Soft Style wins Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam

BOULDER – Bamboobies – a catchy name for heart-shaped, bamboo breast pads for lactating mothers – beat out more than 20 other natural products to win the Naturally Boulder Pitch Slam event.

Boulder-based Soft Style Inc. founder Kerry Gilmartin will receive $26,000 worth of cash and prizes such as legal services and public relations help as a result of winning the annual event put on by Naturally Boulder, an industry trade group. The pads are stitched together in Denver and packaged and shipped in Boulder.

Gilmartin said she is looking forward to getting the expert attention to help her business grow. More than 60,000 customers have bought pads, based on a counter on the company website,

“We’re growing anyway -we’ll probably just grow faster now that we have the help of the experts,” Gilmartin said.

Gilmartin said she decided to start the company after coming up with the iconic name. The mother of three said she wanted something that worked better than other products she tried on the market, which leaked. Bamboo is four times more absorbent than cotton and, because the pads are washable, they end up being cheaper than disposable ones, according to the company website. A multipack package sells for $29 on the website.

Other Pitch Slam entrepreneurs touted a variety of mostly natural food products to a panel of industry judges on Wednesday. Judge Phil Anson, founder of Evol Foods in Boulder, said the panel selected Gilmartin as the winner because her brand is such a unique one.

“She has a huge market to go after, and she’s right on trend from a sustainability standpoint,” Anson said. “She is filling a need where, even if she is struck by lightning, this can continue to exist and be of value to people.”

Cookie and brownie “bites” made by Goodbody Baked Goods in Boulder, snack crackers with peanut butter and fruit spread made by Two Rivers Foods in Lyons, and granola made by Love Grown Foods in Denver were some of the other new products pitched by entrepreneurs at the event venue Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce St., in downtown Boulder.

On a nearby table, free food samples included sweet potato chips made by Garden of Eatin’, a company that’s part of The Hain Celestial Group, also owner of Celestial Seasonings in Boulder. Spectators also enjoyed sample Larabar bars from Lara Merriken’s Larabar company in Denver and tea from Celestial Seasonings in Boulder.

In addition to Gilmartin, other Pitch Slam finalists were Maddy D’Amato, founder of Love Grown Foods, Sanjay Rajan, who has weavers in India creating scarves with natural dyes for his company Slow Color, and Ryan Weilert, who made new hummus flavors – spicy avocado and sweet potato – for his company Hope Hummus.

Naturally Boulder announced annual industry awards to companies and individuals in four categories.

Anson’s Evol Foods received the Company of the Year award; the company makes frozen burritos and frozen pizzas.

Boulder company New Planet Beer received the Best Young Business award for its gluten-free beer.

Ann Cooper, the “Renegade Lunch Lady,” won the Local Hero award, in part for her work to get more unprocessed foods into school lunch menus.

Hass Hassan won the Lifetime Achievement” award. Hassan is a co-founder of Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder, the founder of Fresh & Wild markets, and a member of Greenmont Capital Partners in Boulder and Whole Foods Market Inc., based in Austin, Texas.

Naturally Boulder was started in 2005 as an economic development initiative by the city of Boulder and the Boulder Economic Council. About 400 local natural or organic businesses call Boulder home.