We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda Appel Lipsius and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
Don’t tell anyone about your idea… Be very protective.
My Dad was actually the one who got me to think about this bit of conventional wisdom differently. While there are undoubtedly situations where confidentiality is critical, the time when you are noodling on a business idea, is not one of them. He told me not to be paranoid. So few people will have the interest or wherewithal to start something – or your thing – that fearing someone will steal your idea is silly. And, if they do steal it, know that karma will get them in the end. 😉
The upside of talking to EVERYONE about your idea is that people help you and connect the dots you don’t even see and speaking your ideas out loud itself is a valuable exercise. I have countless examples of good things that came my way because I told everyone what I was up to.
When I was working on the positioning for Teatulia, I met with Barry Cooper of Cooper Tea in Broomfield. A tea legacy, he was gracious with his time and his wisdom. I was going to be selling tea from an unknown tea growing region and a country that was only known for its poverty and bad news. However, he advised me to paint the narrative of the tea garden in the most elevated language possible, leapfrogging over the assumptions people would have about our teas and forcing them to see us the way we wanted them to. It worked.
The other great example is how I met one of my business partners at the mama ‘hood, Amanda Ogden. I was at an industry event for Teatulia and literally on the way out the door I started talking to some random person about this idea I had to create a space for new and expecting moms that replicated my own experience in Los Angeles, combining yoga, breastfeeding support, classes and awesome retail. This person I’d never met before introduces me to one of her colleagues who is interested in the same things, we meet, and maybe 2 years later (in 2012), we opened the mama ‘hood together. Been partners ever since!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started and ran Teatulia Organic Teas for 14 years. Still Co-Founder & board member, I stepped down as CEO in July 2020 to pursue new adventures. So incredibly happy with this brand. Playing in a commodity category we created a truly inspiring brand founded on sustainably principles. Truly making a difference in the lives of the women growing the tea, the consumers enjoying it and the planet from which it all hails.
the mama ‘hood was started in 2012 to provide resources to new & expecting Moms & their families and help instill joy in the parenting process. How we have and raised babies has gotten so messed up and we are so dissociated from our community and family that the mama ‘hood provides that safe space where you trust your Instincts, find community and embrace the wonder that is parenthood. Makes me smile just writing about it.
And now, since October 2020, I have the honor to be Executive Director at Denver Urban Gardens. New to the nonprofit space, I am learning tons but this 36 year old organization is tremendous, impacting 40,000 people across 6 counties in metro Denver with 188 community gardens (the largest community garden organization in the country), food access programs and adult and youth education on gardening, composting, etc. To be working on a micro-local level in my own home town at this stage of my careers is extraordinarily satisfying.
I’m the luckiest kid around…
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live downtown. I love all of it. Union Station, the Museum of Contemporary Art, walk along the creek and Platte trails, REI, a tour of the DUG Gardens (of course), Marczyk’s for snacks & wine, indulgent breakfast of mind-blowing pastries and coffee at Little Owl, no lunch to be sure I deserve dinner, then the best dinner at Tavernetta. Oh, and I start my day either with a trail run on Green Mountain or a bike ride to Chatfield or Cherry Creek Reservoir.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
SO many people.
My family. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and had the good fortune to work with all of them. And I learned amazing life and business lessons from each of them – my Mom, Dad, brothers & sister. And I guess I now involve my husband and kids in what I do, so they are part of it. And the opportunity to set a good example and work alongside my own kids is one of the greatest honors of doing what I do.
My business partners – I am incredibly lucky to have exemplary business partners at Teatulia and the mama ‘hood. I know this is hard to find – people you like, respect, trust and can learn from.
My colleagues along the years – Almost everyone I’ve worked with has taught me something. Everyone has something to share.
My coaches – I’ve had a few coaches over the years, either through Vistage, CEO groups or 1:1 coaching. Universally transformative. Those people who make careers out of helping others be successful are gifts to the world.
Customers/clients/community – To build a business or step into a business that is embraced and supported by the community is one of the most magical things of all. The thought that others think what you have to offer is good enough for them to champion is beyond.
Grateful to all.