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Exploring Life & Business with Katie Kurpanek of That Minimal Life

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

Hi Katie, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Education is at the heart of anything I’ve ever done. I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, and by the time I was old enough to get a job, I only ever wanted to work in childcare and school settings. Wrapping up my college degree, I interned and then taught 1st graders at a school in downtown Denver for 5 years. This position was completely life-changing, not only because of my growing experience as an educator, but because it introduced me to a passion for the Earth that I had yet to realize so deep within me. 

As a 1st grade teacher, I taught my students about ecosystems and plant life cycles, but our studies were in-depth throughout the entire school year. This school embraced the Expeditionary Learning model, which meant we had as much hands-on learning as possible, lots of trips and adventures outdoors, and incorporated as much as we could within the classroom, like developing a school-wide composting system! We also believed in our little ones as powerful activists and got involved within our community as much as possible. 

After 5 years of working with my whole heart, mind, and physical efforts alongside these inspiring students and peers, my own passion for the Earth and sustainability had really taken off. I made the decision to become plant-based/vegan based on its environmental impact, began composting in my own home (and LOVE it!), actively began reducing my personal waste and plastic usage, and also craved more information about living as sustainably as possible. As I looked for more resources within my area, I discovered many inspiring small businesses I had never heard of and also realized there was a huge lack of guidance regarding how to utilize them. 

This led me to start a series of posts on my personal social media all about “minimizing waste.” The response in my community was resounding with lots of interest and more questions. 

At the same time, I was feeling the tug to leave my classroom, not knowing exactly what was next. Initially, I thought I would take another job at a different school, but a gut feeling led me elsewhere. I took some time to think and learn while working at a local zero-waste shop. The amount of people coming into this shop every day, hungry for more information on how to live sustainably, inspired me. 

So, That Minimal Life, LLC was born! 

I launched my business on January 1st of 2020, calling myself a Zero Waste Educator, and only had a blog to start. Shortly after, I left my job at the shop and committed to pursuing this business full-time, with the intent of hosting workshops and personal coaching sessions… just in time for COVID-19 to hit and turn the world upside-down! 

All of 2020 was spent readjusting my plans to provide virtual coaching options, getting my feet back on the ground, and I also found out I was pregnant with our “rainbow baby” and gave birth to him in November. 

Here we are, already flying through most of 2021, and I’m finally feeling grounded in a business I feel proud of and motivated to continue. 

Education is the most powerful tool we can give ourselves. No matter where you are in life, the more you know, the more powerful you become. This climate crisis often feels daunting and overwhelming, and there’s no way we can solve it by ourselves… But when the masses of individuals come together and do the best they can with what they have, this is what has always created waves of change throughout our history!  

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about That Minimal Life, LLC?

This year, I have changed my title to Eco-Living Coach (because “zero waste” is not the end goal or even a realistic goal for most people), and I offer 1:1 coaching sessions, group workshops, and a 4-week coaching package. The topics cover a wide range within living sustainably: composting, reducing plastics, conscious consumerism, meal-planning, and grocery shopping ethically, reducing waste with kids and/or pets, trash audits and goal-setting, setting up a low-waste baby registry, reducing food waste (keeping food fresh longer), an entire zero/low-waste home series, minimalism, and MORE! I’m also constantly partnering with other local businesses to bring you exciting workshops and events, both virtual and in-person! 

If you or someone you know is in need of some coaching, encouragement, or just basic resources to begin/further your journey toward living sustainably for the benefit of our planet and for social justice — I’m your person!! My coaching sessions are completely tailored to fit your lifestyle, your needs, your budget, and to provide you with plenty of resources for continuing your steps without me. I have also partnered up with over a dozen sustainable businesses within Colorado and online to offer you exclusive discount codes if you are a client of mine, and am consistently adding new businesses to explore! This way, you can support small businesses, shop in a way that aligns with your personal ethics, and save money in the process! 

Your impact doesn’t end within your home, either – I donate 10% of every coaching session to organizations working toward social and environmental justice. If you’d like, you can even help choose which one to support. 

If you are curious about a topic within sustainable living that you do not see here, please feel free to reach out to me! I’m always open to curating new coaching sessions and tailoring existing ones to fit your needs/lifestyle. 

Pricing:

  • 1:1 coaching sessions – $60/hr (sliding scale available)
  • 4-week coaching package – $360 (sliding scale available)

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Plugging into groups of like-minded individuals has been so helpful, especially online communities throughout the ups and downs of Covid. I have found Women in Sustainability (an online community and Facebook group) to be a wonderful resource for living sustainably, business questions, and just great friends in general. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Erin Lassahn Photography
Elizabeth Mae Photography

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