In Kinship - A podcast for makers
who crave a vibrant life on their own terms

Show Notes

Episode #26 - being part of nature and listening to your intuition

(want the transcripts? scroll to the bottom of the page)

(w/ Ricki Oldenkamp)  
Do you know what’s better than foraging for fresh wild blueberries while chatting with friends and hoping the grizzly bears have a different spot?    NOTHING!

My guest today talks about her love of foraging and kitchen witching as a way to be part of nature, a welcome juxtaposition from her days observing nature in her work as a scientist. 

She also shares how she went from living out her “Jane Goodall” dreams to taking a chance and responding to her environment to become a teller of stories.  As a self-proclaimed nosey person, Ricki Oldenkamp speaks with passion and joy of her career now as a copywriter and of the honor she feels in hearing, translating, and telling another’s story. 

Before that though, and in the midst of years of travel, she followed her intuition and took a trip that didn’t necessarily make sense, but unfolded beautify, one step at a time.

Take a listen!  You’ll be glad you did.

Ricki Oldenkamp

Hey, I’m Ricki.
I’m a multi-passionate lady who loves words, nature, yoga, and kitchen witching all things gluten free, and tasty as hell kombucha (if I do say so myself).

I spent years as a buttoned-up scientific researcher, where personality was not permitted in journal articles I was writing. Finally, my personality needed to be set free… hello copywriting.

Now, I help passionate go-getters unleash their personalities — so their websites, emails, and ads can deliver to the world how awesomely unique they are. 

Which means their clients & customers absolutely know they’ve found the right person for them!This combined with high-conversion copy techniques means you’ve got all the copy goodness: connect & compel…leading to cha-ching $$$


Ricki’s Online Homes

Ricki’s Website




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Ricki Oldenkamp

(please note, transcripts have not been edited and while they are pretty darn good, they’re not perfect!) 


Hey there. You’re listening to the In Kinship podcast. 

And today I have the distinct pleasure of talking with Ricki Oldenkamp. Ricki is somebody I have known for the last probably nearly 30 years. But I have not known much of her story for the last 20. And I am really excited that we get to dive into that together and listen to, uh, the amazing adventures she’s been on. Or he was a scientist by training who a. On sort of a whim, sort of a push became a copywriter. We talked about that transition. We talked about how she loves to connect with nature and forage and all of the beautiful masons are as full of nature in her house on display. And we talk about some of her travels. One of the things I loved hearing about. Because it just really drives home. How important it is to listen to your gut instinct. And she shares a story about a moment when she did listen to her gut instinct, even though it didn’t necessarily make total sense store at the time. And how beautiful it turned out. And one of the things that she shares. Is the idea of. Things will work out. 

You take a step, the path will start to reveal itself and it just takes that first step. And before you know, it you’re someplace amazing. So without further ado, let’s get into the show. 

You are listening to the in kinship podcast, a podcast for makers who crave an adventurous, beautiful little life on their own terms. And I am your host, Tina Vandenberg. 

I started my business. Kinship Handwork about five years ago? And one of the very first things I started it with or retreats, I’m not going to island, which you’ve heard plenty about, but also is my initial course called Sew Clothes You LOVE. I had spent. 15 years, 16 years sewing clothing that I loved. I had a nearly completely handmade wardrobe. I still do. I loved how I felt in the clothing that I made, even though I’m not your traditional perfect size, whatever that means. I like how lit up I feel how supported I feel, but the clothing I. I make and the clothing that I wear. And so I put together all the ways over those 14 years. Aye. Became somebody who sewed things that I loved. It’s very rare that I saw something that doesn’t work out for me. And so I want to just share that with all of you. And so for October, I am launching my Sew Clothes You LOVE course, which is a course that you can buy any old time. But in one today with a half off coupon, And the coupon code is half 23 H a L F 23. And I’m also, there’s two more exciting parts of this. I’m going to do the course live. So you’ll still get the prerecorded videos that have been around for a while. Actually, they’ve been completely redone since 2019, when it first came out. You’ll get those videos and you get the handouts and all of that, but you’re also going to get live lessons from me. For six weeks. And then at the end of six weeks, you’re going to get an opportunity. To schedule a one-on-one session with me to go over your questions. To talk about the adjustments that you need to make, and to do this a little bit of homework that they give you at the variant. I’m so excited. If you want to join us, you only have until October 12th to do so. 

So please jump on the website, kinship, And check out Sew Clothes You LOVE. And now onto our show

Tina: I am here today with Ricki Oldenkamp. Ricki, welcome to the podcast.

Ricki: Thank you for having me.

Tina: It’s delightful to have you. I have known Ricki, for those of you listening, I’ve known Ricki for a long time in my life.

And I have not gotten to know her in probably 20 years, really to know what she’s been up to. But I’ve been watching her from afar and I know that she’s started her own creative business as far as copywriting goes, and that she’s worked on building her own little house at some point in Michigan and that she’s got other things going on in her life and that she loves to travel.

And so I thought it’d be really fun, and that’s a very simplification of who she is as my understanding. But she’s gonna help . Fill in those gaps for us. I thought it’d be really fun to talk with her today and share her experiences on the podcast. So Ricki, one of the things I like to start out by asking is if you identify as a creative or a maker, and if you do what that looks like for you and who has been inspirational in your life.

