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Meet Katie Leonard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Leonard.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Katie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started to dip my toes into the ‘health-and-wellness’ ecosystem after college when I realized yo-yo dieting was not working for me. I simply didn’t know what “exercise” was or what a “balanced plate” looked like! I would “eat healthy” on weekdays, and have “cheat days” EVERY weekend…then feel awful and regretful every Monday.

I then decided to make a pivot in my life: I wanted to feel invincible ALL days of the week and not start my weeks so negatively by hanging onto feelings of self-punishment! So, I started finding workouts that were fun, high-intensity, and easy-to-follow (shoutout to Kayla Itsiness & the SWEAT® program!) and choosing clean/balanced meals. For example one protein (i.e., chicken or salmon), one-two carbs (i.e., sweet potato and broccoli), and one fat (i.e., avocado or egg). I now eat intuitively, find healthier kitchen swaps, and do workouts that get me EXCITED to sweat!! I’ve learned to study my body and listen to what it actually needs in that moment (i.e., if I am bored, I’ll turn to an intriguing podcast, go on a walk, do a craft….OR perhaps dig into that bag of popcorn that I’ve been eyeing because I feel like it!) ☺️

I knew it was the right path for me when people started organically asking what I eat in a day, how I get motivated to squeeze in a sweat-session everyday and experiment with healthy meals all the time. I started to realize two important things: (1) so many people – just like myself – struggle with weight/motivation/finding fitness & food plans that work for them! And (2) that I had such a genuine and intrinsic passion for this realm and helping others find what works for them. Essentially, I listened to both my own voice/passion, as well as the voices of those in my own network struggling to find consistency, and flipped it into what I’m calling, KTLEO!

Has it been a smooth road?
Being my own boss – while it is an absolute blast – also has its massive learning curves! There are two huge obstacles I’ve faced in my career, all of which I believe are elements of the gig that I’ll continue to work through: (1) wrapping my head around shipping logistics and (2) time management.

SHIPPING LOGISTICS
My current business model embraces ‘hand delivery’ element that I love so I can ensure on-brand presentation straight from the oven to a clients’ hands, as well as the personalized element of a *socially distanced* face-to-face (mask-to-mask??) interaction. That said, the only feasible locations for my hand-deliveries are the general Los Angeles area (which KTLEO is based), Orange County, San Diego, and (on occasion) Arizona. Many individuals have reached out about having me ship to them directly – to places such as Utah, New York, Florida, Washington, etc. However, due to the fact that the ingredients used in all of my baked goodies are so fresh (fruits, Greek yogurt, egg whites, etc.), the shelf-life of each unit is shorter than store-bought treats that contain preservatives, cane sugars, and ‘dough conditioners’ to make them last longer. My ultimate goal for 2020 is to be able to ship orders to lands as far away as Maine for a decent shipping-cost, have them taste fresh-out-the-oven, and – most importantly – make clients happy by spreading the word about healthy eating. 👏😊

TIME MANAGEMENT
Before launching KTLEO, I was a producer & project manager in the rapidly-fast-paced world of advertising! While traditional corporate jobs such as these definitely require incredible time management skills, you still are always reporting to a manager in some hierarchical structure that provides you with what deadlines to hit, which projects to prioritize, etc. When you are self-employed, it is 110% up to you on how to allocate your time; for example, I have learned to use Mondays to take care of any marketing efforts (Marketing Mondays 😂) where I queue up content, respond to requests, etc.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays I reserve for not only baking orders and delivering them but also experimenting with new ingredients and recipes (i.e., these are 100% my favorite days of the week 🍪 ); Thursdays I reserve for business development efforts by reaching out to local cafes, influencers, brands, etc. to pitch or respond to various partnership opportunities; Fridays and Saturdays I *ideally* reserve for any miscellaneous orders that come in mid-week, inventory assessment, etc.

All of this said…as many things in life go, this is much easier said-than-done, and I know I still have lots of work to do! The beautiful aspect about working for myself though is that I have a flexible schedule and can follow my own instinct on what I need to shift around in my agenda and how to strategically pivot and reprioritize.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am on a mission to make eating & being healthy creative, fun, and unique! I strongly feel that food is truly a staple piece of any social endeavor, and I have an inescapable passion for it in every aspect – whether that be a cheese board at a wine-tasting party, a late-night homemade brownie dessert with your bestie, or a large family gathering. Over the past two years, I’ve become obsessed with being active, living healthy, and whipping up nutritious treats. I truly believe dessert is an essential part of any meal and wanted to find a way to continue to integrate it into my everyday life – WHILE still staying fit, fueling my body with all healthy fats/carbs/nutrients, and ensuring I’m still getting the necessary protein & fiber! I use the “KTLEO” brand as a platform to provide people with healthy baking recipes, hand-delivered baked goods, special-event catering, and fitness tips & tricks.

I not only want to serve those active gym-goers interested in staying fit-and-healthy but also intend to target those dessert-lovers who are restricted by food allergies, including but not limited to celiac, paleo, nut-averse, veganism, etc. Another psychographic of individuals I hope to affect are those struggling to keep up with “fad” diets – and want to instead remain consistent in their healthy eating habits.

What I’m most proud of is ONE HUNDRED MILLION TRILLION PERCENT the reaction and satisfaction that my clients get from consuming desserts and treats that are simultaneously TASTY and HEALTHY! There is nothing more rewarding than making a client elated by the fact that they can consume dessert and still eat clean. My second favorite part would definitely be experimenting in the kitchen: learning what textures mix well, exploring what flavors click, and discovering what delectable treats can be invented from simple & staple ingredients (like applesauce or Greek yogurt).

What sets me apart is the void that I truly feel I’m filling when someone wants a low calorie, low sugar, high protein, CLEAN dessert. Something I’ve noticed is: when people hear something is “vegan” or “keto” or “paleo,” there is often a false interpretation that those descriptors mean it’s “healthy”…which is not necessarily the truth! While eating a diet mainly based on plants is great for your health, animals, and the planet – it does not necessarily equate to “healthier”. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, Swedish Fish, and even Oreos are considered “vegan-friendly” treats…but still have a ton of sugar, processed additives, and nutrient-lacking ingredients. I believe there is currently a void in the healthy & allergy friendly baked-goods market… and KTLEO is here to fill that void! Using the cleanest ingredients (like apple sauce, yogurt, nuts, dates, etc.), KTLEO is here to provide allergy-friendly, low calorie, nutrient-dense, and delectable treats to ensure you can simultaneously EAT DESSERT and MAINTAIN A FIT LIFESTYLE! I want to encourage people to trust that you should not have to compromise incredibly jaw-dropping tastes for nutrition and health. “Low calorie,” “low sugar,” “high protein,” or “high fiber” ≠ gross. In 7 words, I hope people remember: Eating dessert is healthy, creative, and delicious!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The things I love about Los Angeles:
– There’s always something going on – whether it’s comedy shows, live music, kick-ass restaurants… you can truly find something for everyone.
– Different “pockets” of LA, and the variety of people / “vibes”.

The things I dislike about Los Angeles:
– Driving anywhere.
– During COVID, many of the reasons to live in L.A. have been eliminated…which definitely blows.

Pricing:

  • Baked Goods (i.e.: cakes, loaves, muffins, cookies, no-bake): Range from $18 – $38
  • Meal Guide: $24.99
  • Charcuterie Boards: range from $55-$125

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Katie Leonard (@ktleo)

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