Safety4Her earns cash prize on ‘Project Pitch It’

Project Pitch It 2020 moguls Jerry Jendusa, Dr. Debbie Allen, David Gruber and Peggy Ann.

Milwaukee-based safety clothing company Safety4Her earned the $10,000 cash prize on Saturday’s episode of “Project Pitch It” on WISN-TV Channel 12. It was the first episode of the fourth season for the show.

Safety4Her makes safety clothing for women who work in the towing, trucking, trades and construction industries. The company’s president and chief executive officer Melissa Gaglione, who has worked in the towing industry for six years, started the company in 2018.

“Safety4Her started with me working in a male-dominated industry,” Gaglione said. “The clothes were too long, too big and too wide and fit one size.”

Safety4Her products are mainly reflective vests sized for women and reflective leggings, which are high-waisted, anti-bacterial, water resistant and have multiple pockets.

Gaglione was motivated to start the business based on the amount of clothing-related injuries in the aforementioned industries. There were a total of 220,000 clothing-related injuries in 2016 alone, she said.

The percentage of women working in towing, trucking and the trades has grown 22% in the past two years with a total of 770,000 women who either own a company or work in these fields, Gaglione said.

“I’m amazed by the amount of women that are in the industry now,” said Project Pitch It mogul Debbie Allen. “But also, the amount of injuries.”

David Gruber, who is also a mogul on the show, said he can’t imagine why a company wouldn’t want their employees to have access to Safety4Her products.

“What you’re selling them is satisfaction of the worker, the person, a fashionable look and oh by the way, it’s going to prevent injuries,” Gruber said.

The other entrepreneurs featured on the show Saturday included Justin Lubin, founder of Milk & Honey and Justin Vannieuwenhoven, owner of Sheboatin’.

Milwaukee-based Milk & Honey produces cream liqueur made with date honey imported from the sea of Galilee in Israel. Lubin pitched his product and received the “Get Unstuck Award,” which is a $5,000 cash prize along with one year of business coaching and strategy deployment.

Milk and Honey is available at a variety of stores including Sendik’s Food Market, metro market and Pick ‘n Save as well as select liquor stores around the state. The moguls sampled Milk & Honey along side a splash of Jim Beam black bourbon.

“He’s got such a niche for the product too that really has the potential to scale in such a competitive landscape,” said mogul Jerry Jendusa.

Lubin moved his family to Israel in 2011 where he was working in water treatment technology. While in Israel, Lubin learned of date honey in an ancient Hebrew manuscript, which led him mix date honey and milk.

“Most people don’t know that the real honey of the ancient land of milk and honey did not come from bees,” Lubin said. “It came from trees. It was date honey that’s an agave nectar-like extract from the palm tree.”

Vannieuwenhoven pitched his Sheboygan-based business Sheboatin’ during Saturday’s episode of Project Pitch It. The entrepreneur also owns Shebikin’, which is a peddle tavern with bikes that operates in Sheboygan.

However, Vannieuwenhoven wanted to take his business model to the water and has plans to pilot his peddle tavern boat on Elkhart Lake. His goal is to bring Sheboatin’ to multiple lakes throughout Wisconsin.

“The young man is truly an entrepreneur and he’s driven,” Jendusa said. “He actually has some brand equity between Shebikin’ and Sheboatin’.

Sheboatin’ was awarded the “Stritch Pitch Award,” which includes 3 free courses at Cardinal Stritch University, access to innovation space, faculty and staff mentoring for one year.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.