Ricki: Hmm. So before I started my business, which as a copywriter, it is creative business. I had a whole career in biology and natural resources management and at that time I considered myself a scientist, which I wouldn’t have thought of myself as a creative or a maker at that point. But underlying that career, it is very creative in terms of coming up with research ideas and then crafting an actual research project at the end, putting together, um, a research journal article, which is published and shared. It’s sort of funny how as I left that career behind, I actually did start to embody more of a maker sort of personality traits. I, I started to find my creative way because I, I wanted to have more of that in my life.

Tina: Yeah.

Ricki And 

Tina: Um,

Ricki I don’t know that,


anyone is not a creative or a maker, if you really get down to the details of it.

Tina: yes, definitely. I wonder if when you were identifying more as a scientist, right, and not that you would stop being a scientist, but when it was your career and when it was what you were doing, um, probably has some sort of identity around. Would the idea of calling yourself a creative have made you seem less serious?

Ricki I do think there is an aspect to embodying that kind of scientist personality

that you wanna be taken seriously.

And not to say that there aren’t any sort of creative artsy scientists. Out there, of course they exist, but I think that I leaned heavily into wanting to be taken seriously, and I never considered myself a traditional artist because I wasn’t drawing or painting or throwing pots or sewing garments. I

I wouldn’t have thought about myself as a maker that way, but it was actually through leaving that career.

And no longer having natural resources be a part of my, my daily work, job life that I found myself spending more time in nature just because I wanted to be there. And it was no longer my job,

which led me to doing most of the making that I do now, um, which is, which is not on the career side. And that’s more of my like foraging, kitchen witching type. Creative side that I have. So once I was no longer in the realm of doing scientific research out in nature, I could just enjoy being there.

And I started to look around and I wanted to know what plants were there. And then I started to want to know what plants. Were edible

And once I started collecting those plants, I wanted to know what to do with them. And I got into making all sorts of potions. I got into, um, you know, taking the wild berries that I collected and putting them in my kombucha or drying leaves for tea, 

or making infused vinegars. And once I started doing that and sharing those with friends, I did realize that was a creative act. I did embody more being a maker, and that was like outside of even the creative work that I do as a copywriter now.

Tina: Yeah. Are you still a kitchen witch, as you say?

Ricki I am, it’s one of my favorite things. I’ve, I’ve recently moved to Alaska and had to learn a whole new set of plants,

a whole new set of edible plants, um, that I can use in my kitchen witching. And it’s been really fun because here the seasons are so rapid you need to really be on top of your forging because things will be gone. But one of the nice things about Being a forger and being able to collect these items and then producing some sort of, um, you know, way to preserve them is that I can have that joy of something from the summer season when it’s the dark, dark winter here

and being able to share that with friends too. Uh, I see how much it lights them up.

So I love that being able to share that joy of a different season with someone that way.

Tina: Okay, so I have a question for you. So I have dabbled just a little bit in medicinal herbs and. Foraging and collecting and things like that. And I have a few things hanging from my little house from the ceiling drying. Right. They’ve been drying for like years, but you know, they were hanging there ’cause they look cool.

And I did imagine when I first was building my small house, I kind of pictured it as like this little witchy cottage right? Full of. , I of note all different things, little jars and concoctions and like plants hanging from the ceiling and like definitely my hair would have twigs in it and things like that, that that hasn’t quite occurred, although I can see it happening in the future.

I need to get more subtle first, but Is that what your little cottage looks like in Alaska?

Ricki Well, I was just explaining to someone the other day that I have mason jars upon mason jars of things kind of stacked up in a, a pretty little wall, and I could put all of those things away. I. But I like seeing them,


I I do like having my creations around. It makes me happy to have that stuff in front of me, and I spend all day now working on a computer and it’s nice to have the nature inside with me in that way.

Tina: yes, I can completely see that. What is your favorite thing to forage and what is your favorite thing to make?

Ricki Okay, that’s a great question. So it would be hard to pick an absolute favorite, but of course foraging for berries is always wonderful

’cause those are super delicious. This year, um, I just spent some time forging for wild blueberries.

Tina: Mm-hmm.

Ricki Up in a mountain pass, which I think you’re familiar with, Hatcher Pass. And it’s a beautiful experience where so many people will drive out there to just go out into the mountains and collect a buckets of blueberries. And I’ve now free frozen some of those so that way I can use them in baked goods throughout the winter. But also, I’m making some infused vinegars, and I’ll use them in kombucha. I’m thinking about drying some for tea this year to test out how that goes.

Tina: Yeah.

Ricki I also am happy about moving into our next season, which will be the Highbush cranberry season here.

Tina: What do you do with them?

Ricki Uh, I do a lot of similar things with those, but last year I made a really good liqueur with them and I’ll definitely be replicating that. That was a favorite with some friends, and

I’ve also juiced those in the past to use in kombucha.

Tina: very nice. So I keep bees, as you probably know, and. I’ve recently taken to, um, Mead ’cause it makes me feel like I have some sort of Viking roots, right? Like I wanna have a tanker and be like more mead WeCh, right? is kind of how I envision it. And like maybe there’s a big . leg. Nobody can see my teeth right now, but like a big leg that I’m eating into, like it feels very, um, grounded, I guess, if you will.

