Heidi Benham

It’s okay not to have a ‘job’ or be employed by someone else, as long as you have the ambition and drive to do what you love everyday, you can make it work.


Heidi Benham is founder of Aitch, design consultancy and co-founder and director of Form, the carbon negative fitness company. Form creates beautiful, sustainable and high-performance yoga mats and is one of the only makers of round yoga mats.

Prior to founding her two businesses, Heidi graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Information Experience Design. Following her graduation, she worked as a design consultant and then exhibition manager at a permanent exhibition space in London, focused on urban sustainability. Heidi has spoken at conferences around the world about the importance of both inclusive and sustainable design, and through both Form and Aitch, hopes to continue to promote the importance of design in creating a future that we can all, and want to, be a part of.

Where did the idea for Form come from?

Working alongside my partner in crime, Toby Marshman (co-founder of Form), we decided that a revolution was needed in the fitness industry. A revolution that could ensure that sustainable thinking, and design, is the standard and not the exception. An idea was formed: the carbon-negative fitness company.

We began to rethink some of the items used by people every day in the gym one of these being the yoga mat. With billions of people around the world taking part in a regular yoga practice, it became clear to us that this would be a good place to start – creating a yoga mat that is not only better for our own health but is also made of recycled materials, is durable and is bio-degradable at end-of-life. A healthier option for both us and the planet.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts at 6 am. I meditate, have a small snack and then go to the gym. I have breakfast, a coffee and then start work at around 8:30 am. Being active in the morning makes me far more productive throughout the day. I work from home or in local coffee shops. To stay focused, I do a breathing exercise at 12 pm and then have lunch. I try to read/watch a TED talk over lunch in order to fully take my mind off work and my to-do list. I work up until 6-7pm when I cook dinner and spend time with my family. I then wind down, either with a little yoga practice/stretch, watch Netflix, or both at the same time! At 9 pm I switch off all screens and technology and read until I fall asleep at 10 pm.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I write them in my journal or quickly sketch them up in Adobe Illustrator. If I have an idea, I find it best to get it out of my head and on to paper so that I can decide whether to explore it, or trash it!

What’s one trend that excites you?

The growing awareness of the need to be more sustainable, for the future of our planet.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Meditation. I used to suffer from anxiety and my stress levels were through the roof – this made it hard for me to put things in perspective and deal with the amount of work I had to do on a daily basis, without losing the plot! Since meditating daily, I am able to organise my thoughts, choose how I respond to situations and ensure that I live a more balanced, and thus more productive, life. I recommend it to everyone.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

It’s okay not to have a ‘job’ or be employed by someone else, as long as you have the ambition and drive to do what you love everyday, you can make it work.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Plan. Plan. Plan. Make a dream board, have your goals written out in front of you and review them every day. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to work at them every day – people are rarely successful by accident.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Taking time each week to work on my own personal professional development. During this time I do online courses, join communities online, meet/talk to other entrepreneurs and basically try to learn as much as possible. By constantly learning from other people, I am able to ensure that I work on the business not just in the business. If you can, get a mentor, even if just in book/video form! Pick someone you respect and admire and learn how they work, and what makes them successful.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One?!… Almost every day there is another challenge to overcome. So, I suppose my biggest failure was at the start when I underestimated how much resilience you have to have as an entrepreneur. I have overcome this by seeing failure as a good thing – you learn from your mistakes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Develop the first (commercial) martian watch – design for the future!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

My Fitbit. This helps me to keep my personal health and fitness as a daily priority.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it

Redbooth. This is an amazing (free!) tool you can use to plan your tasks ahead. Open it up each morning and you have your day planned with very little effort. You can use the calendar feature to oversee big projects or manage team projects.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Chimp Paradox “- Prof Steve Peters. The world would be unrecognizable if everyone read this book! Learn how to use your brain in the best way possible to ensure you achieve your goals.

What is your favorite quote?

The best way to predict your future is to create it – Abraham Lincoln

Key Learnings:

  • Take time every day to be still/mediate – it will transform how you use your most valuable tool – your brain. Read The Chimp Paradox. Prioritise your mental and physical fitness equally.
  • Get into a good routine. Daily habits help ensure that you perform tasks without much thought or willpower. Make new habits as important as brushing your teeth.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Success isn’t accidental, you have to plan and work for it.
  • Always be willing to learn from your mistakes/failures – don’t be afraid to make them – the sooner you do, the sooner you learn the lesson.
  • Visualise your goals everyday, the daily reminder of what you are working towards will motivate you and help you make the right decisions to get you there.


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