 
Wise Woman: Erin Patinkin

 

 
Toolkit:

Erin’s resources — a portfolio of open source and free documents created by Erin
for helping individuals access information on pitching and financial models:

How to Pitch
Basic Pitch Template 
More tools here


More articles by Erin: 

“Real Change, Right Now” on Cherry Bombe
“How I Built A Successful Small Business” on VICE
Listen to Erin’s podcast Start to Sale on Vox