Ricki Sure.

Tina: And so I have been looking for some blackberries to, to make with my meat. So I, that is just beginning for me. I just, I have not begun it, but I’ve been thinking about it and using my honey and creating some meat. So we’ll see if that happens. 

Ricki Ooh, I would love to get into making mead as well. So far, my only dabbles with honey have been collecting elderberry like so the elder flour before they become berries and infusing a honey with that,

and it just takes on the floral flavor and it keeps that floral smell over time. So I think

honey is an amazing preserving mechanism.

I haven’t gotten to delve into enough yet.

Tina: Definitely. And I have a good friend who is an herbalist as well, and she often will infuse garlic and honey 

Ricki Sure. 

Tina: season, right? So then you will take a spoonful and it’s like, it’s pungent, right? It’s like, woo. But you’re getting all of the beautiful antibacterial and, and. Coating kind of elements of the honey.

I can’t 

Ricki Mm-hmm. 

Tina: all well right now. well as all of the garlic is for your immune system and it feels like you’re doing something great for your body, even if you’re like, whoa, as you eat it.

Ricki for sure. Yeah. It’s funny how. Even though I thought that I was maybe leaving a career in science, how much of my scientific background I’ve brought into this world because it’s looking into the active mechanisms of plants like you’re talking about. Like what? What is this actually able to do for your body?

How is it supporting your body? My scientific background and the periods of time that I’ve done research have definitely allowed me to lean into learning that information, retaining that information, and then also sharing it with other people.

Tina: Yeah. So what do you think when you’re out there foraging or when you’re making a tincture or when you’re making a sav or whatever you’re making, what, what does that connect to deep inside of you?

Ricki Hmm.

So it’s sort of a.

a feeling of being part of nature instead of separate from it. For me, a lot of the times that I spent in doing research, I was the observer.

  1. so

I was on the outside and trying not to Make any sort of effect upon 


it was that I was doing research on, because that would hurt the experiment.


when I can just be in nature out there foraging, I like having that activity of foraging that makes me part of nature. So I do follow, you know, best practices for not over foraging in area. If I’m out there collecting something and someone walks by and they ask me, they ask me about it, I’m able to

Tell them about

it and share that knowledge.

help them be more a part of nature 


Tina: Mm-hmm.

Ricki And I just think it’s wonderful to have an act that I can do in nature, since we don’t live It’s not like we are living in nature nowadays. We generally live inside shelters, but an act to be in nature and a part of it.

Tina: Yeah. A connection.

Ricki Mm-hmm.

Tina: I could see that. That I can see that completely. And I, I wonder if the same is true for you too, that often when I forage or I make something, actually, I’ll tell you the story. So my little boy who’s seven. We were out in the spring and we were getting wild ramps or leaks. A lot of people call them.

And so we’re picking ramps, looking for morales, which we didn’t find any, but we found ramps and I, at the time, was having a lot of trouble with my fine motor skills in my hands, so I couldn’t dig them out. Um, so I gave him the little shovel and he was, I was sitting on a . Stump and just like enjoying nature.

And he was digging up the ramps and picking the very biggest ones and like just naturally, right? Like jumping from cluster to cluster, right. Just in the way that we do that. Like we, I have found that this happens with me when I pick berries as well. Like I’m, oh, I wanna be systematic and like get all the berries, like, like you’re eating corn, right?

Like get all the berries through the bush. But I don’t, I’m like, I pick a few and then I’m like, oh, that one looks good. And then I’m over there and I’m picking a few over there and I wonder if we have evolved to do that so we don’t over pick. I, I’ve always wondered that if that was the case, but that’s how he was picking leaks, like from clump to clump.

’cause he also wanted to find the biggest bulbs, right? So he is picking them and then we get done and we leave and he’s like, mom, It feels so good to get your food from the forest. And I’m like, it does buddy. And I thought, wow. I’m sure that I’ve expressed something to some degree in his life like that, but like he still came to that conclusion himself.

Just from like that feeling of like self sustainability. I mean, obviously we can’t just live on leaks. It’s not going to sustain us for the rest of our lives, but there’s a feeling of like being capable. 

Ricki Mm-hmm. 

Tina: from that, and I wonder if you would get that same kind of feeling when you forage.

Ricki Yeah. I think they’re beyond even The capability of being able to find your own food. There’s something about the abundance of food as well.

Tina: Mm-hmm.

Ricki It’s, there’s so much that can be provided. If you start to look, and I was explaining this to a friend once, I wasn’t finding the right words, like I couldn’t find the word abundance in the moment, but I was like, there’s just free food. It’s just out in the forest.

Tina: It’s available. 

Ricki It’s available 

for you. And it just, it’s amazing to me that we have so much, um, abundance. There’s, there’s a wealth of things out there that can either feed you or heal you, um, support you in some way. And we, all it takes is a little bit of learning and we have access to that.

Tina: Yeah. I wonder, so I’m remembering now that you spent some time in South America

Ricki Mm-hmm.

