A girl after our own hearts with a love of all things sun and fun, Sylvie Esmundo is managing not one but two busy and booming careers. By day she is an E-commerce Merchandiser at Williams-Sonoma Inc. and by night she shares her musings on motherhood, travel, food and fashion on her incredibly successful blog, Sylvie in the Sky. We love that Sylvie approaches life with her two littles as one big adventure and believes in good ‘ol hard work to create a life that is both full and fulfilled. Read on to find out what inspired her to tackle two simultaneous careers, her secret to her happy family life and where she would hang in SF on a rare morning off.
You’ve got a unique perspective on your blog, Sylvie in the Sky. Tell us more about how it all began.
I started blogging a long time ago, back in 2006, as a living journal of everything that inspired me – music, fashion, books, art, travel, getting married – and chronicles of my 20-something life. I paused for almost 2 years between getting married and having our son, Theo. Then, once I became a mother, I felt reinvigorated to start a new chapter of storytelling from a West Coast style scout meets working mother point of view. There are a lot of mom bloggers and lifestyle bloggers out there, but not many that I truly related to, and very few Asian – let alone Filipino – ones. I wanted to be able to share my stories and hopefully be a source of inspiration and guidance for other mothers like me.
What was the tipping point that really took you from daydreaming to knowing you wanted to take action and turn your passion into a business?
Right around the time my audience had reached a noticeable size, I read this Harvard Business Review article about the benefits of having 2 careers. Up until then, I always thought you had to choose one or the other, never both. And reading this article made me realize that pursuing the influencer career made me happier and more focused in my day job, which sounds like the complete opposite of what you would think would happen with 2 full time jobs. I love both, they complement each other well, and they’ve helped me grow as a businesswoman and digital marketing strategist.
You now have over 152K followers on Instagram. Was there a certain post and/or period of time you can point to where you really started to grow your following?
It was about 2 years ago – I had been a contributing editor for a few websites (POPSUGAR, Momtastic) and began to be mentioned or featured in articles on MyDomaine, POPSUGAR, Wells Fargo Small Business, Mother Mag -and since those articles have my social handles in the byline or in the articles, people started following me more and more. Then, when large and small brands started reposting my content, the growth accelerated and has been steadily growing ever since.
What are your thoughts on the rise of the micro-influencer and how do you see that changing your business?
I think there’s more than enough room for all kinds of influencers. Having worked on the brand/business side of influencer marketing as well, I know every brand looks for different strengths in their influencers – location, ethnicity, family life, expertise, etc – regardless of size. But above all, the diversification of the influencer market makes it more important than ever for influencers to build a clear point of view for their personal brand, quality imagery, engaging written stories, and two way conversations with their audiences.
How do you manage the sheer volume of engaging in an authentic way with your followers? Do you have any apps, hacks or assistants?
No assistants but this is how I do it – in the morning before the kids wake up and in the evening once they’re asleep, I’ll scroll through my feed and like and comment along the way. I respond to all the comments on my posts and stories once I see them. And I’ll click through my all time faves and friends and catch up on their latest posts. Trying to do it all at one time is too much and so overwhelming! Engaging and connecting with my audience is one of the best parts for me – so I try to do it in small doses.
How has becoming a mama influenced how you approach your career?
Becoming a mama has motivated me to be present and focused for each part of my life, especially in my career. I’ve also evolved and put less pressure on my career to be a large piece of my identity, since there are new tiny humans that need me to be a mother for them. I’m not leaning out nor leaning in…I’m firmly rooted, face in the sun, enjoying and grateful for every moment I’ve been given both at work and at home.
Now that we are up and running in SF, we’re on the hunt for great places to check out. If you had a day to wander anywhere in the Bay Area where would you go?
I’m partial to my beachside Outer Sunset and Inner Sunset hoods…Outerlands for Brunch, Andytown for Snowy Plover coffees, Izakaya Sozai for ramen, maitake mushroom tempura w/truffle salt, and all the Japanese tapas, Ocean Beach – Kelly Cove side for a beach picnic, Hook Fish Co for heavenly fish tacos, ceviche, and guacamole, and Tunnel Records for vintage vinyl and rad local goods. Beyond the Sunset – Boba Guys for the Strawberry Matcha Boba, Dirty Horchata Boba, and Black Sesame Boba, Tartine Bakery for the bread pudding, morning bun, and all the pastries, La Taqueria for the best tacos, Mister Jiu’s for the coolest restaurant in Chinatown (Brandon is an old friend and he’s insanely talented), and Whitechapel for impressive gin cocktails and British inspired decor.
You’re a heymama ambassador (yay!). Why do you think it’s empowering for women to work together? What have you learned most by working with other women?
We nurture, empower, and inspire unconditionally. We celebrate each other, build on ideas to take them from good to awesome, and we have the capacity to balance it all in ways that most men just can’t. I’ve been lucky in my career to work for incredible female leaders who have shown me how to navigate and advance in the business world and all the aggressive personalities with ferocity and grace. They showed me how to be confident and authentic, and that holds true for me today.
3 pearls of wisdom
You CAN take the kids with you - Lots of people think you give up a lot once you have kids. You can’t go here, you can’t do that. Not in my parenting book. The kids go where we go (except date nights, girls nights out, etc), and life is way more fun for everyone.
First, Love - Aim for monthly date nights, even if it’s at home, keep laughing together and do NOT talk about the kids. Having a solid bond with my husband has been the bedrock of our family.
Me First - Self care is a saving grace, and even 5-10 minutes of yoga, beach walk, meditation, music or dance, reading, cup of your favorite tea, makes the day so much better.