Meet the Maker: Angie owner & maker of Tangie
Meet Angie, the Grateful Redhead
Angie Ringler is the founder of the environmentally conscious business Tangie LLC, doing business as WasteFreeProducts.com. She is a third-generation Floridian living in Central Florida with her husband of 20 years. Angie graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a BA degree and undergraduate in Law. She worked as a paralegal for many years before founding her company in 2012.
Most of her life, Angie, a redhead, had always been prone to sensitive skin and would often break out into allergies and rashes. Soon she began realizing that these were being caused by the myriad of chemical-laden soaps, shampoos, detergents, dishwashing liquids and other cleaning products she was using day-in and day-out. That, and the lack of many viable alternatives in the market at that time, she started tinkeringand coming up with her own recipes created from things she found in her pantry. The first and easiest switch was to use vinegar to clean her mirrors and windows instead of a market bought product and that worked beautifully for her.
Along this interesting path of discovery, Angie found out that laundry soap labels rarely carried a list of ingredients. She thought the chemicals used therein could be the cause of her discomfort when freshly washed clothes reacted to her skin. That’s when she began surfing DIY laundry soap techniques on the internet and began making her own soap.
It is pertinent to point out, that as a solution-oriented person, when grating and melting regular soap bars did not do the trick, Angie progressed to experimenting with more ancient ingredients like yucca root and soap nuts. One thing led to another and she started making and giving away gallon jugs of liquid laundry soap to her mom, friends, and neighbors. When people figured out how these soaps contained only natural and organic ingredients and were completely produced indigenously, the good word spread.
It was almost like a signal from the universe in 2010 when Angie had a moment to pause, take a step back and assess her life. She asked herself if working in a corporate office was in alignment with the person she was inside.
Some introspection and instinct egged her to contact SCORE.org and the local Small Business Development Center. During a casual conversation with one of the people there, Angie just happened to mention she was brewing these natural cleaning concoctions in her kitchen. The gentlemen whom she was speaking to immediately leapt at the idea and advised her to start planning her personal venture specializing in these products. That little tete-a-tete set the ball rolling and Angie began toying with the idea of her very own business, knowing there was a real demand for chemical-free products.
With her husband’s encouragement, she put together a business plan. Luckily, she found bulk suppliers in her area, and quickly began manufacturing a variety of liquid products ranging from laundry soap to window cleaner; all packaged in plastic bottles. It didn't take long for Angie to realize that shipping the water weight was costly and quite wasteful, so she solely focused on selling to local stores within a reasonable driving distance. That is not a good business plan for one who wants to grow a big business.
As a conscious and conscientious manufacturer, Angie soon realized how the plastic bottles were the biggest environmental hazard in her program. Not only are they non-biodegradable but also end up in the oceans and landfills, where they sit unhindered for hundreds of years. This piece certainly did not resonate with her sensibilities and beliefs of conserving the environment. She even had a bottle return program where her mission of refilling was printed on each label asking customers to return their bottle for $1.00 off their next purchase. Sad fact, very few bottles came back.
That was the proverbial fork in Angie’s road. If she could not operate a business that was in alignment with who she was daily, then she would have to close the business. Her attitude was to discover a solution, just like she did years ago to solve her own personal health and skin issues. She had confidence but felt like she was starting back a square one.
Research and development indicated she would have to invest more money and time into the business while not making consistent cash flow. She could not keep selling bottled products now that she knew how wasteful it was. In agreement with her husband to invest some of their savings into her business, Angie worked endlessly as “a mad scientist” trying to figure out how to change a liquid soap into a solid one and sell it without a bottle. Working in the garage lab her husband lovingly built for her, Angie eventually cracked the formula of making a paste form of laundry cleaner. Today, it has evolved into a little brick of paste. Upon dissolving that soap in about a gallon of water, it dissolves to make a gallon of liquid laundry soap. That small brick of paste is now packaged in a lightweight cardboard box which is compostable at-home and recyclable, no more plastic bottles!
That's amazing. Even when I say it today, it gives me little goose pimples to know that I came up with this formulation with my own two hands and one brain. I did that! The evolution took some time. The paste went from a thin paste sold in plastic soup containers, like used in restaurants for to-go orders; to a bigger bar sold in compostable cellophane, which had its own set of consumer issues. But it finally evolved to be the waste-free laundry concentrate it is today. I evolved along with that paste. It wasn’t until I made the commitment to myself of not selling anything in plastic for the possibilities to be revealed. Now I see the bigger picture and have successfully applied this same process to liquid hand wash. I have plans for more products which I keep working on.
Along the journey, Angie also found the importance of using vegan ingredients and partnering with companies that support her values. Tangie LLC is proudly Leaping Bunny certified and a carbon neutral company!
Most recently, Angie has enrolled with an eco-conscious agency to consult on growing her business vertically and horizontally and is still holding to her commitment of no plastic packaging or plastic shipping for any of her products. To discover more about her and her mindful products, please subscribe to her podcast, The Grateful Redhead, and follow her business on social @WasteFreeProducts