Tina: and . , I spent just a very brief amount of time on the Dominican Republic, like a week, right? So this is a very different thing, but I was struck in the Dominican, the Dominican Republic. ’cause we stayed in this small village in a little like hovel outside of somebody’s house that like had sheets for one of the walls and like, you know, it was very rustic and very much in the community, which is what we were seeking when we went there.

And. I was struck by how many fruit trees and how much available food there was just in the forest, right? Like there’s bananas and pineapples and like all a variety of different, like mangoes, of course, like all over the place. Like there’s all of this fruit. And I thought, and of course we have something similar, like you can find wild apples nowadays.


Ricki Mm-hmm.

Tina: and definitely we’ve got lots of berries and we have lots of other things that we can collect, but like the abundance felt humongous. And I wonder if you had that kind of experience when you were in South America. 

Ricki Yeah.

it was interesting the first time that I went there, um, I actually was in high school. I got really lucky to be a part of a program you had to apply for. There were only a few students that were selected to go spend some time at a research station and. I was able to meet a lot of researchers there that shared with us, you know, the different plants that were surrounding the research station. And I found it was so wild that they just basically lean over the edge of the railing and pick their breakfast. It did. It didn’t seem like we had something like that around us. And while we don’t have that in every season here, of course when you’re in a more temperate climate,

we do have a lot of food that is available around us.

But the abundance that’s out there, if you know what the plants are, is actually pretty large.

Tina: Mm-hmm. And it definitely felt like, at least in that culture, it was more the norm to just pick your breakfast as you’re walking to work. Right. And, and here that would be less normal.

Ricki Oh

yes. I’ve had an experience 

Tina: Yeah.

Ricki This is true. I’ve had an ex an experience in the past before when I was first getting to know a lot of quote unquote weeds that we find in our yards, uh, that I had neighbors that found me out in my yard, like, you know, on my hands and knees, kind of like picking little things from the yard.

I’ve definitely gotten the reaction that that’s odd.

Tina: Right, right.

Ricki But I mean even, even so much as the common dandelion, like the, the flour, the leaves, the roots, all of that’s edible.

We could eat the whole plant if we wanted to.

Tina: Right.

Ricki All of the weeds that we have around, there’s usually either like a food or medicinal use for them.

Tina: Yeah, that is very cool. And I think, um, it does speak to our cultural disconnect from nature that we expect food to come from a grocery store. And I just, I don’t know if this is accurate or not. It was a meme, so you just never really know. But it was saying that like the very first supermarket didn’t come to the US until like 1946.

Um, not to say there wasn’t stores, grocery stores of some sort, but the first supermarket. And I thought, wow, that is not that long ago. For us to be so dependent upon it, it’s really intriguing.

Ricki It is intriguing that it brings up two different thoughts for me. One is, I’ve heard this statistic and I would need to look it up to be sure, but I’ve heard that most supermarkets only have about three days worth of food or so on hand if everybody needed all of that food at once in the community, which is really wild if you think about it.

If, if something

happened, We saw this with the pandemic, if something happened where there’s a rush

on items, it becomes very difficult to be able to support ourselves. And then, um, it also made me think about the time that I’ve spent in Spain. So I was really fortunate to go and do the Camino. And if anybody hasn’t heard of that, it’s a, it’s a very long walk. It’s a pilgrimage in Spain, and it can, you can take different routes, but generally the most popular route is about a month long. And you walk through a lot of small communities and they don’t have supermarkets, they have the market and it’s only open, you know, at certain times, but a lot of people are getting their food fresh every day from the market. And I started to learn how spoiled I was as an American just assuming food would be available at all times. because in Spain they take siesta very seriously. So a lot of things shut down in the afternoon and you cannot get access to food. And so I started to get more in a rhythm of making sure that I made it to the market every day to take the food that I needed to be able to, um, either walk that whole day or be able to cook for myself that night. And I learned to live in that different rhythm. So I think it’s possible for

us to live in different ways, um, whether that be doing more collecting or growing a garden or just preserving some of our food, but we oftentimes just rely on the supermarket that the easy system.

Tina: Yeah.

Ricki we might, we might not always, um, wanna do that.

Sometimes it enriches your life to do something else.

Tina: Yeah, so you have mentioned a couple of places you’ve been, um, tell us more about your, I would call it love of travel and what prompts you to go and like some of the places you’ve been.

Ricki I got really lucky as I said that I had that first trip in high school. I was able to see what was possible beyond, not only just, you know, my small town in Michigan, but beyond the us

and it made me hungry to know other cultures

and to understand what was out there to discover. So, Because I came from a family where I was the first person in my family actually to graduate from college. I did go the college route and I started doing research projects, and that’s how I was getting myself to these locations. It was because of a research project that I had to go to South America. It was because of a research project that I ended up going to Borneo to do research with orangutans there. And so I did a lot of these really wild trips that, um, I felt like I had to have a purpose for them.

Tina: Yeah, 

Ricki but.

after a while, I started to realize that I could travel for pleasure. It didn’t have to make sense to anyone else why I wanted to go. And I’ve been able to do some other trips. As I mentioned Spain, I’ve been to, um, Germany and Italy and uh, I’ve been to Guatemala and Central America and I have so many other places I still need to go. And I look forward to continuing to meet people in those places. ’cause that’s been some of my best experiences


Tina: Yeah.

