Katie Angel on how a TikTok trend inspired her to launch Whipped Drinks
Describe your business in a few words?
Whipped Drinks is an at-home kit that makes premium Colombian whipped coffee in just 60 seconds.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
Oddly enough, the pandemic! My husband and I were at home watching TikTok videos (as I think almost everyone was doing in March of 2020) and we saw someone making whipped coffee. I’m a huge coffee lover so, of course, I had to give it a try. After going to the store and buying all of the ingredients, we pulled out the mixing bowl and ended up using an electric hand mixer for that first batch. It tasted SO good (despite the not so great instant coffee we used) but I thought to myself there’s got to be a better/easier/faster way to do this. That’s how Whipped Drinks was born!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I worked in event production for over 12 years until the pandemic hit. Obviously, events were one of the first things to get shut down, so I took my love for coffee and transformed it into a business.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Not at all. The thought was honestly a little scary to me because I had no knowledge of what it entailed. It’s amazing what we can do when we allow ourselves the freedom to take a risk.
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?
We’re honestly still in the process of that! We officially launched in February and our main strategy has been to really listen to our customers and what they want. We’re lucky in that our product has somewhat of a cult following already, so we don’t need to do a lot of consumer education. People are aware of whipped coffee and have been really excited to try out the product.
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?
My biggest challenge came from not being 100% clear with a manufacturer about what our needs and timelines were, and not following up with them till it was too late. I had a company in charge of producing the first round of boxes for our kits, and felt like I had communicated to them what our deadlines were. My contact there seemed like they had it completely under control, so I didn’t follow up on the status until way too close to our deadline. Of course, the boxes were not ready (and wouldn’t be for another two months) and it ended up pushing our launch date into 2021 when we had originally planned for November of 2020. I think sometimes–especially as women–we’re afraid of coming across as a nag or being too pushy, but when you own your own business you absolutely have to be on top of every detail yourself and not assume someone else has it handled. Don’t be afraid to micromanage and be a boss, especially in the beginning.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Truthfully, getting this business off the ground. It was such a scary proposition to start something like this from scratch, with no experience in the food & beverage or DTC industries. My husband Taylor and I ended up cold calling people from LinkedIn just looking for advice and feedback. You’d actually be amazed at how many of those people were willing to talk to us and walk us through things. I’m so grateful for people like that and would love to pay it forward myself one day.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
As a new business, we’ve had the opportunity to work with consultants that are experts in their respective fields (design, marketing, PR, etc), so what we look for are those that can help us solve a problem. Once I begin expanding our internal team a question that I believe gives a glimpse into the candidate is “How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?” From their responses, I can get a sense of where a candidate wants to be in the future. If it’s something that aligns with the vision of Whipped Drinks, it’s a great indicator that we can grow together.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We started this business BECAUSE of the pandemic, so it’s actually been a good thing for our business by design. I think people are way more interested in making things at home these days, including their coffee! It also tastes amazing, is made with the most premium ingredients, and each cup is about ⅓ of the cost of what you’d pay at a coffee shop, so it’s kind of a no-brainer.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We’re really excited to try out a flavored version and have a matcha version in the pipeline as well.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
There will be no shortage of times where you feel like giving up, but you can’t let that fear or desperation stop you. It sounds cheesy, but you truly can do anything you set your mind to. Just take the time to learn, don’t feel discouraged when you make mistakes (because you will make them), and lean on as many people as you can for advice and guidance.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew how normal it is for the process to be slow with many, many setbacks. I would beat myself up at the beginning if something wasn’t exactly as I had planned, and it’s so unnecessary to do that. I think any entrepreneur will tell you that starting a business is a constant game of two steps forward, one step back.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
My husband, Taylor, has been my rock and keeps me sane. I lean on him a lot and really appreciate his advice.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Of course, I think we’d all like to have balance in our lives. That’s the ultimate goal isn’t it? It can be really challenging and I think things tend to ebb and flow. Sometimes your business requires way more of your time and effort and sometimes your family does. I don’t think it’s ever a perfect 50/50 split. And that’s ok! We’re all doing the best we can and have enough pressure from the outside as it is, we don’t need to be hard on ourselves as well. Give yourself as much grace as you can and be proud of your accomplishments.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
2020 was probably the craziest year of my life–I started a business, got married, adopted a puppy, and am about to have a baby. During a pandemic. Actually just saying it out loud sounds insane.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
To-Do lists — I write EVERYTHING down. It helps me keep my thoughts organized when I can see them written out.
Take little breaks — If something is giving you trouble, leave it alone for a while and come back to it. It’s amazing what our brains can work out even when we’re not actively thinking about something. That phrase “sleep on it” is so accurate.
Drink a whipped coffee every morning 🙂
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista is about showing other women that they shouldn’t hold themselves back from creating something just because they feel like they don’t have all the knowledge or expertise in that field. I was a coffee lover, not a coffee expert, before launching this brand and I’ve learned and grown along the way. My advice: just go out there and get it done! The world is your classroom. You won’t know how to do everything at first, but you’ll learn along the way. As a newlywed and now pregnant woman building this business, I feel so empowered to do it all right now and use every experience and emotion at my fingertips to build this company!