Project Pitch It: Asili Naturals appears on national entrepreneurship show

Trenise Watson with some of the skincare products she developed.
Trenise Watson with some of the skincare products she developed.

Milwaukee natural skincare startup Asili Naturals was included in a recent episode of national entrepreneurship show “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch.”

The episode was posted in late June on entrepreneur.com and aired on television July 16 on Cheddar Business. The producers contacted Asili co-founder and chief executive officer Trenise Watson after seeing her November appearance on MSNBC program “Your Business.”

“They reached out to me through email and said they were looking for niche space businesses and they thought that I would be a good fit,” Watson said in an interview with BizTimes Milwaukee.

On “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch,” Watson was tasked with pitching her business to the investor-judges in 60 seconds. The show puts the entrepreneur on a literal elevator. The doors close, the pitch starts, and the judges give an up or down vote on opening the door.

Asili’s popular spirulina clay mask.
Asili’s popular spirulina clay mask.

Asili Naturals was co-founded Watson and chemist, Moe Mukiibi. The company works with a local co-packer to make plant-based scrubs, soaps and body butters, which are sold on Walmart.com, at all Outpost Natural Foods stores, and at Beans & Barley. This isn’t the first time Asili has been featured on an entrepreneurship show. Asili also recently earned a $10,000 cash prize on Milwaukee entrepreneurship pitch show “Project Pitch It.”

Watson explained to the judges on “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch” that the company’s body butters, body scrubs and facial masks – including its popular spirulina clay mask – are great for deeply cleansing skin, minimizing pores, “detoxifying” and providing antioxidants and vitamins. She sought $100,000 for a 20% equity stake in Asili Naturals.

The judges were Kim Perell, entrepreneur and CEO of global marketing technology company Amobee; Peter Goldberg, founder of PLG Ventures; Gregg Smith, founder of Evolution VC Partners; and David Meltzer, CEO of Sports 1 Marketing and S1Media House.

“Store shelves are so crowded,” Smith said. “It’s hard to understand how successful it is without understanding her revenue.”

“I think clean skincare is definitely hot and trending, so it’s a good place to be,” Perell said. “I just think it’s hard to break out.”

“So much of this is about the brand, as well, because it is a crowded space. And how could she do that with $100,000?” Goldberg asked.

This wasn’t Asili’s big break, as all four judges voted to send Watson back to the lobby.

“…I’m not sure what it was for, but this is not going to stop us,” Watson said on the show. “We’re going to continue to go. We’re in discussions with a big retailer. We’re also going to be featured in Shopify’s new retail store, so we’ve got a lot of good things coming up.”

Asili Naturals LLC
Leadership: Trenise Watson, CEO
Address: Milwaukee
Website: asilinaturals.com
What it does: Makes plant-based scrubs, soaps and body butters
Founded: February 2018

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.