Ricki meeting from people, hearing their stories,

seeing how much we actually relate to each other, even if we’re both on the other side of the world from where we actually live. Sometimes travel has been kind of a expediate to those relationships. You’re, you’re not necessarily in your home atmosphere. You may never see that person again. So sometimes you skip all of the pleasantries and talking about the weather and you really get down to your real stories

Tina: Mm-hmm.

Ricki and as a very nosy person who wants to know everyone’s stories. Anyway, I love just getting down to the real story.

Tina: Yeah.

Ricki I.

Tina: Yeah, there’s a connection there. There’s like, there’s an authenticity that’s really nice. I don’t do well with small talk myself. Like I’d rather just go deep because

Ricki for sure.

Tina: it, it lights me up quite honestly. Like if I’m gonna look at it like we do things from our own. Perspective almost exclusively. Right?

And so like that’s the truth of it is like talking about things that are like a deeper connection or a heart connection just lights me up. And I know that some people love the banter that can happen or the lightness that can happen in small talk and like I can appreciate that, but like my soul is like right there.

I hear 

Ricki Yeah, I think we relate to each other in that way.

Tina: Yeah, for sure. 

And now a word from our sponsor today’s episode is sponsored by Kinship Handwork? I want you to know if you are listening in October of 2023. I am launching my Sew Clothes you love course on October 12th. And I would love for you to join us Sew Clothes You LOVE is. All about determining your style. What it is, it lights you up, how you want to show up in the world. It’s part style school. Part planning and part adjusting the sewing pattern before you begin. So we go through getting to know yourself deeper and figuring out what it is that you want to actually. So, and then we talk about planning that project or planning that wardrobe or planning that capsule or whatever that might be. And then we move on to a determining how to adjust your commercial, swearing patterns to fit your body before you even begin. 

This course is near and dear to my heart. It is the first course I created back in 2019 and it really embodies. How I went from. Being quite unhappy with the clothing that I could find in the store. Really hard on my own body. Too. Loving who I am and what I wear and wearing clothing that supports. Who and how I want to show up in the world. And it also is my framework for how I made sewing with commercial sewing patterns, simpler. So join us. We’re going to do it live. It is prerecorded. You can get all of those recordings right away, but we’re going to do each lesson live as well. So I would love to see you October 12th. Jump on the website, kinship, 

Tina: So you left your career in . science and took up copywriting. How did that happen?

Ricki This is a question I get often because it seems like such a strange, maybe not strange, but like such a big

change and it at the end of the day isn’t as large of a change as you would think. So when I decided I wanted to leave, um, biology and natural resources management, I knew that I was gonna need to rely on some skills that I had gained through that career because I’d been doing it for a decade. A lot of the skills really, uh, boiled down to my research abilities, being able to take in information, organize it in a way, and then

represent that information. And then also my writing ability because I was doing these research projects and then I was publishing journal articles about the research. So when I started looking at what I could do with those skills, I just, um, you know, went to the oracle of Google like we all do when we’re looking for the next step in life. And I started typing in the skills that I had and looking for other careers that utilized those. And I found copywriting, which was something I had never even heard of before, because as a very minimalist person myself, I’m not much of a consumer. I ha would’ve never thought of being in advertising. And I didn’t realize that there was actually a path to a writing career that you could have in advertising, and it didn’t have to involve selling your soul for products you didn’t believe in.

But actually that does exist, and I was really fortunate to run across a ad on Facebook,

Tina: Oh, we love it.

Ricki But yes, that was sharing about a copywriting training program. I found that this copywriting training program that just sort of landed in my lap had an emphasis on being able to work with clients that you really loved and believed in more so than just being able to sell anything. And so that made me a little bit more comfortable with the thought. And I was at a period in time where I didn’t feel like I was growing anymore in my science career. I had kind of hit this plateau in terms of my earnings and definitely in terms of my flexibility and ability to, you know, do the travel that I wanted to do. ’cause you don’t get a whole lot of time off in those more, uh, nine to five type jobs. I just decided

to take the 

leap and I.

started the training program. I just went all in and I did the whole program in a couple of weeks, and then I started to reach out to friends and family and ask them if I could help them with projects. I started doing a couple of things for free and then a couple of things for trade, and then it was a real, um, journey between being able to do that. Um, and then selling myself

because I had had to do grant proposals in the past and sell the idea of my research and me being the principal investigator, but then being able to, um, not rely on having had so many years at something, it was definitely an effort for me to be able to go out there and tell someone I could do their marketing for them. But as these things generally happen, you just put one foot in front of the other, you get One project down and then over a hundred projects you’ve done. And it’s been three and a half years now that I’ve been running my business,

Tina: Very nice. Very, very nice. So as a copywriter, what kind of things do you write?

Ricki so it can be all over the board. But I like to focus on the personality assets that people need. I. Which would be their website because you know, we live in the age now where even if somebody hears about you, word of mouth, they wanna know that you’re legitimate. They’re gonna go look at your website, they’re gonna dive into if you have social media, to try to get to know you more.

