Katie Angel of Whipped Drinks: “Be prepared for a lot of setbacks”

Be prepared for a lot of setbacks — I would struggle every time I encountered a major setback and feel like it was my fault that something fell through the cracks or had been done incorrectly. I realized after a while that that’s just the growing pains of starting a new business. You’re constantly taking two steps […]

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Be prepared for a lot of setbacks — I would struggle every time I encountered a major setback and feel like it was my fault that something fell through the cracks or had been done incorrectly. I realized after a while that that’s just the growing pains of starting a new business. You’re constantly taking two steps forward and one step back,

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Angel.

Katie Angel is a Maryland girl turned Hollywood events producer and coffee connoisseur. In the Spring of 2020, like so many others, Katie’s entire world turned upside down and she sought an outlet for her creative spirit. With coffee shops closed and grocery store lines around the block, she improvised with premium instant coffee in her home kitchen to make a whipped coffee creation to rival any Los Angeles barista.

After months of delicious trial and error, she finally came up with the recipe for Whipped Drinks by blending a perfectly balanced combination of 100% Colombian Arabica coffee, premium cocoa, natural cane sugar, and a dash of sea salt.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Maryland, just outside of DC. My parents were both in politics so I was always being exposed to different types of people and copious amounts of healthy debating. They really instilled in me the value of hard work and how important it is to consider every side of a problem before you make any decisions.

Can you please give us your favorite” Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Allow yourself to transform as many times as you need to be fully happy and free” — Yung Pueblo

Going from event producing to starting a coffee company was not the easiest of transitions. I had never done anything in the food and beverage industry (or even DTC for that matter) so it was a lot of learning, changing, growing and mistake-making. But by allowing myself the room to transform, I opened up an entirely new world that I am really excited about. I wake up every morning and feel invigorated, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that till I made the switch. I think we get really stuck in our ways and the things we’re comfortable in, and forget how much freedom and happiness change can bring.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Wild by Cheryl Strayed really resonated with me when I read it a few years ago. There’s actually a quote by her that I have saved: “Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.”

We’re all masters of our own destiny and, while a bit scary, there’s something very empowering about that. Kind of like that corny saying “you can do anything you set your mind to” — but it really is true!

Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I worked for 12 years as a Hollywood event producer — mostly film premieres and screenings.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

Events in general were some of the first things to shut down as a result of lockdown. During the time at home, I took my love for coffee, combined it with my interest in the delicious whipped coffee trend and transformed it into a business.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

TikTok is what started it all. My husband and I were sitting around watching videos on the platform (as I think everyone was doing at the beginning of March 2020) and we saw someone making whipped coffee. I’m a huge coffee lover so, of course, I had to give it a try. We went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients. We pulled out the mixing bowl, put the ingredients in and we ended up using an electric hand mixer for that first batch. It tasted SO good (despite the instant coffee we used) but I thought to myself there’s got to be a better way to do this. I had so much left over and there were so many steps and ingredients, there’s got to be an easier way to make a quick cup of this in the morning, because I could have it every morning. So, that’s how Whipped Drinks was born!

How are things going with your new business venture?

Things are going very well. People are really loving the coffee and our kit as much as we do and we couldn’t ask for anything more.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Hands down my husband, Taylor. He’s been my rock through all of this and has helped me so much with this process. He was cold calling co-packers for me at the beginning! That’s true love.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

Not really a particular story, but just dealing with the food and beverage world that is still very much filled with old school businessmen. I was surprised at how often I felt like I was being dismissed just because I was a woman. That’s not to say that everyone I encountered was like that, I worked with a lot of great people, but there are definitely still industries out there where that old school mentality still exists, and that was surprising to me.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my own company during a pandemic” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Be prepared for a lot of setbacks — I would struggle every time I encountered a major setback and feel like it was my fault that something fell through the cracks or had been done incorrectly. I realized after a while that that’s just the growing pains of starting a new business. You’re constantly taking two steps forward and one step back,

Don’t be afraid to ask for help — At first, I felt like I could handle everything myself because that’s what I was used to in my regular job. But you have to admit sometimes that there are certain things you just don’t know… and that’s ok! Ask people for help and guidance. There are so many people out there who are happy to give it. I met so many wonderful people through Linkedin who were happy to give me advice FOR FREE. I was honestly amazed at the number of experts in their field who were willing to chat with me and give me honest feedback and advice. I’m forever grateful to those people.

Things will move MUCH more slowly than you’re used to — Especially during a pandemic. Nothing about the process of starting your own business is fast in my experience. We were originally set to launch at the end of summer, which turned into November, which turned into February. You just have to roll with it.

Give yourself grace — You’re learning. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to be nervous about the future. But you have to trust in your instincts and once you make the decision to move forward just go for its full steam ahead.

Enjoy the process! — It’s easy to get caught up in the fears and concerns of starting a new business. But take some moments throughout the day to enjoy the process as well. It’s fun being your own boss!

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

Stop watching the news.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’d inspire a movement that creates a network and provides opportunity that makes space for women in male-dominated spaces. My journey to building Whipped Drinks has taught me that there are many roadblocks when women start something new in a place they aren’t typically seen, and I’d like to change that. The perspective, knowledge and ideas women bring to any industry is invaluable.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Meghan Markle. I need allllll the tea. Haha!

How can our readers follow you online?

On Instagram! @whippeddrinks and @katie.s.angel

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