Lisa Neilson’s life has been such a whirlwind of unexpected possibilities that she has barely had a chance to catch her breath.
Owner of Wine Wicks, Neilson, 52, was first featured in the Sierra Star (Aug. 25 edition) in a story on her selection as one of 85 semi-finalists out of 600 competitors in the American Dream contest. As a semi-finalist, she and her husband, Dan, recently traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to pitch her product, luxury wine-scented candles, to Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Good Housekeeping executives.
From the 85 semi-finalists, 10 were selected to move forward. In the end, those chosen all pitched appliances, tools, or household items.
Even though she and her product did not move on in the competition, Neilson, an eternal optimist, already felt like a winner just getting to this point.
“Dan was blown away by HSN, as was I,” Neilson said. “They treated us like royalty, we went on an amazing tour, got some pitch training and advice from one of HSN’s official hosts Bill Green. He told us we didn’t have to read a pitch ... to just be ourselves and relax. That’s the kind of person I am anyway. I want to say what I feel, get the point across and win people over. When I walked in the room where I would be presenting my product in a three-minute pitch, there were all these executives and media ... everyone was staring at me. But my nerves didn’t go into that room with me. I smiled a lot, and when I was done, they were all smiling back, and clapping.”
Apparently, Neilson did a good job winging it. Her product pitch was on Aug. 30. Once she knew she was not selected as a finalist, she and Dan returned home to Coarsegold on Sept. 1. Neilson checked her emails, and there it was - an email that her product and presentation were so impressive that she was selected to air her product on an American Dreams segment.
“I started crying, my husband was in tears, my daughter was in tears,” Neilson said. “I was shocked. This is huge. I can’t believe this is happening. They told everyone they better be ready for it ... and I’m ready. I can’t wait to go back. I guess I did the mountains proud.”
Located in Coarsegold, Wine Wicks specializes in creating a line of natural wine scented candles. Currently there are four scents: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and White Zinfandel, with two other aromas currently being tested to be added to the line next year. Neilson is also working on a new product, Aroma Wine Melts, due out within the next few months.
The date of Neilson’s segment has yet to be determined.
To follow Neilson’s progress, visit winewicks.com.