So I help people with social media assets. And then one thing that I really like is email, because email and being able to create a newsletter for somebody and continue that conversation over

time. really 

powerful. Um,

I think that being

able to

take someone’s personality, be able to learn that.

enough to write as them, and then continue to be able to help them speak to their audience, is definitely a skill that needs to be honed. Trying to take on someone else’s personality for just a one-off project. Like doing a website, you can really work closely with the client in terms of perfecting that language, but then when you’re doing it constantly and the client is gonna be a little less involved, because you’re producing these newsletters, you really need to know them. You have to intimately know their stories, and that helps me use that nosy nature that I have. In a powerful way because I get to dig in with people on the interviews that we have and talk about their stories. I organize them. I create this cohesive story we’re gonna tell over time, and then I can lay that out beautifully and it, it marries together all of that research background, the organizing, the data collection that I’ve done in the past, but more with this creative endeavor that I have now where I get to put words to things that my clients can’t always find words

for, and I love it

Tina: You can tell, you can tell as you’re talking about it, you can tell the passion that you have for it. And I, I have a new appreciation for copywriting as you’re talking, like, definitely I love to write my own newsletters and I can understand the joy of that, but it would be hard for me to imagine writing in somebody else’s voice, in taking on their story.

And so I can, um, I appreciate hearing how that process works for you and how, uh, , it sort of slows it down. So like in my own business, right, I have, there’s so many different things I need to provide for my own business, and I know that you know that because you are providing that service, but then you also have to sell your business out there to the world, right?

And there are a million different little things that you have to do at all the different times, and sometimes the writing or. Like telling a story over time or having that ability to be like, I’m going to take this journey. We are going to take this journey together. Like I have a desire for that to happen and sometimes I can make that happen, but it’s not very often that I can stop what all, all the other things I’m doing to like, alright, I’m gonna map this out and I’m going to build this story over time.

And I admire that. And it’s something that I’d like to bring into my business more than I, than I do now.

Ricki Oh, absolutely. 

Tina: I can see the value in having somebody that’s focused is on bringing that story in.

I can see that value in a way that I

couldn’t five minutes ago. So that’s really interesting.

Ricki Oh, well thanks for telling me. Yeah. I found that sometimes working with clients that haven’t worked with a copywriter

in the past takes a little bit of time before they can understand the, the role of delegating that work, because either one, they’re. They’re so passionate and so close to it that it’s hard for them to even put words to something to share their stories with me or to share the, the deeper, outcome that their clients, their clients or their customers are looking for because they’re so close to it.

Tina: Right.

Ricki And of course, when you’re running your own business and you have five things on your to-do list and You know, maybe being able to craft the perfect, you know, newsletters for the next month. It’s something on there, but you don’t necessarily have the time to do it. That can be one of the things that falls off the to-do list. And so when they’re able to take that leap to trust me and able to delegate that work to me, and we do the deep work on the side of collecting those stories and digging into the language and then me doing research on how their customers speak about things, and I’m utilizing that language in there

so the customers feel like we’re speaking directly to them. That outcome, if we can put that effort and time into it, is gonna pay dividends

for them. It’s just being able to take a moment to take the leap on being able to move forward with somebody else being in your process. And I have had a little bit of pushback before where people are like, well, my newsletter, just for example, my newsletter is so personal. Like there’s no way that like I could have someone else write it for me, but at the end of the day, the client They’re always going to look at that work. It’s never going out without them looking at it. So if they wouldn’t say something in a specific way, I get

to that in the revisions process.

We make sure it feels aligned so it feels like you, but maybe instead of it taking you two to three hours to do something, now your revisions process for it is 20 minutes,

Tina: Right,

Ricki then you can do the other things you’re more passionate about


Tina: I lo I love hearing that. Thank you for sharing that. I like to explore the idea on this podcast of following your gut. Right.

Ricki Mm. Mm-hmm.

Tina: like you are compelled to do something, not really understanding why, not necessarily understanding where it’s gonna go and just having the bravery to follow it.

Like there’s been so many instances in my life where I have done that and beautiful things have occurred and there are lots of ways that far outnumber the times that I have listened when I didn’t listen. And I’m trying to like manage the boat the whole way, right? Like I’m trying to swim upstream and I’m not like just going with the flow of it.

And so one of my desires in my life is to listen to the intuition even more. So I’m always fascinated when I can hear somebody else’s story of when they felt compelled to do something and they just did it and how it worked out for them. And I wonder if you have a story like that to share. Yeah.

Ricki Yeah. So I have also had many instances in my life where I’ve had a, a strong gut feeling on something, and I’ve leaned into it and I’ve seen the outcome be better than I could have even

imagined. And I’ve thought, oh my gosh, what would’ve happened in my life if I had not done that?

Tina: Yeah.

Ricki But one of the examples that comes to mind is, The trip that I took, uh, in Spain, it was actually during a really sensitive time for me. I had done the experience of doing research in Borneo with orangutans. I had had my Jane Goodall moment of being able to do research with one of the great apes, and it was actually a really hard experience. I was living in the jungle for four months at a research station that did not have any internet access. Um, no phone, no male, and so it was very isolating. At the time, um, I was working for a foreign university and I was one of the only native English speakers that was at the station. So I spent a lot of time alone in my thoughts, and I realized that that wasn’t what I wanted for the rest of my career.

