Mom to Maxwell, 22 months // Brand Storyteller at SoSasha.com

Written by Jessica Gedge // Photographed by Joelle Segal

Meeting someone that you follow on social media is tricky, right? Maybe that person just isn’t who they portray at all. Maybe they ARE the living embodiment of what you see on the ‘gram, but then come across as extremely manufactured. Sasha Exeter wasn’t either of these. We’ve been following this woman for a while now and love her focus on health, family and retaining her identity as an individual throughout parenthood. Meeting her in person, and hearing her story, just reaffirmed that this lady is a POWERHOUSE. And we cannot neglect the fact that her daughter, Maxwell, is simply too cute for words (but okay if we had to use words – adorable, sweet, charming, spunky…) Dive into Sasha’s world and hear about how a life-altering change in her twenties influenced her journey.

Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture.

My entrepreneurial venture is my lifestyle website, SoSasha.com that started off as a cathartic, creative outlet that ended up turning into a business and brand. I get to work with all the tier one companies I would have died to work for as an employee, but do it by way of sharing my experiences through brand collaborations. I’m also lucky enough to do some consulting for some well known brands.

How did SoSasha.com come to life?

This venture started much differently than most would imagine. I was on the corporate fast track shortly after graduating from university in the United States. I had some pretty interesting gigs within sales, then branding and marketing – however an illness that I was diagnosed with in my early twenties returned and hit me full force, requiring me to take an extended leave of work for over 1.5 years (without pay may I add). I had a lot of time to think during that time, as you would probably imagine, and after what felt like forever laying on bed rest, I started to think that it was time I took charge of my life and health and do the things I really want to do.

What is your favourite part of your business and why?

Gosh, there is so much that I love about my job and these things have changed over the years as my content and brand have evolved. With the landscape of content creation and social media changing so much in the last few years, it means that parts of my job have evolved also. But in short, I love traveling and I get to do quite a bit of that. I love that I am able to go on adventures (real or proverbial) and get to share my experiences and stories with people. I LOVE that my personal journey from someone who was suffering from a debilitating illness to one who is living the fullest life possible can inspire other people. I enjoy being able to use what little influence I have to shed light on matters and subjects some people may not have been aware of.

What advice have you received that really resonated with you?

To remember to celebrate my wins. Big wins. Small wins. All wins basically. We all have a tendency to downplay our accomplishments if they seem less than extraordinary but it all needs to be recognized and celebrated. I find that it helps keep my head in the game and motivated.

Who inspires you?

I feel super lucky enough to have some pretty phenomenal women in my life that inspire me. My (late) grandmother was my biggest inspiration and even after her passing, she still inspires me every single day. A woman with only a 6thgrade education and widowed in her late twenties found her way from the tiny island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines all the way to Toronto, Canada with no money and eight children to take care of. She put herself through school and worked her ass off in three jobs as a nurse. She never complained. She never cried. She knew everything. She could solve anything. She was my rock. She was everyone’s rock. My grandmother was the strongest woman I know. I feel insanely privileged to have her blood running through my veins.

What does your typical day look like?

I’m usually awake between 6-6:30am. If Maxwell is still asleep then I like to get a head start on some emails and have some quiet time for myself but she’s usually up between 6:30 and 7am. The morning is pretty much dedicated to her until our nanny comes, unless I am on set and have a super early call time. We eat breakfast together and go for a long walk with the dog. During the summer months we go out on the balcony and hang in the sun. I also like to start the day off with some stretching and meditation. For some reason Maxwell has really taken a liking to stretching which I find hilarious. She will be out there with me on a yoga mat doing her own thing.

From 10:30 until about 4:30 is when I lock down for work. I book all my meetings and shoots during this time. When I am not out and about, I’m either plugging away on my laptop in my home office or in a shared workspace. I also try to fit in a workout or run during the lunch hour if it didn’t happen in the morning. I mean, there are a lot of days where I am on set for 11 hours at a time or working late on projects but I try to have a good balance.

Maxie time is again from 5-7pm, which often ends up being a dance party to Beyoncé’s Homecoming tour concert, running a couple of errands or going out to dinner. Yes, even on a weekday with a toddler. Once she’s down and I’ve had dinner, it’s my last ditch attempt to get through a few extra emails or get organized for the next workday. That reminds me, I need to still send a handful emails and put my clothes in the dryer or else I will have nothing to wear tomorrow!

With your busy schedule, how do you carve out time for yourself?

I’ve had to learn to set boundaries for myself the hard way. Working crazy hours in stressful jobs did not help my health situation at all. Once I started to navigate myself to a space where I was feeling healthier, I decided that the most important act of self-care I needed to practice was to take time for myself. It seemed a bit odd at first, and selfish, if I’m being honest with you, but nobody else is going to take care of me the way I do. That often means, saying “no” to attending some events/parties, turning down a job, not having my inbox completely empty before I go to sleep at night. Putting the “Do Not Disturb” feature on my phone every night at 9:30pm. When things are crazy busy with work, I have to sometimes go as far as carving this time out in my calendar to ensure I do it. Luckily, my “me time” is often my workouts.

How do you stay organized?

This question could not have been timelier. I am currently in the midst of organizing my life here at home. It’s been a complete clusterf*ck over the last 9 months. My home office has been a disaster for more months than I would like to admit and it got so bad that it became a challenge to work in it. I have meticulously de-cluttered all the packages and products and it’s looking more like a place where I can be productive. I have just hired a Project Manager that is going to assist me with keeping larger projects organized and rolling smoothly. The missing puzzle to staying organized is finding the right PA and then I think I will be in a very good place.

