Katie Keane is a vegan and gluten-free recipe developer. Her focus is on building healthy habits, aligning with your purpose, and incorporating wellness into everyday life. She’s an entrepreneur, health and lifestyle content creator, and the founder of Girl Next Door.
She’s the author of two books, one focused on vegan and gluten-free recipes, and another on crafting the “Perfect Smoothie.” Her goal is to help others feel their best, be empowered on their health and wellness journey, and live out the most authentic version of themselves.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m passionate about bringing excitement to plant-based foods through creative recipes that look amazing — even while being vegan and gluten-free. As someone with celiac, a dairy allergy, and who eats primarily plant-based, finding recipes that fit the bill were few and far between. I wanted to create recipes and resources to help ease the journey of others experiencing the same, or similar food restrictions that I’ve experienced.
Tell us how you created your brand and what inspired you.
I started my blog when I was in France at culinary school (after college, and before starting my first job as a consultant). I learned I had celiac, was allergic to milk, and my gut was inflamed.
I saw both mental and physical effects that threatened to bring my spirit down. Luckily, I was studying as a sous chef under an incredible Michelin star Chef and learned a variety of tips and tricks from him for my diet.
I created Girl Next Door as an outlet to write posts that inspired me, with the hope that it might help someone else as well. Girl Next Door is about food that’s uplifting, while being enjoyable for everyone, even those on a vegan or gluten-free diet.
How does your brand work?
I’m passionate about sharing my health and wellness lifestyle along with my journey as a vegan and gluten-free recipe developer. From cooking and baking to crafting new recipes and photographing my creations for my Instagram, Girl Next Door is a space to empower you to feel your best! My blog includes topics about food, fitness, and general wellness. I maintain a variety of brand partnerships to provide resources, options, and discounts to my followers.
Tell us more about your books.
I released two books this year, and I’ve been really happy with the feedback. It’s been incredible, which makes me feel great. One is a vegan and gluten-free recipe book, with healthy lifestyle tips and tricks, included. I share my journey, tips I learned along the way, and a variety of hand-crafted recipes that have been my favorites. After receiving countless questions about my smoothie content, I also created a Smoothie Ebook. I wanted to create a smaller Ebook with high-quality smoothie recipes, and a guide that shows you how to balance the ingredients you toss into a smoothie — to make mornings easier and more nutritious!
What challenges did you face while working on your brand creation? What challenges do you face daily?
As a food blogger with dietary restrictions, I often feel as though I’m paving a new way of cooking. Raw bars and smoothie bowls are still fairly new to a lot of people, and as I develop my own recipes, it can be a challenge to make the food not only functional and nutritious, but also exciting, and incredibly delicious. I will only ever post a recipe if I truly love it.
How do you manage your business finances?
I haven’t received funding for Girl Next Door. It’s been built from the ground up through passion, dedication, and lots of long hours! My dream is to transition Girl Next Door into my full-time role. I currently work as a consultant, so I guess you could say I’m bootstrapping!
Tell us your future vision about the brand. How far do you want to take it? What is your dream about taking it to the next level?
My goal is to open a healthy cafe and to sell fresh baked goods. Everything would be vegan, gluten-free, and refined-sugar-free. The flavors would be exciting and unique, like “PB&J Protein Balls,” “Vegan Cosmic Brownies,” and a take on Starbucks’ “Lemon Loaf.” The goal is to recreate versions of childhood (and current!) favorites while making them nutritious so they make people FEEL good and energized even after enjoying a treat.
I’m blown away by the support and following I’ve encountered on my journey and can’t wait for what’s next! I’d love for my blog to continue to grow while I scale-up, and to serve as a place where people can go to be inspired, uplifted, and energized by new recipes, wellness tips, and more.
What message would you like to give to anybody who has a plan of creating something of their own and making a living through it?
It’s best to get to the root of what you’re passionate about first. It’s tough to scale something you aren’t personally convicted on, or that doesn’t serve a larger purpose. For me, my blog is a place that I would have needed two years ago, so I’m serving that girl. The one who was overwhelmed by her dietary restrictions, a bit lost and yet determined to create something of value to serve others.
Once you know what you want to create, be persistent. It takes a level of grit to keep at it every day — but passion fuels purpose!