  1. And at that.

point I had been all in on primatology. I had, um, thoughts of being able to go to a university and do a PhD in it and I had to really reorient. I was just getting done with my bachelor’s degree I felt completely lost that I had now just dissolved a dream that I had had for so many years.

Tina: Yeah, and it.

Ricki It was a dream that had become my identity at that point, and people knew that this is what I was going for and I got so much praise for going after this lofty goal. And so I needed some time. And during that period where I knew I was gonna be finishing my undergrad degree, but I didn’t know what was next, I found out about the Camino. And I found out that people walk the pilgrimage for many reasons, and one of them is just to try to figure out what’s next in life. And so I felt so compelled that I had to do it. So I figured when I got done with my undergrad degree, I would go do it. I told my family, they, even though I had just been on the other side of the world doing research, they were like, are you crazy? You’re gonna go spend, you know, over a month in Spain walking. By yourself. Because even though at the time I was dating somebody and they wanted to go, I had told him I really needed to go alone

Tina: Yeah, so.

Ricki So my gut told me I needed to go on this experience alone. And, um, The experience was tough from the very beginning because during that period of time, the, there were a lot of riot or not riots, um, strikes going on within the French transit system. And so my original flight got canceled. My new flight came in to the airport and I was supposed to take a train directly from the airport, but the trains that The Charles, the Gaul airport, were all canceled. So I had to find a tram to get across Paris, and I don’t speak any French to find a new, uh, train station to try to see if I could get a train. And they only had limited options, and I had some of those magical experiences that sometimes happen where I, once I finally got on the tram, A man helped me figure out where I needed to get off the tram. Then I showed up and I showed someone my ticket and they pointed at the train and said, run now. I did not ask any questions, and I ran and I gave my ticket to the person who was allowing passengers on, and he took my ticket, allowed me on the train, and then he told me there were no seats. So he sent me back to the luggage area where there were three fold down seats next to all the bags, and I sat with my knees between two French ladies, For an eight hour train trip, of us staring at each other. And I ultimately did end up where I needed to go. And then experience after experience on that trip unfolded where people helped me. People just knew I needed help before I even asked, and I was able to help other people. And it kind of made me realize that no matter the path that I followed, no matter that I didn’t know what I was gonna do next if I just showed up. I put one foot in front of the other, it was gonna work out. People were going to show up to help me, and I was gonna be there to help other people, and that’s been the case so far.

Tina: That is beautiful. And you know, it, it tied in because I actually wondered if you were gonna talk about when you are scrolling Facebook and all of a sudden this copywriting opportunity pops up and you take the leap to follow it from a science background.

Right. Um, I believe in that same concept with all of my soul. It’s easy to lose faith in it. I should doubt it or to question it, but like if you take that next step, it will unfold. And like

Ricki Mm-hmm.

Tina: what if we could just live right in that space right there all the time and not worry about what’s next and not worry about what’s coming and not worry about the things.

But like that would be amazing. I.

Ricki I wish that I could say I have perfected it but I learn it over and over again each time that I need to trust it.

Tina: Yes. That’s my experience with it is well . Uh, but every time it is like, I hear a story like what you just shared with me, and it’s like, yes, that’s right. It does work out. And like I was just talking to somebody that I had just met and I was talking about all the, the hardships of the past year and the way that things have been difficult and the how, like it’s so expensive to buy property right now and it’s so hard to find someone to dig it well and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, all these things, right?

And he just looked at me and like, And not with any animosity, not with any snarkiness. He was like, things have a way of working out. And I’m like, they do. You’re right.

Ricki Thanks for the


Tina: Right. And like we can know this if we can have examples in our own life, and then it’s like, I don’t think we could be reminded of it too often.

Ricki That’s very true. I thought about telling the story about

how I

actually took the plunge and made the change between my scientific

career and copywriting. and that one is, it’s interesting because I think the circumstances in my life. Aligned such that I was pushed forward into that because I had kind of, like I said, I had plateaued in, in my career. I wasn’t happy. Um, I thought that I should be happy because I loved nature, I loved the outdoors, and there just was some reason I couldn’t put my finger on why I couldn’t be happy in that career.

Tina: And

Ricki And ultimately,

um, I.

made the decision to move forward with my own business because I had been promised a lot of things like insurance and a raise at this position that I had taken, um, not too long before Covid happened. And then

when The pandemic was underway 

I was made the only essential worker there.

Tina: and

Ricki And, um,

I was taking care of a lot of the responsibility myself, and then was told I would not be getting insurance, would not be getting the raise because of the uncertainty that came with C O I D.

And I just felt like

Tina: at that point 

Ricki that point in time for all of the effort that I’d put into my career, I, I really wasn’t seeing what I deserved. And I spoke with my dad, who’s a very wise man. He told me he believed in me and that if I

believed that I could make this change,

that I could do it, and that he’d seen me jump towards opportunities so many times. And then why was this any

different? And it really was that little push. Sometimes we need a little

push that allowed me to step into that opportunity and start moving

forward. And although it was really scary, there were a lot of scary times in the beginning of starting a business as anybody who is an entrepreneur knows. I just still kept putting one foot in front of

the other and yeah, I found myself here now

Tina: Beautiful. That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. Oh, Ricki, I could talk to you for a really long time, but in fact, I have . , I wonder if you might answer a question that I ask all of my guests, and then after we do that, I would love to hear how my listeners can reach you, where they can find you and see what you’re doing and maybe see some of those concoctions and social media.

