We had the good fortune of connecting with Kat McIver and Angie Evans and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kat, Angie, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor in my success and the success of my cafe, Wide Eyes Open Palms, is partnership and intuition.
My wife, Angie Evans, and I feel so blessed to be two dykes in love for over 11 years and to have owned businesses together for over 8 years. We are spouses, 50/50 owners of WeOp, co-workers and cohabitants. So many aspects of our lives are shared with each other and, honestly, it’s wonderful. At the end of the day, our partnership gives us more strength and power. We can have a greater sense of what our wife has gone through, their struggles, fears and triumphs, because we work so closely. I often laugh or let out a big sigh of relief when Angie does a task that I personally couldn’t do or would hate to do. Owning a business is tough work and I couldn’t imagine doing it without a partner who I can bounce ideas off of, who will push back or give an alternative view when needed, and who can share in the joys and burdens of entrepreneurship. For me, success is cherishing and leaning on our partnership, in life and business, to create the most joy in this world for ourselves and our amazing staff and guests.
Secondly, as a business owner, I’m required to make decisions about the direction of the business every single day. Some are small decisions, like is it time to order more dish soap? Others are big decisions, like should I sign that lease or are we closing for a quarantine? Owning a business is a never ending process of seeking and giving guidance. There are many decisions that I’ve spent weeks agonizing over and some that I’d put off for weeks, knowing they were right. But how do you know when you know? How do you know what is the “right” choice, for you and for your business (sometimes they might not be the same thing). The one thing I have always relied upon as my guide is intuition. To me, it simply means giving your mind and spirit a chance to be quiet, clear out all the noise and anxiety, and really listen to your deepest inner knowing. It can mean calling upon ancestors or spirit guides for wisdom or using the power of crystals and sacred herbs to help create clarity. I often notice it as a feeling located in the body, through synchronicities and signs from the natural world. When I’m facing a really big or scary decision, I will often talk the issue to death and still not feel clear on a direction. There are sometimes when logic and intellectual interrogation just doesn’t bring about the kind of decision that feels right. There are some places that can only be reached by intuition. There is no single formula for success for any entrepreneur, each individual has their own path to follow and definition of what success will look like for them. The way that I find that is through tuning in to my intuition.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
WeOp is unique as a business because we are a dedicated, political, community space. One of the first things we did when we opened the cafe was put a sign on the door declaring WeOp a safe space where we strive to combat racism, homophobia , fat-phobia and all forms of oppression. We’re very proud that, as we have seen almost every lesbian bar in the country close, we are still a loud and proud queer space. We got to where we are today by focusing on slow, organic growth. We started as a mobile, farmers market based business that focused on building relationships with farmers (who we source all of our produce from) and our community. The challenges were many. First, the physical and mental toll that it takes on you being a mobile business is real. We had to train our bodies and our minds to handle that kind of work. Secondly, when we did go to lending institutions seeking loans to open our brick and mortar cafe, we were often looked at with doubt. We were young, very visibly queer women, who many people assumed would not have the business acumen to be successful. Thirdly, success is a double edged sword. The more popular you become, the heavier the workload, the larger your staff needs to be. We’ve learned that if there’s a will, there’s a way. We want the world to know that, whoever you are, Wide Eyes Open Palms is an invitation to you. An invitation into a space that is connecting, health giving, joyful and awake. The name of the business also acts as a mantra: Live your life everyday with wide eyes and open palms.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If one of my BFFs was in town, I’d definitely take them to my favorite food spots in Long Beach. Gusto Bread, Ammatoli Mediterranean, The Hippea, Taqueria La Mexicana, The Coffee Cup Cafe and Under the Sun/Rainbow Juices. Drink at 4th St Vine, Art du Vin and The Blind Donkey. Pack a picnic with food from Olives Gourmet and do Yoga on the Bluff, then take a cruise around Naples on a SUP, duffy boat or gondola.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a Shoutout to Diep Tran (former chef/owner of Good Girl Dinette) for giving me my first chance to work in a professional kitchen. I also want to give thanks to my parents, Bob and Chris McIver, who showed me from a young age the kind of work and commitment it takes to be an entrepreneur.