Lowe’s has teamed with Daymond John, star of ABC TV’s “Shark Tank,” to announce the next round of Making It…With Lowe’s, a nationwide pitch program that gives diverse entrepreneurs a chance to advance their business by selling via the retailer’s stores and website.
Lowe’s will accept program applications through midnight Pacific time on July 30 at Lowes.com/MakingItWithLowes. The retailer is particularly encouraging members of the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, people with disabilities, veterans and women to apply with innovative products both in and beyond home improvement categories.
The retailer will evaluate hundreds of entrepreneurs seeking the opportunity to sell their products through Lowe’s. In a second phase, the retailer will invite 75 suppliers to meet with its merchandising teams for additional consideration. It then will invite consumers to vote for their favorites among 15 finalist suppliers. The field will then narrow to the five top suppliers and the fan-favorite. They will pitch products to Lowe’s executives for an opportunity to receive mentorship and a place on Lowe’s shelves and on Lowes.com.
According to a company spokesperson, replying to a HomePage News inquiry, Making It…With Lowe’s, fits in with the Lowe’s Supplier Diversity Program, which is U.S. domestic and focused on small diverse companies. So, Making It…With Lowe’s participants must be diverse-owned and headquartered in the US, however even if the potential supplier imports product from outside of the U.S.
The retailer pointed out that almost one-third of small businesses in the United States closed due to the pandemic, and one-quarter of minority-owned businesses have temporarily shut their doors. Although the economy is re-opening, entrepreneurs continue to face extraordinary challenges as they stabilize their businesses. Lowe’s is bringing back Making It… With Lowe’s at a time when it is needed most, the company asserted, providing opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to grow their businesses amid obstacles that can feel overwhelming.
The first Making It…With Lowe’s event attracted more than 1,300 product submissions and the top suppliers received mentorship from John and Lowe’s merchants, Lowe’s indicated, who helped the selected vendors expand their reach, grow their businesses and connect with new consumer audiences.
“Making It…With Lowe’s shines a light on the remarkable stories of diverse small business owners who are often overlooked and underrepresented,” John stated, “Last year’s program underscored the importance of giving them an opportunity to break through traditional processes. This year, as so many diverse small business owners begin the recovery process, it is even more important to provide them with a much-deserved space to succeed.”
Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s chairman and CEO, noted, “As a company that began as a single store 100 years ago, we know firsthand how important small businesses are to the communities they serve. Through Making It…With Lowe’s, we can help diverse entrepreneurs reach their dreams of growing and scaling their businesses, all while helping us find innovative, clever and solution-driven products that we’re proud to offer. Making It…With Lowe’s is an extension of our commitment to underserved communities and helps us ensure our products are as diverse as our associates and customers.”