She’s a model, law student and entrepreneur, and she’s inspiring women all over Australia.
Laura Henshaw is co-founder of Keep It Cleaner (KIC) – a health blog, online fitness program, and food product range that has become a huge enterprise since launching three years ago.
The 25-year-old developed the business with good friend Steph Claire Smith and together the duo have been an unstoppable force in the health and fitness sector.
As part of the online wellness program, Keep It Cleaner provides weekly meal plans, daily workouts and fitness challenges to its members.
The program has not only been personally developed by Henshaw and Smith but is supported by a team of health professionals including a personal trainer, dietician, psychologist and GP.
Developing a business around health and wellness was a natural extension of Henshaw’s interests.
“I personally have always loved sports. I also loved learning about healthy foods and how to make good healthy food choices,” she said.
“My passion for health and wellness then branched out to my blog where I started sharing recipes and exercise tips and tricks, to then teaming up with Steph in creating the KIC e-book together. From this, the KIC business was created.”
Lessons in business
Henshaw said she co-founded Keep It Cleaner to create an environment that motivated women to stay active and eat healthier.
“There is so much pressure to be ‘perfect’ due to the rise of social media and so we wanted to create a place where women could celebrate who they are, build their confidence and create the healthiest and happiest lives for themselves,” she said.
But starting and running a business hasn’t always been easy for Henshaw.
One of the biggest challenges she and Smith have faced is getting people to take them seriously as entrepreneurs, not just as Instagram models or social media influencers.
“What I’ve learnt the most is to shut out all the negative voices of others who didn’t want me to succeed and to listen to my gut and continue going forward,” Henshaw said.
There have been other unexpected aspects of running the business but thankfully they’ve been positive.
“I didn’t expect how rewarding it is,” Henshaw said.
“We always had a passion for health and wellness, and helping others, but the kindness and support in our community has been something we never expected. We feel so lucky to be a part of it.”
Henshaw said running Keep It Cleaner with her best friend has made the business journey enjoyable, and she admits that having the support of a business partner with the same vision has been crucial to its success.
“It makes a big difference having a friend who is just as committed as you are in inspiring and helping young women make healthy food and exercise choices,” Henshaw said.
“We both have the same goal in wanting to make healthy food more accessible and affordable for women.”
Another tip Henshaw has for running a business is believing in your brand and knowing exactly what your business values are.
“Find the key ingredient of your brand and what makes your brand so different from any other competitor. This will give you an edge and uniqueness which will help you stand out from the crowd,” she said.
Keeping it balanced
Juggling the demands of a business, modelling assignments and a law degree surely keeps Henshaw busy, so how does she maintain work-life balance?
Prioritising sleep is a big factor.
“I try to ensure I turn all technology off by 8pm, so that way I can wind down from work before bed and spend some quality time with my partner. Sleep is just as important as exercise and eating a balanced diet,” she said.
“I know if I work past 8pm I won’t stop until midnight, which will result in me being tired and run-down the next day and not being able to work at my best potential.”
Eating healthy and sticking to a few good habits also helps, Henshaw said.
“The most important thing I try to remember is to include wholefoods in my diet including fruit, veggies, eggs and nuts.
“I focus on giving my body the energy and nutrients it needs and pay less attention to the calories. By doing this, it gives me the best mindset about what I’m eating, ensuring I set myself healthy goals.
“I also am a big believer in the 80/20 principle – I eat well most of the time but eat ‘naughtier’ foods every now and then too. It’s all about balance.”
Five quick questions
1. What are your go-to beauty products for when you work out?
I apply a moisturiser and hydrating serum before bed every night, so when I wake up for my morning workout, my skin is soft, hydrated and ready for the day ahead.
I love the Nivea Invisible For Black & White JAGGED Limited Edition. It has 48 hours antiperspirant protection to keep me and my activewear protected before, during and after a workout.
After a workout, a little mascara is always the way to go. It allows you to look fresh and ready for whatever the rest of the day has in store.
2. What are your favourite pieces of workout gear?
I love a good pair of supportive runners. No matter where I travel, I always pack my runners with me, so I can stay active while I’m away.
Also having a cute pair of tights always gets me in the mood to work out. I love the tights from JAGGAD, they look amazing and perform well in the gym.
3. What’s your favourite way to de-stress?
My favourite way to de-stress is to run. It immediately puts me in a good mood and helps me structure my thoughts in my head. I find whatever is stressing me out pre-run never seems as bad post-run.
4. What’s your favourite pre-workout snack?
I love our Keep It Cleaner choc cherry protein bar. It tastes like a chocolate brownie (except it is healthy) and it is the perfect pre or post workout snack.
5. What’s a helpful mantra that you live by every day?
“Healthy is a lifestyle and not a short-term diet.”
I always try to remind myself of this, as being healthy is such an important factor for me. I don’t believe in diets, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding what is attainable and achievable for you.
Disclaimer: Laura Henshaw is an ambassador for activewear brand JAGGAD.
All images courtesy of Laura Henshaw’s Instagram account.