XO SNAPSHOT WITH SASHA

What is your daily uniform?
Some activewear/whatever I plan on wearing to workout in that day or high-waisted denim and a white tee.

What Instagram accounts do you have a crush on?
@valerialipovetsky
@scoutthecity
@kahlanabarfield
OBSESSED. I know them all but still crush over them daily. They are all intelligent, strong, classy business-women who are also mamas with the best style.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
The Obamas. I know that’s two but there is no way I would want to meet one without meeting the other.

What’s in your purse?
The “what’s in my purse” game is a fun one isn’t it. Well, let’s see…right now the YSL bag I used earlier today has my iPhone charger, a lipgloss (Charlotte Tilbury’s Latex Love in Dirty Dancer), four pens (I have no idea why there are so many pens in this bag right now), Trident chewing gum, embarrassingly a pile of receipts for expenses, my airpods, two tampons because I just need that kind of safety at all times, a pack of Fisherman’s Friend lozenges, and cbd oil.

Do you have a go-to dinner recipe?
I love a trifecta meal – simple, healthy and quick. We eat red meat a couple times a week and we also enjoy our fair share of fish. I usually pan sear mine in a cast iron pan and after years and years finally learned to cook salmon fillets to perfection. Both are super easy to whip up at home with sautéed veggies. Oh, and I love to make lasagna too.

What are 3 books you would recommend on either parenting or entrepreneurship/business or both?
I did not really go crazy with parenting books when I got pregnant with Maxwell. Well, we bought about 4 or 5 that still remain in the Indigo shopping bag somewhere in the house. However, I did pick up a copy of The Contented Baby Book when I was about six weeks postpartum, recommended by my neighbour and it was a super useful book in regards to teaching me the importance of routine for newborns. It alleviated a lot of anxiety because I had no clue what I was doing. The routine made it easier for me to travel with her at a young age and start sleeping training. Two other books that I recently picked up ironically are geared towards mamas. Lisa Canning’s, The Possibility Mom which I am almost finished reading. I mean who better than a mom of seven to share insight on how to juggle work and home life? Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths is another recent purchase that I can’t wait to dive into.

There are of course a ton of business books that I have read over the years but to be honest, right now what resonates with me are books that are going to help better me at both my jobs, because being a Mother is one of the hardest gigs ever.

What’s on your playlist right now?
Anything Diplo, Major Lazer or Beyoncé

What are your favourite – skincare, makeup, office tools, software?
I love so many things. This is why my home office needed that overhaul. I desperately needed a space to organize all my makeup and beauty products because my bathrooms just don’t have enough space.  Here is a short list of the things that I am currently obsessing over:
any Charlotte Tilbury lipstick or lipgloss
YSL Beauty Blur Primer
• Glow Recipe’s Avocado Night Mask
Shhh Silk pillow cases (they help keep your hair and skin soft while you sleep)
Amandine Botanicals Inner Glow Face Oil (a new Canadian brand. I love supporting local businesses)
Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
Moroccanoil Night Body Serum
• Dove’s Exfoliating Body Polish
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores bronzing powder

I consider my iPhone an office tool. I always keep my phone devices up to date when the newest phones come out. It sounds crazy but the camera and lens on my phones get so much usage that you can start to see it in the quality of the photos. I also rely heavily on some phone editing apps as I do snap a lot of images on the go to use on my social channels and website sometimes, so I need to be able to edit on the fly. I love using both Darkroom and Snapseed.

What is your childcare situation?

Maxwell isn’t in daycare. We opted to not have her to one right now. I did some research and really didn’t find any that I loved. Because both of our jobs are very flexible and we don’t go into an office, we figured we didn’t really need to force the whole daycare sitch but that meant we had to be on the hunt for a nanny. It was a painful, tedious and long process – weeding and trialing out candidates – but we ended up finding the most amazing woman to help us with Maxwell. They are absolutely in love with each other and it’s such a beautiful bond to watch. Emma is with us during the block of time that I have set aside to work Monday to Fridays and often stays later if I need her to. I get questions a lot about whether I think it’s a bad idea to not have her in school, you know to help her socialize with other kids her age, but I am not worried about that at all.

What are the challenges you face as a parent and entrepreneur?

I think some of the toughest challenges are finding balance, taking vacation time for the family, and saying no to certain opportunities. When you’re self-employed you feel you need to be on and working all the time. The emails don’t stop and there is always an opportunity presented that can take you away from time that has been set-aside for family. Taking vacation or sick days for myself when I am ill is hard because I know if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

Has parenting changed the way you run your business, or vice versa?

100%. I mean, I was always conscious on the brands I partnered with and the messaging I put out there but after becoming a mother and having a little girl, I felt even more responsible in regards to who I collaborate with and more importantly, the topics discussed – especially around body positivity and inclusivity in media.

The term ‘Social Media Influencer’ tends to be thrown around a lot these days. Sasha stands out as one of the true Influencers for moms who want to be inspired to be the best versions of themselves – she is living her life in a truly authentic way and using her platform to create a positive impact in a space where there can be so much negativity. She’s built a strong community by not just portraying, but really being true to, the strength, integrity and beauty of what it is to be female entrepreneur in today’s world. Follow along over at her blog hereInstagramTwitter, or Facebook. And if you want more stories like Sasha’s delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter here.