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Abraham proof positive that life is a pitch

May 28, 2023
By Mike Weland

Sarah Abraham grew up home schooled on an Angora goat ranch in Boundary County and last week she graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Science in Management and Human Resources with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Along the way, she improved one business and developed another that she's coming home to launch this summer. She's traveled and won cash prizes. And, she learned a valuable lesson. "Life is a Pitch!"

Her parents, Todd and Angela Abraham, she said, have always believed in and supported her ideas and dreams, standing behind her when, at 16, Sarah launched her first business, Pine Rose and Co., pitching her handcrafted jewelry to boutiques across the nation during her last years of "high school," hearing "no" often, getting ghosted by some but hearing "yes" often enough to encourage her to keep at it.

By the time she was 18, her jewelry was being sold in stores across the nation.

In the third week of her freshman semester in 2019, Sarah went on her first fully paid business trip to New York City for a "Convening on American Craft" event hosted by Nest and Hermès, one of just 16 artisans from across the country hand-chosen to attend three days of immersion in workshops and panels on marketing and sales.

"It was an unbelievable experience for me, a naive homeschooled farm girl from a small town in Idaho," Sarah said. "This helped set the course for my future and stoked my fire for business, networking, and travel. Since then my business has evolved into an online yarn shop catering to modern tapestry weavers. I was able to pay my own way through school, debt free. This was a huge accomplishment for me that I am quite proud of and want others to know they can do it too."

She went on to complete two courses of study abroad, a fall semester in Reading, England, in 2021 and a summer semester in Viterbo, Italy.

"It was the most enriching, educational, and rewarding time of my life. The places I was able to visit, the history I was able to relive, and the people I was able to experience it with," Sarah said of her time in England. "Those four impactful and incredible months I will never forget and will be forever blessed by."

Her experience in Italy was quite a bit different.

"I didn’t speak much Italian at the time and lived with a host mom who didn’t speak much English," she said. "There were many learning curves, but I loved it! Studying abroad is life-changing and I cannot recommend it enough!! A lot of people say they want to do it, then don’t. Make it happen!! It is so worth it, I have never met someone who regretted it."

In her final semester this spring, Sarah kept up a grueling class load, but nevertheless took part in the Idaho Entrepreneurs program led by George Tanner, taking a business idea and developing and growing that idea clear to the finish line. Along the way, participants compete in teams at various "pitch" competitions nationwide, pitching your business in different presentation formats and for various lengths of time, telling others what your business is, who it's for, how you're going about it and more.

Sarah reached back to the Bonners Ferry farm she grew up with and developed Caprine, a luxury knitwear brand using mohair from the Angora goats the family raised. It was an idea she and her mom had been working on for as couple of years.

By graduation, they secured a USDA value-added producer grant to build the company and completed a study that proved the viability of the business. She earned a certificate in the art of pitching through the RNMKRS training program.

She competed in several pitches, often hearing painful critique from the judges to whom she pitched her idea to, learning how to gauge those she met, adapt her pitch on the fly if necessary. She won about $10,000 in prize money, and took first place in two of the competitions of the Idaho Pitch.

"It was an amazing and draining night to be sure, but so rewarding in more ways than one," she said.

Even more exciting, she and her mom will launch Caprine this summer, even as she continues to grow and expand Pine Rose and Co.

"I am so thankful to be a part of the Vandal family, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve learned from," Sarah said.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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