Katy Coffield is the Co-Founder and CEO of Foodie Tribe, an influencer marketing and creative agency that works exclusively with food + beverage brands. In the years leading up to the founding of Foodie Tribe, Katy built her career in public relations, advertising, and marketing software, working closely with Fortune 100 marketing teams first as an account manager and later as a customer success manager.
Alongside her career, Katy created a food blog in 2009 called RandoMiami, featuring local restaurants and the best places to eat in Miami. It later became the catalyst that sparked the idea to create a network of food influencers in 2016 – Foodie Tribe!
Outside of the office, Katy is an avid runner, mom of two, and (of course) a foodie!
Where did the idea for Foodie Tribe come from?
I started writing a food blog in 2009 for a class at University of Miami. My passion for food and writing quickly turned into the opportunity to be invited to local restaurants to review their food and environment. In 2016 I decided to create Foodie Tribe, a community of local foodies who wanted to promote their city through its food and culture. Very soon after opening our application process we began receiving applicants from all over the U.S., and even from around the world who wanted to be a part of our community.
From one day to the next Foodie Tribe transitioned from a local community organization to a global influencer talent agency – where we were pairing influencers to projects with brands within the food & beverage industry.
Now, six years later we’ve grown to more than 3,000 approved vetted content creators around the world who are working with brands including Sub Zero, McDonald’s, Caviar (a DoorDash company), Litehouse Foods, Del Monte Fresh Produce, HP, American Airlines and more.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts with me dropping off my kiddos at school. I have a 3 and a 5 year old. From there I make my way to our shared coworking space where we have a couple of offices for myself and Ali, my co-founder, as well as the Foodie Tribe team members that live in Miami. Once I pass by their office to say good morning I get started on reviewing and answering emails, checking in on progress of our influencer campaigns, and then following up with new and prospective clients. The way I help myself stay on track and productive is by using tools like Asana, our project management tool, which helps me stay up-to-date with random tasks as well as our influencer campaign timelines.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Most of the time ideas are born in random impromptu meetings between myself and Ali. We call each other about 50 times a day, no exaggeration. And, most of the time we chat about projects but also brainstorm on how we can continue making Foodie Tribe bigger, better and more efficient in our process.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Honestly, what is exciting is seeing how many brands are really investing a majority of their marketing dollars in to influencer marketing. We have been in this business for over 6 years, and a lot of what we have had to do over the years is really educate our clients and brands on why influencer marketing is an important part of any advertising campaign.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am a serial ninja email response type of person. I do not leave an email unanswered for very long. It helps me stay on track. I also make sure to star emails once I have responded if they still merit a longer, more in depth response. I have been told by many people, especially prospects and clients, that I answer emails extremely quickly.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to take the leap. When I decided to take Foodie Tribe full-time over 4 years ago I would’ve never guessed that I would have a team of 8 people working alongside me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Having dessert first has to be the new normal.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Stay consistent with your prospects. Besides leading my team as their CEO I am also the lead sales person at Foodie Tribe. I would say do not get discouraged. At Foodie Tribe we only partner with brands that reach out to us, so if they filled out our brand form and are interested in partnering with us, I will follow up 2-3 times before I close that lead.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I don’t know if I would call it a strategy, but to always stay focused on the goal and enjoy the journey getting there! Everyday I wake up excited to work at Foodie Tribe and lead our team. This is the type of environment you should create for yourself and your employees!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t say it was a failure, but more of a learning. I studied public relations, and not too much on business. There were certain things I had to learn the hard way and take action pretty quickly in order to keep my company safe. For example, finding a lawyer to help put together solid agreements for our clients as well as our influencers.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A social focused coffee shop where the coffee and treats are made to be promoted on social media via video content.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I love purchasing new workout gear to wear! I am an avid runner and HIIT class participant.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use several software solutions at Foodie Tribe, but I would have to say the one that really helps our entire business stay on track is Asana, our project management software.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A book that I really enjoyed was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It’s a good guide to figuring out what you want in life and at work, and how to achieve it.
What is your favorite quote?
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford
- Stay focused and determined when it comes to your goal. And, do not get distracted by the journey, but rather stay true to your path.
- Always stay consistent. Whether it’s with your clients, prospects or employees, stay consistent in your messaging.
- Influencer marketing is here to stay, and brands are investing bigger and bigger budgets every year.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.