In Conversation with Sarah Ripoli of Angel Energy

Sarah Ripoli_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Angel Energy is a clothing brand that focuses on raising domestic violence awareness and inspiring resilience. Each month we donate 25% of our proceeds to a different domestic violence based organization to help victims in need.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I started a fashion blog as a hobby in the summer of 2018 and began to share my life with my following. About 6 months later, I felt it was time to open up about losing my mom to domestic violence at the hands of my father. It was my darkest secret that immensely weighed on me for the majority of my life, so it was such a relief to finally get it off of my chest. After sharing my story, I received a number of responses from women who had either been in my shoes before or knew someone that had. Finally feeling free was so liberating, and I knew at that point there was no turning back. I decided to combine my love for fashion with domestic violence awareness, and Angel Energy was born!

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Before starting Angel Energy, I was an Accounting & Finance Recruiter in Philadelphia. I graduated from college in May 2014 with a degree in Public Relations, but somehow found myself in a career that wasn’t relevant to my major. It took me over 4 years to realize the reason why I felt so unfulfilled was because the creativity aspect of my life was missing, and that’s what makes me happy.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Becoming an entrepreneur was never really something that I had considered prior to Angel Energy. Throughout college and upon graduation I was naturally conditioned to believe that climbing the Corporate America ladder was the only real route to success. It wasn’t until I actually started working that my idea of success changed. I realized how so much of what I was doing in my career didn’t align with my values. I knew that starting my own company was the only way to achieve true internal happiness and fulfillment.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Around the time Angel Energy was being created I was simultaneously fashion blogging in Philadelphia. Through media events I formed a large network of other bloggers in the community. When creating the launch campaign for Angel Energy I asked if they all wanted to be involved, and those that were interested became a part of a photoshoot and video that conveyed the brands message. We then used that content and solely relied on influencer marketing. Luckily, the word was able to spread quickly through Philadelphia.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

When starting Angel Energy, the plan was to make it women empowerment focused. What I failed to realize was that although the percentage is smaller, there are also men who are victims of domestic abuse that did not feel included in the movement. Obviously, we want to be as inclusive as possible, so we added men’s apparel to our brand. From this I learned how important inclusivity is so more people can relate to the message.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Having my story published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, because it was the same newspaper that covered so much of my mom’s murder case. Being able to change the headline from “N.J. murder trial: Lurid details, rare defense” written about my parents in June 2001 to “A child witness to her mom’s murder seeks healing 20 years later from the journalist on the story” in October 2020 was definitely my proudest moment so far. I am so thankful to have been able to finish my parent’s painful story with a different narrative – that it is possible to fuel pain into purpose and rise above anything!

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I think it’s important to have a candidate not only describe what they’ve done, but the steps they took to get there. Hearing someone explain processes gives more credibility.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Due to both social isolation and economic crises as a result of COVID-19, domestic violence has been on the rise globally. Our main goal during the pandemic has been and continues to be to raise awareness for those that are in quarantine right now with an abuser.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Hopefully to create a domestic violence-based nonprofit of our own as a branch of Angel Energy.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Nothing is as it seems! Sometimes a failure in one area is really just a redirection from the universe.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

When first starting Angel Energy I wasn’t sure where to allocate our budget. It definitely takes trial and error to determine what methods work best.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Every time I begin to feel lost or off-balanced I turn to spirituality to redirect my focus to the things that really matter in life. Reading books like ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ helps to put everything into perspective again.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Absolutely! I find a work/life balance is not only important but extremely necessary in becoming successful. All work and no play inevitably leads to a burnout, so I make sure to prioritize this. A tip to achieve work/life balance would be to time block your days and weeks. Seeing a visual reminder of when to push hard and when to take a break makes me feel more organized and motivated to complete tasks.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m extremely unathletic and actually met my best friend on the sidelines of gym class in 5th grade because we were both so bad.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Start your days earlier! I’ve found that I tend to get the most work done in the mornings before lunch, so I make sure to capitalize on that time.
  • Create a daily routine. Personally, I love to listen to a motivational or educational podcast as I drink my tea in the morning. This helps challenge my mindset in a positive way and starts each day on a good note.
  • Lastly, and my favorite tip is making a daily to-do list to hold yourself accountable. When I have my goals of the day written down I know I will complete them. 

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista to me is a leader who is confident in her dreams, but is also willing to fail, learn and continuously adapt during the journey.

