Our Chat with KJ Blattenbauer of Pretty Peptalks

EMPOWERING ENTREPRENEURS: Our Chat with KJ Blattenbauer of Pretty Peptalks

Finding friends in the world of entrepreneurship is important - in fact, I'd argue it's probably the single greatest asset you have. It makes no difference whether your business besties are in-person friends or online friends, the support, camaraderie, and encouragement will keep you invested and excited about entrepreneurship.

When one of those online friends also becomes an in-person friend, you know you've hit the jackpot. KJ Blattenbauer is one of those gals for me. We met almost a decade ago through Instagram and over the years, we've shared the highs, the lows, the struggles, the big celebrations, and most importantly, the perseverance and determination needed to keep a business going.

I am so honored to shine a light on KJ's small business and her entrepreneurship journey in our first feature of the Empowering Entrepreneurs series. KJ is a true southern gal - kind and generous to her core - always willing to help a friend, share a resource, or just say, "hey friend, I know how you feel" on the days when entrepreneurship seems extra hard.

Say hello to my friend and fellow entrepreneur, KJ Blattenbauer!

Give us the scoop on your business - what do you do and how did you come up with the idea for your business?

I’m a stationer and the founder of Pretty Peptalks, a line of beautifully simple stationery perfect for life’s pep talks.

After nearly 27 years as a publicist, I needed a new creative outlet during the pandemic. I want to make it easier to tell those you love that you love them, to give that tough love pep talk when it’s warranted, and to reach out when it’s been way too long.

As someone who has always been passionate about paper and a stationery snob, it seemed like creating elevated note cards that evoke emotion was the perfect way to tie everything I love together. In a nice, pretty package, tied with a bow.

Minimal in design, the note cards from Pretty Peptalks are a perfect addition when building a supportive community because they pair your personality with the space to add a meaningful message.

And, even if it’s grammatically incorrect to smoosh pep and talk together in the Pretty Peptalks name, it suits the brand perfectly—I’m so excited to share our products with you, I’m in a rush and can’t be bothered to add that extra space between words in the name.

What has surprised you most about running your own business?

How unbelievably freaking hard it is. I'm joking. Sort of. Running your own business - especially a product-based business - is not for the faint of heart!

But what I really love, and what's surprised me most about running my own product-based business after a decade of running my own public relations agency, is how amazing it feels to literally produce something you can touch and share with others.

Even after the hundreds of thousands of cards we've produced, I still get that little tingle when I see a card come off the press and I think, "I made that!"

When I started dreaming up Pretty Peptalks, I wanted to provide a flash of delight in each recipient’s day. It was my dream to one day offer a physical way to recreate how spectacular it feels to receive a pep talk—like the kind you once received from a random drunk girl in a bathroom at a club.

You know, the unexpected kind that leaves a smile on your face for the rest of the night.

Pep talks can come in all shapes and sizes and that’s what I love about them. They can be sweet, but not too sweet. Bold, but not too bold. Or tough, but not too tough. No matter how they’re delivered, however, pep talks are a labor of love.

Pep talks make everyone feel good. And that’s how I hope my business will make everyone feel. In this digital age, it takes effort to send a physical card to someone. It makes them feel loved and special. And it feels good to send the cards, too!

What has been one of your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

One of the hardest things for me to grasp as an entrepreneur is that you have to keep showing up. No matter how you feel. You have to do the hard work sad, do it heartbroken, do it while grieving, do while you feel defeated or lost, and do it while tired.

Life doesn't care; it waits for nobody. You just have to keep going. The only person your business has is you. It can feel debilitatingly lonely one minute and incredibly inspirational, like the highest of highs the next. But you just have to keep going.

What is your best advice for someone who dreams of starting their own business?

My best advice for someone who dreams of starting their own business is to sleep on that dream. For at least three months. Not ignore it and put it off. But to eat, sleep, and breathe everything about that dream. In a non-emotion, pragmatic way.

Look, the absolute truth of owning your own business is that the reality of running said business looks a lot different than what is portrayed on social media.

If you’re serious about starting your own business, get real – like really quick - on having a strategic plan. Make a pros and cons list. But be realistic with what’s a pro and what’s a con. Then, as corny as it may sound, have a real conversation with yourself about what your why is. Why do you want to have a business? Why do you want to be your own boss? Why do you want to do this or make that?

When things are great, but especially when things are hard, focusing on your why is what keeps most entrepreneurs going. And I’d argue what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the rest.

Your why is going to be the reason you work so hard and sacrifice so much for your business. Your why is the reason you’re not going to feel bad when you miss out on family events or good times with friends. Your why is the reason you won’t get FOMO when you’re up stressing about numbers at 3 a.m. or not on that amazing girls’ trip to Barbados.

Your why will keep you going. You why is your purpose. It shows you believe in what you’re doing. It’s a commitment to yourself that you want to succeed. Your why will fuel you and keep you motivated.

Don’t start a business without a plan and knowing your why.

How do you tackle those days when being an entrepreneur feels extra hard and you just want to quit?

Outside of knowing my why and using that as fuel to keep me motivated, a wise person once told me that "every problem that ever needed to be solved has been done so by walking away and eating a cookie." Sometimes, you just have to walk away or take a step back. I go for a run or play with my dogs. I read a book or find inspiration elsewhere. I ask a fellow entrepreneur I admire for help. Or, if it gets real bad, I sit in my car and have a good cry. I highly recommend a good cry while parked in your car. It's a game changer!

KJ's 5 Quick favorites for fellow entrepreneurs

Fave Empowering Gal to Follow on Social

Jessica Reed Kraus (@houseinhabit)

Fave App, Program, or Tool


Fave Free Resource or Learning Tool


Fave Business Book

Unreasonable Hospitality or anything by Warren Buffett






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