“Trying to not compare your life to others can be incredibly freeing” Interview with Kim Palmer | Clementine
Women Rock Ambassador Sophie is fascinated with alternative therapy and tech when it comes to mental health and wellbeing so when she chatted with Kim Palmer, Founder of the Clementine App, she was in her element!
Clementine is an app by women, for women who struggle with anxiety and all that it brings – insomnia, low self-esteem or just overwhelmed with the daily grind. The app has amazing tools- all based on a range of hypnotherapy sessions and courses, that help build confidence and reduce anxiety and BOSS life!
HEY KIM! SO EXCITED TO MEET YOU AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AND HOW CLEMENTINE CAME ABOUT. CAN YOU START BY TELLING ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU?
Well first off I’m a kiwi, I moved to England back in 2006 so I’ve been here for yonks but I hold a lot of strong values from growing up in NZ. My husband and I have two young boys – Louis and Kingsley so we have a very chaotic and busy home life – it’s very noisy. Before starting Clementine I spent most of my career working in consumer loyalty marketing – working for some well known household brands like Tesco. To fast forward a little, it was when I was working at a Tesco owned start-up called Blinkbox that I had a rather epic mental health breakdown. I started experiencing panic attacks (whilst I was pregnant) and ended up going into a dark hole for a few years where I totally lost my voice and my confidence. It was when I found hypnotherapy that I started to get better and this became part of my inspiration many years later to start Clementine.
SORRY TO HEAR THAT AND ABSOLUTE PROPS TO YOU FOR SEEKING HELP AND USING THIS EXPERIENCE TO CREATE THIS INCREDIBLE PLATFORM. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE CLEMENTINE JOURNEY SO FAR?
Sure thing, well it was at the beginning of 2016 that I started to think about taking a different path in my career and one that might lead to me being able to be my own boss and work more flexibly. I also really felt it was time to make some impact in the world and that’s when I decided to start a side hustle. I spent 9 months building Clementine whilst I was still working and launched the app onto iOS in Nov 2017. I absolutely loved having something else to focus on and it was sort of like having another baby. My husband and I fully funded the project and I spent the next two years learning everything I could (making lots of mistakes) about how to build a business. During this time we managed to secure some great support from Apple (we were app of the day twice) and coverage in a lot of press (The Guardian, Telegraph, Stylist etc) and the community started to grow.
It was in 2019 that I felt that I could no longer keep working, support two children and run Clementine – I was left feeling very burnt out. So it was crunch time to make a decision about whether to go any further with Clementine and well, that’s when I quit my job. I knew the first job to do was to raise some funds (not an easy task) and so it was after months and months of building a business plan and pitching that I secured our first £1m. I’ll fast forward a little. Today we have a team of 4 of us (that includes me) and we are trying to work out a sustainable way to grow our impact. It’s not easy but I do pinch myself every so often as it’s awesome to work on something that genuinely helps people and also a big one for me is to work in a way that suits my family too.
AND CAN YOU PLEASE SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT A TYPICAL DAY IS LIKE FOR YOU?
We get up just before 7am. We all eat breakfast and sit down at the table together. This is an important ritual for me as it helps me to feel more grounded knowing that I know how everyone in the family is.
My partner does the school drop off and when they leave I do some form of exercise – either a run or a walk most days. This is another important ritual for me as movement helps me to keep my mind feeling better.
I start work around 9am – oh I should say that I work from home. During the day I try really hard not to do any housework as I find it really distracting. I almost always stop for lunch for 30minutes – and I’ll eat at our kitchen table away from my work. I do the kids pick up at 3.30pm and I don’t usually get back until after 5pm. En route I will do some homework with my eldest. Back at home either my partner and I will cook. Whilst dinner is getting ready we will do more homework or if it’s nicer weather go outside and throw a ball around with the kids.
