Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Follow Your Dreams with Kate Westad

George Grombacher April 28, 2022

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Follow Your Dreams with Kate Westad

LifeBlood: We talked about how to follow your dreams, when being naive is a good thing, how to overcome procrastination and get started, and inspiring others with Kate Westad, Investor and Founder of Palette by Pak and Forbes Next 1000 member.  

Listen to learn why anything is possible and how to act accordingly!

You can learn more about Kate at PaletteByPak.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Kate Westad

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on

Bob Leffler. This is George G. And the time is right. Today’s guest is strong and powerful. Kate Weston. Kate, are you ready to do this? I am so ready. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to have you on Kate is the inventor and founder of pallet BiPAC. She is the inventor of the world’s first beauty reusable, she has been named to Forbes next 1000. So excited to have you on. Kate, tell us a little about your personal life more about your work and why you do what you do? Well, that’s a lot of questions. So I will make my way through it. So I am I would say first and foremost, I think of myself as a mom, I have four kids, and I’m an only parent of four. And so that’s a lot right there. And

Kate Westad 0:58
I am a 17 year veteran litigation attorney, I practice for many, many years as a trial attorney, and really enjoyed doing that I really loved my clients was some of the sweetest most kind people I’ve ever met in my whole life. And I was so grateful that I could be the person to help them. And

I’m not 20 years old, I’m a little later on in my lifetime. I’m in my mid 40s. And as I was, you know, along this journey of working as a lawyer and having a national law practice and litigating cases, I decided that I was going to invent things. So I quit my job as a lawyer to make cool things.

george grombacher 1:44
Amazing. So is it true that if you want something done, give it to a busy person, Kate?

Kate Westad 1:51
Give it to a mom? Maybe even a single mom? Yeah, I mean, I would say, you know, if you are already doing a lot, you can just cut out some TV time. And you know, you can just launch a startup, no problem.

george grombacher 2:06
Sure. So, you, you’ve spent 17 years as a litigator, which I don’t know much about that. I believe that it’s pretty stressful, and it’s probably a lot of long hours. Was it that you were getting a little burned out on that? And or was it I really have this entrepreneurial itch, I really want to make something.

Kate Westad 2:33
So you’re absolutely right that some of the most intense, smart, amazing, capable people are lawyers. And I know so many of them. And it never ceases to amaze me the amount of talent that’s in law firms and in the practice of law. And I think that being an attorney is very fertile ground for becoming an entrepreneur. But at the same time, I actually went through a really challenging life situation where the father, my children passed away. And I had always had these hopes and dreams, ideas, I had product ideas, movie scripts app to app ideas. And it just became where it was sort of like this box of dreams that I sort of had packaged away and taped up and thought, you know, maybe that’s for another life or another time, and I wasn’t sure I was ever going to open it. And so for me, it’s the realization that life is super short. And that we’re here for a very finite period of time on earth, and that I really, really, really wanted to do other things. As much as I loved practicing law.

george grombacher 3:41
Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that. And so sorry to hear about, hear about, about the death of your husband and the father your kids.

Kate Westad 3:53
Yeah, I mean, if anything’s gonna shake you up, you know, just throw some really terrible life, sir. You know, and that was, you know, around seven years ago now, and not that it ever becomes any less painful. It does wake you up, and it can put you on a totally different trajectory in life. And that’s really what I experienced

george grombacher 4:15
a box of dreams. I literally got goosebumps when you were talking and saying that, I think that Well, I bet I bet a lot of us have that box of dreams. And we do the same thing that you were describing. Well, maybe it’s just gonna sit there forever. Maybe Maybe it’s for that the next lifetime. And this, this happens and you make it happen. You you you, you open up the box. Tell me about that. Did you just like shake it out? And like okay, not this one, maybe this one. And here we are you you’ve launched this incredible product, which is doing helping so many women and it’s helping the earth it’s having this huge impact. How did you how did you get from The box of dreams that it is down to this.

