Our co-founder Angie recently shared some words of wisdom in Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center’s Faces of Entrepreneurship series. Read on to learn more about Angie and her entrepreneurial journey creating Rae.
Angie Tebbe, having a fruitful 13-year career at Target under her belt, a lifelong commitment to wellbeing, and an endless thirst for knowledge, co-founded Rae Wellness as an inclusive women’s wellness brand and growing community. Since launching the company in 2019, Angie has introduced 20 individual products and orchestrated distribution in every Target location. Speaking as a woman directly to women, she emphasizes the consumer’s needs, first and foremost. Rae Wellness products are vegan, non-GMO, and free from gluten, added sugar, artificial preservatives, harmful fillers and colorants. The products range from capsules, powders and drops for beauty, energy, sleep, sexual health and more.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
AT: Being 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.
How did your company come to be?
AT: Two years ago, I had a wonderful corporate career, two beautiful toddlers at home, and a very full life. However, my wellbeing was continuing to decrease on the priority list. I had an opportunity to think about what wellness meant to me personally and professionally, and how I could bring that together as my next chapter. You see, I grew up in a very holistic household – my mom was a nurse, and my father was into reiki, homeopathy, and meditation. So, to honor what I knew so well, I left my corporate life in pursuit of my own wellbeing. As I sought to take better care of myself through supplements, and I found one of two things. First, for the quality women deserve, there was nothing in the market for the price I was willing to pay – it was all expensive. Secondly, those supplements that did exist at the price point I was willing to pay, were either not made for women or were chock full of sugar usually in a gummy format. So, I had this idea to create holistic and accessible products that did not exist.
How has your business changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
AT: When we started Rae, we put our consumer at the forefront of every decision. It was our mission to understand what she is thinking about, what she needs and wants, and where and how she lives. Ultimately, that guided our brand strategy, our product development, and the essence of who we are. As we entered unprecedented times with the pandemic, it was ever more important to ensure the consumer was leading our content and decision-making. Understanding her sentiment and psyche that day or week allowed us to make decisions and show up for her through channels with the right content and offering.
What is your proudest and darkest moment so far? Share a key high and a key low from your journey if you can.
AT: 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 going to happen.
My best moments continue to evolve and build because I am constantly amazed at how the team delivers upon the next set of challenges on our roadmap. Pick one? The day we launched the brand at Target.
How is your company changing the landscape?
AT: Rae helps women shine from the inside out. And to do so, we fundamentally believe in accessibility. Wellbeing has historically been a category that caters to the 1%, and at Rae, we 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 product without the high price tag.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
AT: 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.
What advice/credo do you live by as you grow the business / what is your professional and personal mission statement?
AT: To be successful, you have to love the process and be motivated by the challenges and the building blocks. Starting a company requires building a team, mobilizing investors, and working through immense uncertainty. You will not always know the answers or get the results you anticipated, so you must enjoy the process and learning experience. Personally, I am a student of the world and will continue to push myself to a place where I am in tune and in line with my highest self. Professionally, my mission is to create brands and experiences that help women become their best selves.
Where do you find inspiration when faced with challenges?
AT: I believe if I’m not learning, I’m not growing. If I’m not growing, I’m not happy. And I believe that every challenge presents an opportunity to learn and grow – whether you see it in that moment or if it becomes apparent much later. Challenges are my motivating force and driver to seek out the right inspiration to solve.
What does “success” look like for you? What do you think will help you achieve it?
AT: Success is building a sustainable business that helps support women’s wellbeing now and in the future. Success is adapting to the changing needs of our consumer, and really being there for our community in the ways they need us the most. The biggest enabler is hiring a growth-minded team that is relentless in putting our consumer first.
Has personal or professional “success” changed for you since the COVID-19 pandemic?
AT: COVID-19 has impacted us all so profoundly, and it has put proactive wellness at the forefront of many women’s lives. It has given Rae an increased responsibility to show up for our community in ways that are holistic, connected, and in pursuit of greater good.
What’s it like to work alone or with your partners? What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs about building and leading teams?
AT: Each of us at Rae is very different but driven by a common purpose—to fuel women to shine from the inside out. As a brand, it is so important to stay fresh and push our own edges—and that requires working differently, both alone and collectively. We have built a team that vibrates at a different level and is customer-obsessed; that is something you immediately identify, hire for, and nurture. That is what makes our brand work.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day? How has it changed in recent months?
AT: I always used to find mornings stressed and rushed, until I realized how important it was to create rituals that work for you. Since becoming a CEO, I have made intentional choices about mindset and routine to make sure I show up for my family, team, and partners. I wake up at 5:45 AM to ensure I have a few moments to myself before my household begins to rise. I find that I am my best when I can first ground myself in gratitude, especially right now given everything going on in the world.
What keeps you motivated during this time?
AT: I am continually inspired by our consumer. Women are paying more attention to their mind + body together and slowing down to take time to take care of themselves. It’s more important now than ever to be in charge of your own wellness, and I’m so motivated by how the Rae team is relentlessly committed to helping women through this time.
What kind of an entrepreneur do you want to be known as, as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
AT: I want to be known as an authentic, courageous, and mission-driven human that has helped women feel their best from the inside out. Through our deep partnership with Girls, Inc, we are helping to fuel the next generation of women by providing 5% of our revenue to help all girls become strong, smart, and bold.