#TPBTH Meet: Erin & Schanen
Name, craft/industry/blog/passion, most popular handle/website:
Erin Whalen & Schanen Smith
Food, fitness & fun!
How did you get started?
We’ve been best friends since we met at AC’s (holla!) in 2007 and have always felt that we were soul sisters because of our likeminded-ness and optimism. After college our lives took different directions, but we were reunited on a backpacking trip through Europe and decided we’d never let each other go again. We knew we’d work together in some capacity in the future. After two months in Europe together, Erin continued on to Hawaii to pursue her Masters degree in Dance Education and Wellness Management, while Schanen mastered her social media and marketing skills in a corporate setting (and edited Erin’s thesis papers on the side). Throughout our years apart our values continued aligning in the aspects of health, wellness, and a positive mindset. When we were reunited in Charleston in 2015 we decided to create the Kale Whale brand to promote 3 of our favorite F’s (;)) : food, fitness, and fun. We realized that our approach to a healthy lifestyle (“detox to retox”) wasn’t represented in the mainstream. So many people in the wellness industry come across as perfect and unattainable but we want to show people how to find the balance.
What or who influenced you the most as you were developing your craft?
Personal health issues as well as familial health concerns. Erin changed her diet in 2009 after being diagnosed with a stomach ulcer, and used an elimination diet to understand that a plant-based lifestyle is ideal for optimum health. Schanen saw the effects of diet and lifestyle on her friends and family as they aged, and sought to give a healthy alternative over modern medicine.
Why do you love your job?
Because we’re obsessed with each other and the more time we spend together, the better! Just kidding 🙂 (But not really…) Honestly it’s so rewarding to share simple lifestyle changes and see people restore their power over their own health and well-being.
What inspires you?
We are inspired EVERY day with the healthy choices that we make – sipping a green smoothie, going for a run, playing on the beach with our dogs. We’re inspired by the way we feel and we’re inspired by the fact that so many people don’t feel “good.” There are so many people out there who don’t know how easy and FUN it is to make simple, healthy choices and that makes us want to scream it from the mountaintop! Knowing that everyone has a chance to change their future and the future of our planet is inspiration overload.
5 words that describe who you are:
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Erin: ballet dancer
Live the island life and sell smoothies from a coconut hut.
3 things you aspire to be or do:
empower people to understand that every person’s choice makes a difference for their own life and the future of the planet
expand our network on a global level and travel to teach about the power of plants
be involved in animal welfare in some capacity
(Fill in the blank) I appreciate ______ in my life, because _______.
I appreciate kale in my life, because it’s changed the game.
What was one of the hardest lessons or toughest obstacles you had to overcome?
Erin lost her dad to pneumonia in 2014 and struggled with the feeling that if he’d taken better care of himself and transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle that he’d still be here.
Advice for someone who is looking to begin a new hobby/job/life pursuit:
Just do something. Start. Don’t wait until everything is perfectly in place. Take your passion and your drive and START.
Something your followers would be surprised to learn about you:
We dress up in leotards and film music videos in our back yard,
Erin: kale salad
Schanen: Potatoes. Anything potatoes.
Daytime: kale smoothie
Nighttime: slightly dirty vodka martini
Erin: anything by The Doors
Schanen: anything by Hanson
“Physical and mental existence together with personality as a unit, each element having the capacity to influence the others.”
-Dr. Vijay Jain M.D.