Kate Westad 5:03
So I’ll try to keep my little story short, because it’s kind of a long path, as you can imagine, doesn’t just happen overnight, you just like wake up. But there was this really pinnacle moment where I was actually headed to the south of France in Paris with one of my law school BFFs. And she rings me up and she’s, I’m thinking, I’m thinking she’s going to talk about like, the hotels, we booked like, you know, what are we going to, you know, talk more about the plan, and she actually canceled on me. And I was like, oh, hell, no, I’m, I’m still going on this trip. I, I’m going by myself, and you know, with four kids and had, you know, a very busy practicing litigation attorney, I had not had time to do solo traveling. And so it was one of those things where you’re just thrown into a situation and I was like, being spontaneous and adventurous. I’m like, oh, hell, no, I’m still going. And as I was late night packing, and in mind you I had been, you know, kind of keeping lists and notes of these ideas that I’ve been having. It’s not like this was the first time I had thought about other ideas, or inventions, or movie scripts, or books or apps. I mean, it’s not the first time but in this moment, I thought of the high fiber. And I could see it. So clearly, I could see the colors, I could see the design, I could just see like poof, like, you know, like this little bubble over your head. And like, there it was. And so it was just such an amazing moment. And then as I was on my trip on my solo adventure in France, I spent a lot of time with myself, obviously, I’ve been getting really quiet. And spending a lot of time in nature, you know, you know, being outside on the beaches in the ocean, or just being in the city in Paris, and you just have these moments where you’re just getting really quiet. And you really don’t have a lot of opportunity for that if you’re a parent or your busy life, and you’re working. And so it was just this really amazing period of time. And I had three ideas. So it was a book, an app, and it was the high fiber. So the original high fiber just couldn’t, I just couldn’t shake it, like I just became obsessed with it. And that’s the thing that I would say to anyone, it’s like if you if this idea that if you just feel so obsessed with it, like you can’t stop thinking of it. And then it just keeps kind of unraveling. And like you can see the path so clearly, like, it’s almost like you don’t have a choice, but you have to make it it’s a compulsion. And it’s, it’s so then, of course, that idea went out. And I had some money saved, and I wanted to do something else. So it started as a side hustle. You know, while I was working full time, you know, as a lawyer and as a single mom.

george grombacher 7:41
I think that that’s it’s incredible. And do you look back and thank your friend for bailing on you because you have the opportunity to be so introspective and to I mean, it would have been a totally different experience.

Kate Westad 7:55
Yes, I am grateful also, that I had the foresight to think of it in a positive way. And think of it like everything’s meant to be the way it is. And just to flow with it. I’m not always capable of doing that. You know, sometimes I get drugged along, kicking and screaming in life. But that was one of those times where I can look back and think like if I had, you know, just really gotten riled up about it and thought of it in a negative way instead of thinking of it like an adventure and an opportunity. So I’m really grateful that one yes, that she landed, they ended up canceling it was his that apparently, yeah. And you know, I had the, you know, relax nature and that moment to just flow with it. And you know, make the most of it.

george grombacher 8:43
Yeah, that’s incredible. So, with with your law background, what, what parts were easy, what parts were hard, because for people that aren’t familiar it is it is a beauty product that has five containers that you easily put in your five beauty products. And it doesn’t matter what they’re made of. Right, and their travel size. And it’s beautiful. I will direct everybody to the website where they can actually see it. But I imagined some parts were easy, like the legal stuff, but then how to actually make this thing.

Kate Westad 9:23
I mean, one thing I can say is I think it was great that I was naive and annoying. And that I just because I think it’s actually such a gift to a lot of people that makes them fearful and it makes them think I’m not capable of doing this. When actually when you haven’t done something before it’s actually such a refreshing, you know, frame of mind and a refreshing viewpoint because you’re not doing it how it’s always been done. And that’s what makes innovation so amazing. And so I actually think people who have never worked in certain areas are, you know, could be really great naturals and we’re super socialized not to do Things that were not trained for, you know, so I think that kind of, you know, but even so even though like, I think that you have a fresh pair of eyes, when you’re coming into an industry where you have no experience, it is a bit ballsy. And you know, but I have to say I was just so excited. And I could see this vision. So clearly. So that’s where I kind of had the gumption to start, which I think starting is really important. Like instead of thinking or mulling over it starting is super important. But to I think, also, I did kind of start with what I knew, which was law, you know, even though I’m not a patent lawyer, abbacy knew that this was a super important aspect to what it was doing, and especially when you are bootstrapping and self funding, it’s like you have to have, if you can’t, you know, scale the fastest, and you’re gonna have to build a moat around your idea. And so at least I knew enough to do that. And that’s where I started was really, with the innovation itself, and then, you know, meeting with a patent lawyer, and then figuring out the path from there.

george grombacher 11:01
Nice. Was Was that process about how you expected it? Meeting with the?

Kate Westad 11:10
I mean, I’m laughing? No. No, I mean, I think a start up is never what you expect to be in life isn’t what you expect, right? I mean, life isn’t this linear path. And, you know, you’re it’s not even a staircase, I think it’s this. It’s like, it’d be this spiral. I don’t even know what you know, up and down, all around type situation. And so no, nothing I think ever went as I expected, which was both good. And, you know, maybe I perceived at the time was not so good. But you know, in retrospect, what the most important thing was, is that they were all learning experiences.

george grombacher 11:49
For sure. I think that makes a ton of sense and the negativity, if that’s the right word for it, being a benefit, just getting started and recognizing Well, I’ve just got to move ahead with this thing, there’s never going to be a perfect time to do it. And then starting with the patent and putting a moat around the idea, because I imagine there’s probably a lot of people who look at what you made and said, Oh, you know, it’d be cool if I made that too, and sold it.

