Woman to Watch: Caitlin Lee: Founder & CEO of Public Lives, Secret Recipes; Founder & Baker, Krispops
Lee is the founder of Chicago-based lifestyle site Public Lives, Secret Recipes (PLSR), a web portal featuring people in the public eye who share their "secret" recipes with readers. Aside from engaging interviews, PLSR also focuses on Lee’s own recipes, DIYs, fashion, and much more. Lee had no idea that the site—originally only a personal outlet for sharing food and style tips—would pick up steam the way it did. But it ultimately became her full-time gig along with making and selling Krispops, her signature crisped rice cake pops available in six flavors: cake batter, cookie dough, s'mores, cookies and cream, mini burger, and the flavor of the month.
What inspires you in work and life and why?
Aside from the supportive people in my life, the number one thing that inspires me the most are quotes. Whether I'm on cloud nine or feeling like things cannot possibly get worse, a good quote always helps me put things in perspective. My family even has our own email chain of our favorite quotes, which I love to look back on for inspiration. Other than my family, I get a lot of inspiration through Pinterest quotes and TED Talks. Inspirational quotes reassure me that other people have been in my position before and gone through similar struggles and self doubts, but their words of wisdom remind me that it’s possible to overcome these obstacles in my life. Being an entrepreneur, my work truly consumes me. Not that I'm complaining at all— since I love everything about what I do—but at times it can be a bit discouraging. The constant comparison of my company to others for instance can take a toll on me. That's where some of my favorite "work" quotes come in. J.K. Rowling once said, "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." This quote inspires me to never give up no matter how hard things may seem.
What's the best advice you've ever received and who gave it to you?
The best advice I've ever received is from my mom. She told me to stop waiting: for something better to come along, for someone to reach out to you, for someone to come around, to hear back from someone. Just stop waiting. This applies to both my personal life and my career. The most important part about this advice is that it’s important to not wait around for someone else to make you happy, or for you to discover what it is about yourself that makes you happiest. In my career, I've taken that advice to heart and have stopped waiting for brands to approach me for partnerships. Instead, I take matters into my own hands and approach them myself. I've stopped waiting for people to place orders, and I've personally gone into stores and companies to tell them about my product and what I have to offer.