I don’t know if you ever put those on there, but like, check that out.

Ricki I do

Tina: But before we get to that, I wonder if you might share what you wish people knew that you think they might not know deep in their hearts

Ricki I think. That I wish people knew how impactful their story could be,

Tina: because.

Ricki because I think oftentimes people will see things through the lens of social media and assume that everyone else has a more exciting life. Everyone else’s life

is Happier,

and better. 

Tina: And 

Ricki And instead,

I’ve learned more and I’ve connected with people more

through a real raw story on a time that didn’t go well for them.


seeing the happy vacation photos that they put on Facebook.

Tina: I wish people 

Ricki I wish people could understand that,



is what makes them unique. It’s what makes them frankly, actually

interesting. And.

we all like being able to connect when you can hear the real person behind something. So whether that be marketing or just in life. I think if somebody is more willing to share their story with me and we can create that connection, I think we have a better chance of, of maintaining the connection and becoming friends.


like that I get to do that through my work because I couldn’t ask for a better way to help people than to help them tell that story because sometimes it seems like it’s hard for them to do so.

Tina: Yeah, I can see that. And I, agree with you that there’s, um, we can just sense authenticity and we can just feel it on a deeper level. And when there’s an authentic sharing, even if it’s a joyful, authentic sharing, whatever that story is,


Ricki Mm-hmm.

Tina: resonates. And like the . There are some very powerful stories I’ve heard in my life where somebody shares something that’s really shameful for them or really hard for them that have immediately opened up other ways in my life for me to see my own shame, my own things.

Ricki Mm-hmm.

absolutely. Yeah.

Some of the stories that I end up hearing course, these don’t necessarily get shared through the marketing, but some of the stories that I end up hearing through the personal talks that I have with people. Um, are really, they’re really affecting for me in my own personal life, I am always awed by being able to see someone as a raw person. When they’re able to get down to that

intimacy with me, I,

feel lucky to be able to see that, and I usually try to point that out to them that, you know, it’s, it’s brave to do that. I feel lucky to show up for it and that I get to do it

so often. 

Tina: Very nice. Oh, I feel like we scratched the surface on so many things. Like we probably could have a whole podcast about like . a million different trips you’ve been on or different things that you’re doing, and like the fact that you’re now living in Alaska and like having this sort of, um, ability to shift your life with some sense of freedom.

Although we talked earlier before the podcast began that when you are your own business owner, there’s a lot to it as well. Like there’s, there is freedom and there is like you are sailing your own ship, but . You gotta keep the ship afloat. as well. Yeah. And so, so there is that aspect.

So, um, I say all that to say thank you for sharing these bits with us and for sharing the pieces that you’ve shared. And I, I am left with wonder. Thank you 

Ricki Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, I, I really

appreciate that. It’s been quite a journey to be able to collect all these different experiences. I like Being able to share them with people. And, um, I’m always an open book too. If anybody has questions about those things, I, I, I’d love to share the experiences, give them tips or tell them what not to do.

’cause I’ve learned those

lessons too. 

Tina: indeed. So if they do have these questions and they do wanna ask you something, or they wanna just see what you’re doing in the world, where can they find you?

Ricki So the best place to find me is probably through my website. I do have a contact form that they can get ahold of me. There I am on social media. They can find me there as well, and it’s gonna be really easy to find

  1. So my

name is Ricki Oldenkamp and it’s r i c k i o l d e n k a M P. And my website is just Ricki

And on social media it’s just Ricki Oldenkamp, 


Tina: excellent, Ricki, thanks for being here. It is been a delightful time.

Ricki Oh, I loved talking with you.

Tina: Thank you for listening to the in kinship podcast. You just listened to my conversation with Ricki Oldenkamp. And I don’t know about you, but she almost merely convinced me to become a copywriter. Scrap the sewing business, scrap the podcasting and tell people’s stories. Not really. I actually love what I do, but I found a new founder, joy, what she does. And I also loved learning about. The connection she has between the natural world and for Jane. And. 

Her insight into just taking one step. And trusting that the path would unfold. 

Oh, thanks for listening friends. I am so glad that you’re here. 

Would you jump on your podcast, listening app and rate the show. I would be so grateful if you would. And , I will talk to you next time. 

Have a great day. 

And a final word from our sponsor kinship handwork. The Sew Clothes You LOVE course is a course that is available to purchase at any old time. But right now, October of 20. 2023. I’m having a sale. You can get it for 50% off. And. 

You can join the live versions. You always get the prerecorded lessons and all the handouts. But I’m going to do the lessons live week to week as well. So you can join us for a special live session. And at the end, everyone who participated in this live session. Can book a one-on-one session with me to talk about your questions, go over your homework. Talk about your own adjustments you need to make to the pattern. All of that. This is very exciting. We’ve got a kinship, And when you check out, use the coupon code. Half 23 as H a L F 23, to get 50% off.

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