Share it!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

Melanie Rivera of Breaker28 on making an impact while finding joy in everyday life hiccups and surprises

Describe Breaker28 in a few words? We develop leaders with H.E.A.R.T. – Healthy, Equitable, Antiracist, Real and Trust-Centered. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been planning my business for four years – perfecting content, testing out approaches, and I feel that I have a message and a model…

Bex Gold of Brite Hair on combining ethics and fashion to drive innovation into the haircare space

Describe your business in a few words? Brite Hair makes quality ethical, vegan, cruelty free hair color & hair care products that are accessible and fun! What made you take the leap to start your own business? I founded a hair color brand after a long-term relationship ended – I was in my 30s and…

Sonya Tkacs of Recruitlynk on why marketing and selling your business as an owner never stops

Describe your business in a few words? The Recruitlynk mission is to recruit and source top executive and management talent with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We strive to help sustain and nurture inclusive cultures where differences drive innovative solutions and uphold diversity in the workplace. Our goal is to effectively hire leaders who care about…

Isabelle Tierney of The Feel Good Life on helping people lead more fulfilling lives with her ground-breaking methodology

Describe your business in a few words? I help individuals, as well as businesses, relieve stress and choose well-being. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had a highly successful private practice for more than 20 years as a marriage and family therapist, but my personal life was anything but…

Brittany Whitlock of Big Mood Digital on why the thing you are afraid of is the thing you have to do!

Describe Big Mood Digital in a few words? I train business owners, marketers and teams on how to conquer digital marketing confidently making it approachable and manageable through private sessions and courses. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I love working with passionate people who get excited to learn something…

Courtlyn Jones of The Design Database on being a creative entrepreneur, and how she is helping freelancers create the career of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? The Design Database is an online platform and community designed to be a support system for Creatives, helping them find jobs. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was hired as a graphic designer at my “dream company,” 10 years after I set…

Erin Pohan of Upkeeping on overcoming fear, and her three best tips for staying productive

Describe your business in a few words? My goal with UpKeeping is to continually evolve to meet the financial accounting needs of entrepreneurs. We currently offer full-service bookkeeping services, accounting clean-ups and QuickBooks training. What made you take the leap to start your own business? For most of my life, I sat back and watched…

Danielle Elias Las of Bump’n Clothing on growing a business while giving back to the IVF community

Describe Bump’n Clothing in a few words? The ultimate in maternity and postpartum apparel. What made you take the leap to start your own business? The desire to create the perfect maternity pant while giving back to the IVF community. What was your background prior to starting your own business? Attorney; In House Counsel for…

Miriam Airington-Fisher of Airington Law on combining law and entrepreneurship and how she is making an impact

Describe your business in a few words? Airington Law is a women-lead law firm specializing in defending against wrongful convictions and litigating civil rights issues What made you take the leap to start your own business? I initially started my law practice out of necessity. I went through a divorce and became a single mom…

Michele Henry of FACE FOUNDRIÉ on why she leans into her fears, and the importance of dreaming big

Describe FACE FOUNDRIÉ in a few words? Efficient and effective focused facial bar specializing in all things face, facials, lashes, brows, and skincare. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in my parents’ small inground pool business from age 13 all the way through college. Being an entrepreneur is…

Ashley Spriggs of Pivot Media on the power of genuine relationships

Describe your business in a few words? We are a media firm that gets your message the attention it deserves. We offer services in Public Relations and Podcast Management. What made you take the leap to start your own business? It was the right time! I was growing my client list as an independent contractor…

Mary Allard of The Third Place podcast on inviting listeners to explore uncomfortable conversations in a safe space

Describe your business in a few words? The Third Place podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners into the hard conversations that we have a tendency to avoid. It is a podcast that “goes there,” within a safe place where curiosity is encouraged, differences are welcomed, and empathy is embraced through healthy dialogue. What…

Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Describe your business in a few words? East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to…

Tiffany Roman of Small Biz Highlight on creating a platform to help small businesses thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Small Biz Highlight is a web show, created to help introduce the people behind a small/local business, their products and services, and discuss how COVID affected them. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Back in April 2020, COVID shutdowns were in full effect…

11 Mamaprenistas share their best productivity tips to manage a business and a family

1) Tierney Larkin, Founder at Larkin Living Spaces: “Be sure to have a designated space to work that is just for you and your business. It can be a makeshift office in the corner of a room, or even a traveling cart that you can take around with you to store all of your supplies…