Today we interview Sally Obermeder & Maha Corbett, sisters, TV presenters, cookbook authors and business babes from SWIISH.com. We chat all things work, life, family, health and finding balance amongst it all! Hope you enjoy their insights as much as I did!
What inspired your love for healthy living and the creation of SWIISH?
Sally: SWIISH began in the midst of my breast cancer battle. I decided that if I survived I wanted to be able to create a space where we could help women feel amazing inside and out. I wanted this in a way that was easy, accessible and affordable. That inspired the launch of the SWIISH website for Maha and I. From there the business has grown and evolved from a blog, to now our own SWIISH Wellness products, our fashion range, and also our cookbooks.
What is a typical day like for each of you?
Sally: I try and wake up around 6.00am to 6.30am and before I eat any breakfast I have a glass of our SUPERGREEN Superfood Powder. After the school and kindy drop off I head to SWIISH HQ. Together with Maha we order new stock, meet with the team, review upcoming marketing materials or work on strategy. At 11.00am I head into the Channel 7 studios. Between 11.30am and 2.00pm I’m in production meetings, doing voice overs and getting my hair and make-up done. I’m live on-air at 2.00pm and we finish at 3.00pm – then I head straight home for the school pick up. I spend the afternoon with the girls either hanging out at home or at the park. Once they’ve gone too bed, I usually get back online and do a few more hours of SWIISH emails.
Maha: I do my very best to do the Bondi to Bronte walk at least twice a week – there really is no better start to the day. I’m then usually at my desk by 8.00am at SWIISH HQ (with a collagen coffee), ready to take on the morning with Sal and the team before she heads to the Channel 7 studios at 11.00am. Once Sally leaves I focus on social media, marketing and other daily tasks with the SWIISH team.
In your eyes, what has made you successful?
Maha: I think it’s a love of failing – and I say that slightly tongue in cheek, but what I mean is that I never view anything as a failure. It’s a learning, it’s a lesson. There is always something great to come of it that you just can’t get any other way.
Sally: I think it’s my ability to work around things. I genuinely don’t hear the word no. All I hear is ‘not like this’ or ‘not now’, but never a flat out no. I just keep going and I work out a way around the issue. I call them speed humps.
How do you both stay motivated?
Maha: When I get personal responses from people telling me how much our SWIISH Wellness products have changed their life. Ever since Sally and I launched our SLEEP and GLOW Powders earlier this year, we are constantly inundated with comments, emails and Instagram messages from people raving about their glowing skin, improvement in sleep patterns, how their energy has increased or how their digestion has improved. It really makes us so happy that everyone is experiencing the same benefits we did! There really is no better motivation for me.
Sally: I am all about making a list. I know it sounds basic but even if it is only two or three big projects, write down what you are going to do and more importantly, how long it’s going to take. If you’re anything like me, you’ll write down 10 things and realise you only have enough time to complete two! I also recently heard this lovely quote – ‘when you start to get unhappy, get grateful’ – being grateful for how far you’ve come really is a big motivator for me.
What challenges have you faced throughout your careers?
Maha: I think the hardest part was just how much there was for us to do in the early days of SWIISH, when it was just Sally and I working in the business. We had a lot of late nights writing blog posts, teaching ourselves Photoshop, figuring out not just the content of the site and learning what our readers wanted to know about, and giving them our tips and tricks, but also working out how to turn what we were doing into a business. You’re in this situation where you’re trying to set up a business, get all of the infrastructure in place, get your product out there, build an audience, and you’re working late nights. It’s tough. You’re making so many sacrifices and you don’t have staff. The way we found our way was to just push through it – you have to accept that it is going to be like that. We invested our own money, which went toward hiring a part-time staff member to help us out and we didn’t pay ourselves for some time – so I think that comes back to the passion, dedication and persistence that is required. It actually does get easier and it does get better and you’re able to look back at those start-up headaches and growing pains, and you realise that once you’ve made it through those times you can see how far you’ve come – you almost look back on those times with nostalgia … almost!
How do you balance running your own business and social/family life?
Sally: I’d like to think that I’m no different to so many other mums and dads, I think we’re all just juggling lots of balls in the air and trying not to get knocked out by them when they come crashing down! Ha ha! How I manage the juggle varies based on the girls ages and their corresponding needs. They come first and foremost, so I work around that. I have an amazing husband, Marcus, and together we do it. But it’s not always easy. Unfortunately, there is always going to be someone who is unhappy. If you’re spending lots of time at home, then someone at work is unhappy. If you’re spending too much time at work, then someone at home is unhappy. It’s very hard. For a long time, I drove myself crazy trying to make this perfect set routine … now I’m like: ‘oh, I give up’ … I really just roll with each day as best I can.
Do you have any particular boundaries around work you adhere to?
Maha: I have Sundays off – that’s my no-go zone. After many years of working 7 days a week around the clock, I now have Sundays off no matter what. It helps me end the week well and start the week well.
Sally: My only boundary is that my girls come first – so I juggle whatever I need to do around them and their happiness. When they are happy I am happy, and I perform better at work and can think better about work.
What advice would you give to other women interested in improving their health?
Sally: It’s all about balance! Don’t beat yourself up over having some chocolate or having a bowl of pasta. The guilt is just as bad for you as ‘bad’ food. Start small; just change one small thing in your diet or in your exercise routine until it becomes a habit.
Maha: It’s not an ‘all or nothing’ approach. It’s about balance – nurturing your body with clean, lean, wholefoods 80% of the time, and then allowing yourself a little indulgence for the other 20%. I always say life’s too short not to have the chocolate tart.
What is the best health advice you’ve ever been given?
Sally: Small changes make a big difference. You can start small – but the key is to start! A SUPER EASY recipe for dinner, or a shot of SUPERGREENS in the morning. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.
Maha: Everyone longs to be healthy and happy and at the end of the day, what’s the point in working hard toward a long and healthy life if you can’t enjoy it? While focusing on a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating right is great for your body, balanced living means protecting your mental and emotional health, too. And stress reduction needs to be at the top of your to-do list. We all get bogged down with work and family responsibilities from time to time, but making time for yourself is necessary so that you can keep up with all your responsibilities. All batteries get run down, even yours, so one thing that I think is really important is to recharge and make commitment to enjoy some self-care and ‘you’ time. Even if it’s half an hour once a week, make that a non-negotiable – your time – just for you.
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