Dinner is early around 5.45pm and we all eat together as a family – again this is another ritual. Finding out how everyone is doing. It’s chaotic but I like it. A couple of nights a week I will have a bath with the kids – another ritual. I’ve found that this is the perfect time for my eldest to share what’s on his mind in a relaxing environment. A couple of nights a week I head to our local gym for boxing and lifting club. On the nights that I’m not at the gym then I do log back into work when the kids are in bed (7pm) and usually work for about 2.5 hours)
Gosh writing that all seems a bit boring!
NOT AT ALL! BUSY, BUT NOT BORING! WHAT DO YOU THINK WOMEN USE THE CLEMENTINE APP FOR MOST?
Our most popular sessions are sleep by quite someway. But we know that a lot of women come to the app to help with their anxiety – which impacts sleep. So they start with sleep and then start to move onto our morning and pick me up sessions to build stronger mindsets.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT HYPNOTHERAPY?
That you are going to lose control of your thoughts and that you could end up clucking around like a chicken. It’s actually the complete opposite – you become more in control of your thoughts – we help you with the positive suggestions and the space to reconnect with your own thoughts in a super relaxing way, but you won’t lose control.
WHY IS IT DO YOU THINK THAT WE HAVE SEEN SUCH A HUGE RISE IN ‘WELLTECH’ COMPANIES IN THE PAST 2-3 YEARS?
I think there are a few reasons for this – unfortunately people aren’t turning to their GP’s for support for their mental wellbeing and so look elsewhere for support and because it’s so easy to search these days we have taken matters into our own hands when it comes to finding support. The narrative around mental health has changed dramatically in the past 5 years too. Moving from no one talking about it or even understanding what it was and how important it was to build strong mental health, to everyone talking about it and finally people realising that it’s just as important as our physical health. Then obviously technology has improved so that it’s easy for people like myself to build bespoke solutions without spending millions of dollars.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT MANY WOMEN IN THE TECH INDUSTRY HAVE FELT THEIR GENDER HAS AFFECTED THE WAY THAT THEY ARE PERCEIVED OR TREATED. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A SITUATION LIKE THAT? HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?
For me it’s been a lot more obvious when I became a mum. Questions from investors about the age of my children and assuming that perhaps I wouldn’t be able to cope. Questions about my working patterns and assuming that not working 9-5pm meant that I wasn’t fully committed.
WHAT ARE YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
Hmmmm good question – I do feel quite proud of the way I managed to pivot my entire career and build a business that at it’s heart is trying to solve a massive problem. This makes me feel really proud.
Personally I’m proud of how I’ve moved away from always striving for things like happiness, success, balance, perfection. Striving was a big part of why I developed such bad anxiety and panic attacks and now I realise that the key to feeling good is to focus on the everyday. Find joy in the small things that happen everyday and it does leave you feeling better.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
This will sound a bit cheesy but it was a boss who told me to trust my intuition and to not always have to find the words to describe by intuition immediately. Step back and work out what it is that my intuition could be saying and then step back into situations and explain my POV. I always used to get lost for words when I was in situations where I felt overwhelmed by groups. But I would know deep down that I would have something valuable to say or a strong point of view but couldn’t quite speak.
I THINK THERE’S A FEW OF US THAT CAN RELATE TO THAT. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WAS THINKING ABOUT CHANGING A CAREER PATH THEY HAVE BEEN ON FOR MOST OF THEIR WORKING LIFE?
Ok so honestly I’m not a huge believer in giving advice to other people. I kind of feel that everyone needs to find their own way, their own learnings and that. I suppose this idea of finding your own way could be deemed as advice. Trying to not compare your life to others can be incredibly freeing.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE? (WE’VE HAD EVERYTHING FROM SNOOP DOG TO CHAKA KHAN!)
Oh that’s a super hard question. I do love Bohemian Rhapsody – I love how it has so many different parts to it like it’s made of so many different genres. I guess I feel like I’m a bit like that.
FINALLY – ONE TOP TIP FOR THE WOMEN AT WOMEN ROCK ON HOW TO BOSS LIFE?!
Don’t strive to boss life! Focus on what makes you feel good everyday and do more of that stuff and less of the stuff that makes you feel like shit.
Amazing! Thanks Kim – you rock! And so does Clementine!