Kate Westad 12:17
I think it’s really important. In fact, I wrote an article for Martha Stewart talking about or contributed to an article from Martha Stewart talking about patents. And if anyone is curious about this path, I would say Google it and read it, because even though I’m not a patent lawyer, as an inventor, I definitely have my thoughts about it. It is cost prohibitive, it’s super time consuming, and you have to be really patient. But there also a lot of free or low cost resources, you know, grants, things like that. So and, you know, kind of leading into that, I think, for women founders and women inventors, like the numbers are actually a staggering, staggeringly low, like, group patents. So women who are there’s more than one person on the patent that said about 12%, for female, US inventors. And when you get to solo inventors, like me, it drops down to 1%, which is just shocking. You know, so I think, you know, and there’s so many women who are doing incredible things, and that the only thing I can do is correlate that to cost, you know, and being financially backed. And that, you know, you know, really correlates with, you know, funding numbers that we see for startups.

george grombacher 13:29
That’s interesting. So where do you view yourself now, and for lack of a better term us sort of Maslow’s hierarchy hierarchy of needs, where first thing, we just got to pay our bills and stuff like that. But then you get to a point where you’re like, Okay, I can actually help the earth through sustainability. And now I can actually be that Guiding Light or motivator for women to get this number from 1% up considerably higher.

Kate Westad 13:59
I think the biggest message, you know, if you look at that is, you know, one like you will learn along the way like I had no idea that travel size. First of all, we’re not getting when you talk about sustainability, I had no idea that they were not getting recycled, because of their small size. And most people don’t know also that that’s why New York and California have actually banned travel size, like so when I was learning of this, I was insane. And so spreading that message, you know, bringing light to that subject has been really important to me. And then also, if I can do this, I feel like anyone can do it. And so just like, you know, if I listen to other people’s stories all the time, and it’s really motivating to me, and really helpful. And if you think here’s this crazy mom, with four kids, she’s working as a litigation attorney, and she stops watching any kind of television for a couple of years and then launches a startup on the side. You know, they think maybe I can do this, you know, like this is possible for me. And so if I can share that message at all Like, that’s tremendous.

george grombacher 15:03
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. We need to be able to point to people and identify with them to say, Okay, wow. Okay, it’s a person, right? I’m also a person, and I have an idea. And if I work hard, and I cut out things, if I make sacrifices, even if I do have a family and a job, I can still make this happen. It’s still within my reach.

Kate Westad 15:27
Yeah, and when you talk about those boxes of dreams, like thinking about how, like, we’re so socialized to do one thing our whole lives were socialized as a trained in one profession. And yes, as a lawyer, you put in a tremendous amount of effort into your education, and you become very, you know, well trained and experienced, built upon experience. And I had so many people say, Why would you throw that away? Or why would you stop doing that? You’re like, I’m not I’m like, going to the next level? You know, I’m going to this next level of curiosity and experimentation and adventure and beautiful, I think beautiful things come from that.

george grombacher 16:02
Amen. Why would you throw it all away? Do you think that people say that because they care about you? They say that because they have not done something like that. It’s a little bit of everything.

Kate Westad 16:15
I think it’s the socialization that, you know, once you’re something, you’re to be that thing your whole life. And I also think as a woman, that sometimes you get that a little bit more, because it’s like you were trained from a very young age, put everyone else first. And so to be selfish, and chase the stream and put myself first, you know, that I think sometimes gets people’s feathers a little bit. A little bit ruffled, which I’m okay, if I like ruffling feathers. Sure.

george grombacher 16:49
How are we gonna get anything done without some feathers getting ruffled along the way? Okay, we’re not, we’re not going to change the world if everybody’s just happy. And, you know, for goodness sakes, awesome. Okay, the people are ready for that difference making tip, even though we’ve already given them a lot of a lot. What do you have for them?

Kate Westad 17:06
Well, I, I think, like, the biggest thing, I believe this so wholeheartedly is that anything is possible. And that if you just have that mindset in life, and you just keep going, and you you know, and I do this myself still, but then I have to remind myself like anything is possible because I’m Sometimes no one’s putting those hurdles in front of me or closing those doors except for me. So when I can turn my mindset into that, and just keep reminding myself that anything is possible. And finding those motivators and finding those examples in the world. You know, meeting really cool people like yourself and talking about this, and going on, you know, this journey with other people. That is, like my number one piece of advice because I think if you can’t keep yourself motivated, it all stops.

george grombacher 17:58
Well, I think that is great stuff that definitely gets a con. Kate, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? Where can they learn about and buy your amazing product pallet BiPAC

Kate Westad 18:12
so the original high fibers on our website as you said pallet BiPAC and so all social is at palate BiPAC and our website is www dot palat BiPAC pa k.com

george grombacher 18:26
Excellent. Well if you enjoyed this as much as I did, showcase your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to palette bipac.com All right, keep that is key A LETTBYPAK And like I said that there are three or four different options for the original high fiber and all price that I think it’s very affordable so definitely check it out if you are somebody who who wishes that there was an easier way or a better way to to travel with with skincare makeup and and all of that because it’s really cool. And even if you’ve never felt that way, check it out too. Because it’s it’s it’s an amazing product. So thanks. Good, Kate.

Kate Westad 19:15
Thank you so much. And until

george grombacher 19:17
next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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