W(o)W - Kaitlynn Fenley
Growing up, we’re taught to avoid “germs” at all costs, right? In school, we learn about the bacteria that cause illnesses and we automatically write off all mircobes “bad.” Thankfully, today’s Woman of the Week is shattering the taboo surrounding bacteria through the science of food fermentation and promoting good bacteria consumption!
Kaitlynn Fenley is an LSU Microbiology graduate with a passion for the unseen world of microbes. This Power Pump Girl is a business owner that wears multiple hats as a microbiologist, fermented food artisian, and lifestyle blogger. And did we mention, her company, Cultured Guru is the FIRST fermented food company in Louisiana?! Talk about major bragging rights!!! Except, in getting to know her, you’ll find Kaitlynn to be completely relatable and (literally) down-to-earth!
As mentioned, Kaitlynn (along with her life partner, Scotty), is the co-founder of the fermented foods company, Cultured Guru. Cultured Guru is a sustainable fermented foods business that’s backed by science. Whether you knew it or not, fermented foods are pertinent to our overall health and wellness. Why? Because they are the best source of natural probiotics and prebiotics!
Cultured Guru started organically (haha, get it?) as Kaitlynn’s passion project, which was only a lifestyle blog to start. Kaitlynn was the microbiologist responsible for unveiling the invigorating world of microbes while Scotty was behind the lens, capturing all the vibrant blog photos. The blog was dedicated to showing the world that microorganisms are vital to every aspect of life, especially to human health and happiness. In spending so much time bringing appreciation to the microbial world, the pair started eating a TON of fermented foods, and before they knew it, Cultured Guru was born!
Using the skills she learned in a vegetable fermenting class at LSU, Kaitlynn funneled her passion into creating actual products. And while Kaitlynn is the head scientist behind Cultured Guru, she credits much of her company’s success to her tribe. In fact, being able to work with her family is what she considers most enjoyable about her job… “I enjoy spending time with my family. None of this would be possible without the help we’ve been given from family. They’re always around helping out with anything and everything, so I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with them.”
To date, Kaitlynn’s proudest accomplishment has been accomplishment itself: “I actually did what I said I would do, and started a business doing what I love. When you tell people you’re going to ferment sauerkraut for a living, a lot of them scoff. But hey, I am DOING it!” Yes you are – you go girl! The best part is, she encourages aspiring female entrepreneurs in the same way – just do it! Even when they scare or disappoint you, Kaitlynn believes it’s worth going for your dreams if there’s passion behind them.
And speaking of passion, the lady boss of Cultured Guru believes that it’s the exact ingredient that drives your purpose. “Certain activities, interests and careers provide people with purpose, and purpose is why we persevere and love to do certain things even when they scare us.” If anyone were to spend time with Kaitylnn, it would quickly become evident that she is working from her place of purpose. In her own words, “I feel like my purpose is to educate others about embracing microbial life, and to provide the healthiest, most sustainable way to nourish your microbiome.”
So far, Kaitlynn has faced and defeated some serious challenges, including that first giant leap of starting her own business. Since she IS a Power Pump Girl, we asked her about to share her fave pair with us and … well… “I don’t exactly wear pumps I wear Birkinstocks or tennis shoes pretty much always. I spend a lot of time venturing out of my mental comfort zone. Mostly everything I’ve done to start and manage Cultured Guru has been 100% out of my comfort zone. I just want to be as physically comfortable as possible while I face my anxieties and boundaries head on.” She may not be wearing heels, but she’s high-stepping into some major success, so hey, we’ll take it!