Sloane Chmara is entrepreneur goals. After creating a health & wellness platform in 2016, which she creatively coined as Kale and Kravings, she instantly began building her success. Within the first year and a half, she had gained 16K followers, became a wellness coach, was a competitor on Food Network’s Chopped U Snapchat series, and published her first book – Kale & Kravings: Nourishing Dorm Room Recipes & Wellness Practices for Students (which is being sold on no other than Amazon!). If you want to learn more about Sloane’s incredible journey of self-drive and dedication, then read the interview with her below!
What inspired you to create and grow Kale & Kravings?
S: I started Kale & Kravings in May of 2016 after I came back home from freshman year at Vandy. I had a baking business in high school (#tbt to Sloane’s Sweets & Treats), and I’ve always loved cooking and being active. Living in Los Angeles, I frequently heard about new health and wellness trends growing up, so I became interested in food as a means to heal and change the body. I found that my own body was affected by my diet freshman year – Common’s sweet potato fries, weekly Jake’s Bakes cookies, and a few too many drinks were definitely not helping me feel my best. After finding a few nutrition Instagram pages, I decided to start my own so that I could have a place to post pictures of the healthy food I was making for myself that summer! I loved getting recipe inspo from other accounts, and I learned a ton about nutrition along the way. When I came back to school for my sophomore year, I heard from tons of friends that they had been following along with K&K and loved the content so far. I was honestly surprised and honored to be an inspiration for others, especially since I began the page to explore my own health and wellness without any serious intention of turning it into a business. When I hit my first 1,000 followers that August, I knew that I was building a brand that I loved and could continue to grow. Now 3 years later, I’m working for myself full time!
What piece of advice would you give someone who is just starting to grow their own platform?
S: There are so many opinions out there about how to grow an Instagram or an online business, and all of the advice can get muddled. Even though I’ve been able to grow my platform, I’m not even 100% certain about what aspects of my work have made it the most successful! If I had to guess, I would say the 3 biggest things to focus on are:
- Showcase your personality, especially the quirks and silly parts of yourself! People like to see real life that they can relate to, especially in a sea of curated, edited, and posed Instagram photos. When you show your real self via video, photos, or even your writing, people will be more inclined to engage with you and feel like they’re a part of your community.
- Just start! You’ll learn as you go and shift your strategy as you experiment and learn what works best for your platform. If you wait until you are an expert or have a perfect plan, you’ll never start!
- Engage consistently! Whether you are posting/filming/emailing every day or every few days, show up when you say you’re going to. Building a community and a platform is like making friends – if you only show up 50% of the time, then your audience will act the same way. To get good engagement, YOU have to engage first.
What is one thing you can always rely on to get you motivated?
S: My vision boards and exciting plans for the future always motivate me to keep taking action steps towards my goal. I have a strong spiritual practice and trust in the Universe to bring me everything I desire, and when I visualize my future, I get so excited knowing that it is indeed going to happen! I use vision boards to remind myself of my goals (via pictures or text) and remember that I am on my way to realizing everything that I want and am worthy of.
Out of all your accomplishments, which one do you think is your greatest feat?
S: I had the chance to audition for and compete on Food Network’s Chopped U Snapchat series in February of 2018 before going abroad to Australia, and winning my episode was one of my favorite moments of my career! I have always loved being on camera and cooking (duh), so being on the show was a dream come true. I would love to have my own show one day, and I was so excited to have won that competition!
When you look towards the future, where do you see yourself?
S: I’m super goal oriented, so I love thinking about the future 🙂 I have a lot that I want to accomplish which includes: writing more books, teaching clients about self love, wellness, and mindset via online courses, having a TV show, getting my masters in Nutrition, and living by the beach! I absolutely love working for myself, and I’m excited to take on new projects with my business…and eventually hire people to help me do that too!
What’s your go-to workout routine?
S: I am a huge fan of workout classes, so I have a Classpass subscription, which allows me to take classes at different studios in whatever city I’m in. I love hot yoga, Pilates, barre, and HIIT. I’m going to do a yoga teacher training in Bali this August, but my current favorite class is Body by Simone. It’s dance cardio and strength training, which are two of my favorite ways to move!
Out of all the recipes in your book, which is your favorite?
S: If I had to choose, I would say the chocolate lava mug cake is my favorite…I’m a huge chocolate gal (hence the baking business in high school), and you can make the cake with just a few ingredients and a microwave! It’s also super gooey, so it’s a win win!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting out in the wellness world?
S: I feel like I’m constantly learning about myself, business, and wellness…I try to apply everything that I learn, so I take a lot of notes whenever I listen to podcasts or audio books! The biggest lesson I’ve learned though is that you must strengthen and trust your own intuition to become the best version of yourself. Just because someone else is paleo or does long distance running doesn’t mean that that will work best for your body. It’s super cool that the internet and social media allow us to learn and have access to so much information, but we need to be careful about what we take as the truth and what we apply to our own lives. No one will know what feels and works best for you except for YOU! So, educate yourself and trust your intuition – your body is smarter than you think it is and will point you in the right direction.
How did you balance your academic, social, and professional life?
S: While running K&K at school, I really had to get clear on my priorities. I sometimes had trouble focusing on “boring” school work when I was excited about writing a new blog post or brainstorming recipes, but I was always super grateful to be at Vanderbilt, so I made sure to make the most of my time there. My relationships are extremely important to me too, so I tried really hard to put my phone away when I was hanging out with friends and always went out to events when I wanted to. At the same time, I was a pretty busy girl, so I had to recognize when I needed a break (either in the form of a long night of sleep, a social media detox, or skipping a bio class to go to yoga). In each moment, I thought about what would serve me the most at that particular time. There was no precise balance that I tried to keep constantly…rather, it was a fluid act of deciding what would bring me the most joy right then and there. I also always prioritized my health so that I had enough energy to do all of those things…cooking, moving, and drinking water basically stay at the top of my priorities list.
By Bella Sprague, Editor-in-Chief, Class of 2020