Meet Sasha Exeter - Creative Director of SoSasha.com
I'm a thinker. I have questions about so many things. When I learn about something new or intriguing, I always have questions. I need to learn more. Like Google and I have been in a serious relationship since T-Mobile offered me an unlimited data plan :)
All jokes aside, one of the cool things about BEHIND the BRAND interviews is I get to learn about peoples stories. Everyone has a story and I've been intrigued about Sasha Exeter's story since finding her on Instagram. There aren't many prominent fitness bloggers of color so to see someone who looks like me and is killing it in this industry is inspiring and of course...I have questions. Sasha was kind enough to allow me to ask a few questions and learn more about her.
Sasha Exeter is sharing her BEHIND the BRAND story of how she used rejection to create her own opportunities and become one of Canada's top bloggers!
Name & Title
Sasha Faith Exeter
Creative Director of SoSasha.com
What is SoSasha.com and what inspired you to start your blog?
SoSasha.com is a lifestyle blog with a heavy focus on fitness and wellness. The website is also a space where I am able to collaborate with brands to tell stories and share experiences with my followers. For years I was gaining success in my day job but was never fully happy with my life. My career was not fuelled by passion - which is always something I wanted for myself. I knew that I wanted to fuse my love and background in sports and fashion into a new career but each time I applied for jobs in this field I was repeatedly being told "No" because I didn't have functional experience in Sports Marketing or Fashion Business. I simply got tired of hearing the word "No" and decided to create my own opportunity and path to doing what I wanted to do and that was the main catalyst behind starting my blog.
But...I didn't start it right away. I became ill and had to take an extended leave from my job due to a chronic health issue. SoSasha.com started out of need to have an I was on bed rest and bored. I needed something to keep my mind and hands busy. I was doing a lot of research on my illness and was discovering alternative ways to treat my condidtion and thought now is the perfect time to launch SoSasha.com. It was not just a blog. It was something that gave me a sense of self-worth at a time when my company made feel worthless because of my sickness. Not only that, it allows me to motivate other women to push themselves and strive to achieve for their personal goals.
You have a background in athletics and are also a model, how do those two different roles play into your blog?
My background in tennis helps my life every single day. Having been introduced to sports at such a young age and playing at a high level, taught me the importance of hard work, perserverance and goal setting. All three of these things are imperative when you are a your own boss. Nobody is going to push you, but yourself. As for the modelling, actually the blog came way before any modeling opportunities, to be honest. There was never a point in my life where I thought modeling was something that I wanted to do but through SoSasha.com I have been giving amazing opportunities and doors have opened up that I never imagined would.
What's a typical day in life for you at SoSasha.com?
My days usually start anywhere between 5:30-7AM. I love getting emails and admin stuff done super early in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. A workout or a run follows shortly after. The bulk of my days are spent in client meetings, press previews and on conference calls with my agent. On the days that I am shooting, things can get a bit crazy as it can easily take 3-4 hours of my day. There’s occassionally a second workout in the evening and media events, but I generally like to be back at home to do more work by 8pm followed by some quality time with my boyfriend and puppy before bed.
Top three things you wish you know when you first started
Ha...this is a great question.
1) I wish someone told me how cut throat this blogging game was and to trust nobody. Anyone who knows me well can tell you I am a genuine, open and caring person, willing to help those around me when I can. But I learned the hard way more than a few times that most people aren't this way. In an industry that is so competitive, people will do just about anything to get ahead. Over the years I have pulled back a bit, kept more to myself and that has caused me less heartache and drama.
2) Brands and PR companies will try to take advantage of you. It's actually shocking some of the requests I get still to this day after doing this for almost 4 years. It's really challenging in the Canadian market. We are just so far behind the rest of the world. Brands and PR agencies want the world and then some but nobody wants to pay for it. I say no to more projects than I say yes to. I work extremely hard to produce the content on my social channels and website and when your blog is your full time job, it's important to be compensated for the work that's being put in on a daily basis. Knowing my worth and standing firm over the last year has helped me make the right decisions this past year.
3) Most importantly, I wish someone told me all about the hidden costs of blogging. People make the wrong assumption that it's all fun and we're spoiled with trips, free meals, clothes etc but starting a website (if you're taking it seriously) is no different than starting any small business. There are start-up costs and monthly costs that still to this day surprise me. I think that's why some many bloggers don't make it past the first year or two. They simply just can't keep up with the demands of having a blog that appears to be a well oiled machine all year round. In this industry, projects come in waves. There are great months and then things can get really, really slow to the point of almost desolation. During those slow times, you can't just stop producing content. The website still needs to be maintained and updated and social channels still need relevant and engaging content.
Top three tools/apps/technology you can't live without
2. Photo editing and Instagram content planning apps (Planoly, Unum, Snapseed, Facetune, VSCO and Perfect 365)
3. It's a tie for #3 - my MacBook Air and my Apple Watch
Since launching your blog, what's been the biggest surprise or something you didn't expect?
My biggest surprise since launching my site I think has to be how it's changed my personal life. I've traveled to places that I have never dreamed of going to and because I've been exposed to so much more - my bucket list has grown exponentially. I have formed new friendships with such amazing people I would have never intersected with if I never created SoSasha.com and I am eternally grateful for that. Most importantly, if it wasn't for my work with Nike Canada, I would never have met the love of my life, who used to be Nike Running Head Coach here in Canada.
What's the best advice you've received thus far?
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear!" - Truer words have yet to be spoken. Anytime I have had the balls to do something I was terrified to do, the reward for taking the risk and leap of faith had been huge!
Who's your professional crush & why?
Hannah Bronfman. I love women who work hard at work and work hard in the gym. She never makes excuses not to exercise. Even though she's running a couple of businesses and traveling the world DJ'ing and doing appearances, she always makes time to get her sweat on. She has created a strong brand on very similar principles as I have. And it's nice to see a woman of colour making her mark in an industry that is dominated by women that do not look like we do.
You've partnered with big brand such as Nike, Land Rover and recently Evian Water, so what can we expect for the rest of 2016?
I have a few amazing things on the docket this year but unfortunately not able to talk about them just yet, BUT I've just announced a partnership with LouLou Magazine her in Canada where I am sharing my personal style with their readers (and mine) every single day as part of the magazine's #366DaysOfLooks style series which is super exciting. You can check out my daily looks on louloumagazine.com/sashaexeter. As for what's next? You will have to just wait and see ;-)
Extra Credit: What's your source of motivation?
I have different sources of motivation. I work my ass off everyday to show other young woman there is no limit to what they can achieve, as long as they work hard for it. Also, after going through a health crisis for so many years I feel it's important to share my journey with the world in hopes I can inspire others to get through their dark times - even if it's just one person. When we are at a low point, whether it be physically or mentally, we all need that light at the end of the tunnel or beakon of hope that gets us through the tough periods. And knowing I could potentially be that person for someone else, makes me a happy girl!
I absolutely LOVE Sasha created her own opportunities! Being told no was motivation to create what she wanted. What's not to love about that?!
How do you turn your No into Yes? Share in the comments below!