Angie Tebbe is a mother, a partner, a feminist and a wellness-lover. It is her life’s work to help women become their best selves.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I grew up in a very holistic household. My mother was a nurse, and my father was proficient in reiki, homeopathy, and we were the family you’d see meditating on the lawn in Fargo, North Dakota. We had a very close family, and my parents always made sure we felt like we had everything, although I know they stretched every day to make ends meet. I am the middle of three daughters – and we were always encouraged to take up space, use our voice, and create a life of happiness and love.
It was growing up with a cellular appreciation of holistic wellbeing – mind, body, and heart – that led me to where I am today. It truly is the culmination of how I grew up and the experiences I had throughout my career that sparked the idea of a community-led women’s wellness company.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
A few years ago, I had a wonderful corporate career as a key retail executive, two beautiful kids (and now three, as of a few months ago!), and a very full life. However, my well-being was continuing to decrease on the priority list. I had an opportunity to think about what that meant to me personally and professionally, and how I could bring that together as my next chapter.
Because of my 13-year retail career, I had an incredible toolkit of creating consumer-led brands, developing worldwide sourcing and supply chain strategies, and managing large P&L’s and teams. I used this toolkit to accelerate the creation and development of a community-led wellness brand and products.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
So much of the wellness industry is targeted at affluent consumers that have unlimited time and money to take care of themselves. At Rae, we support consumers that are typically underserved –through an inclusive ethos and accessible products. The world of wellness is changing so significantly, and women are at the forefront of every trend (and finally putting themselves on the priority list).
At Rae, we work each day to understand our community, and at our core are passionately inclusive. We make high quality supplements that are always pure, powerful, accessible, and well-designed. There is no reason all women shouldn’t have great products without the high price tag. Our customer knows how important supplements are to her life and the impact they can have to her overall body and mind.
Our community loves Rae because our product universe and approach is solution-oriented and dedicated to fit into her existing life. Our customers understand our evidence-based approach and how we holistically serve all her needs in one brand. For these reasons, retailers have recognized our value proposition as we have scaled from zero to over 7,000 stores in just over two years.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
Some of the most difficult moments of building Rae surrounded initial fundraising. We were told “no” nearly 100 times from investors –we either didn’t fit their model, or our omnichannel business model was too aggressive of an agenda. At some moments, you ask yourself if this really is going to happen. However, choosing to be an entrepreneur means that you are bringing something to the world in a way no one has done before. When you see this opportunity, it is critical to have an Infinite mindset, play the long game, and always follow your instincts.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
When we started Rae, we put our consumer, our people, at the forefront of every decision. It was and still is our mission to understand what she is thinking about, what she needs and wants, and how she lives. Ultimately, that guides our brand, our products, and the essence of who we are.
Having a digitally led community allows us to have conversations directly about our brand, products, content, and more. For example, as we entered unprecedented times with Covid-19, it was ever more important to ensure the consumer was leading our decision-making around products. We saw needs like stress trend during the year of the pandemic; as we entered the second year of the pandemic, we saw needs like digestion and sexual wellness trend.
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve learned to not make assumptions about the future. In a world of business where you rely on a blend of data and experience-driven instincts to make decisions, it is important to pause and think about what will change by the time the strategy is in play. This helps me think through the uncertainty in the data and look around corners to what will be versus what is today. I’ve found that my professional decisions are made with a more 360-degree view, and this has permeated into my personal decisions as well.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
Make sure you know what you value. Let what you value lead you through life both personally and professionally. Use this as your filter for who you spend time with, what you spend time on, and how you treat others.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Trust yourself. Don’t let anyone convince you not to trust your gut – every time I have, I’ve ended back in the same spot but it took longer. Women have strong intuition – we need to use it more. And no amount of data or someone else’s analysis could have walked in your shoes or has your perspective.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
I am incredibly motivated by the work women are continuing to do, globally. Women are the nucleus of everything – family, work, trust, community. And as such, it is important that we take care of ourselves and support one another. As we continue to be there for one another, ceilings will continue to shatter – but it will take time to create the sustainable change that we all need to see.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Something I am continuing to learn every day is the power of patience –with myself, with the business, and in my personal life. To me, patience is the confidence to know that everything will work out as it should, and that building a business needs equal parts drive, resilience, and calm. Good and sustainable movements take time, and it is so important to breathe through and enjoy the journey.