Steph Claire Smith‘s name is a familiar one. Odds are you follow her along with 1 million+ others on Instagram, or maybe you’ve heard it thrown around on the health & lifestyle circuit. She is one of the two brains behind Keep It Cleaner, after all – a wellness collective which she runs with business partner Laura Henshaw. Their KIC program offers meal, mindfullness and exercise guides, and more recently healthy food products which are now stocked in Coles. COLES. What a bloody win.
We spoke with Steph about how in heaven’s name she conquered all of this, from managing funds to getting a good night’s sleep.
I wanted to kick off KIC because… I was falling in love with the happy and healthy lifestyle I was living. I had been on such a roller coaster journey when it came to self-love, I wanted to share it with everyone but also help anyone else however I could. Laura [Henshaw] and I started KIC for fun, but quickly noticed it was going to become much more than that.
I identified the need for it by… putting myself in a younger girl’s shoes! Social media can be a shitty place, and we are all heavily consumed by it! I wanted there to be more of a positive influence online for girls/women and knew I had a voice (Laura and I both do), and it’s such a massive responsibility given our following. We just wanted to do the right thing with it.
It had been a dream of mine since… I literally had a dream 4 years ago! I told Laura (who had a blog at the time) we were going to make an e-book… and once it was out and was doing well we both realised we were living the dream.
I figured it had legs + wasn’t just a pipe dream because… people were responding so well to everything we were putting out there. It’s like we were giving them everything they had been searching for. But the moment we started to get girls coming up to us in person and stating how much we had changed their lives or their confidence for the better, we knew we had to make it something even bigger and better.
Some early challenges were… fixing 20 odd spelling mistakes in our first e-book post-launch! But that sounds like a dream of a challenge now! We have encountered so many obstacles in the last year, but we’ve learnt from every single one of them and are really loving the ride!
At the time of starting out, the state of my finances was… luckily pretty good. I had been modelling for a few years and I wasn’t spending much of my earnings at all! I was lucky to be making good money and was smart to put it aside. It allowed me to start a business with Laura, and we had only started pulling money out of it for ourselves less than a year ago!
A financial habit I had to change was… nothing! I’ve been a pretty savvy saver from the beginning!
I managed to save / budget by… well, it helps that I have had an incredible salary through modelling. But, as I said before, I put it away, and put it towards my mortgage.
My first goal for KIC was… to have a physical food product! I think that was both of ours! So when our groceries line launched in Coles we couldn’t believe it!
I reached it by… well, we launched the e-book 4 years ago, grocery’s launched a year ago so it was 2-3 years til that dream came true!
I first felt like my venture was a success when… people all over the world were following our program!
I celebrated my early wins by… smiling, high-fiving Laura and jumping back on the horse towards another goal.
I still need to work on… getting my head around numbers and tech lingo haha!
My long-term goals are… whatever comes at me! Ha-ha! My biggest goal in life is to continue being happy with whatever I’m doing!
The best bit of advice I received was… don’t be scared to fail, as long as you learn from your mistakes.
If I had to give a budding entrepreneur one tip, it would be… do your research, find what makes your business special and unique, and stay passionate!
I maintain a work / life balance by…. There is no perfect balance, but I just make sure I still make time for me in my schedule. Movies, cafe dates, gym etc. is all as important to me as work is, because without that balance my mind does not function well!
My most important health tip for anyone starting a new business is… always make time for you and make sure you have enough sleep, I try to get a decent 8-hour sleep every night. Self-care is so important. When you love what you do and you’re running your own business it can be so hard to switch off, but it’s so important to have regular breaks and do anything else you love with people you love.
My sleep hack tips to a productive morning is… to wind down with a peppermint tea before bed, listen to a meditation or soothing music as you’re hopping under the covers (hot tip: Sheridan’s new sheets are the best!), and lay your activewear out the night before so it’s the first thing you see in the morning! It motivates me to get up and go! How you prepare tonight makes your tomorrow.