ON THE GO MEETINGS
Sonia Zarbatany is one organized mom, but she’s got to be
with a little one at home (and another one on the way), stepchildren she adores, plus a thriving fashion business that keeps her traveling several times a month, not to mention a busy social life with her husband and friends, she is constantly balancing her professional and personal lives. However, she manages to do it all.
This former inspirational speaker-turned-fashion mogul explained how she stays so organized, what she hates most about pregnancy, and why she absolutely loves owning her own business
Can you describe a typical day? Is there such a thing?
For me, a typical day is really hard because there’s nothing typical about my day. I wake up at 6am when my daughter hops into bed with us, we have a good cuddling session, and then it’s breakfast and getting ready for school and work. By 8:45 we’re out the door, I drop her off, and I’m off to work. I own different fashion brands and distribute them across Canada, so depending on the season my job varies. I travel a lot (once every two weeks) and attend all the shows in Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec), and all market shows in New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, and I also do the European shows in Berlin and Italy. And when I’m in town I get to the office and do everything from customer events to placing orders, making sure everything is delivered on time, and collection buys. Every month we launch collections as well.
And, as an influencer, I’m constantly contacted by different brands. Because I was a life coach and speaker I still get asked to speak on different stages for corporate and women’s events, so part of my day is spent looking over my speeches and preparing for that.
ON THE GO MEETINGS
What topics do you speak about?
For example, yesterday I did stories on women and how we deal with guilt and getting away from that.
Why do you still enjoy doing such public speaking engagements?
Because as women and a community, I want to make sure that I give back and make a difference for other people too.
So you schedule just about everything in your day. Do you ever throw caution to the wind and fly by the seat of your pants?
Totally – when I have openings in my schedule. It’s so great that I am so scheduled – it’s my life savior. Looking at calendar it’s crazy but it keeps me sane because I see exactly where everything is, but I’m always able to move things around.
What led you down this career path?
Fashion has always been a family business. From the age of 8, my dad owned Guess jeans in Canada, so I would go straight from school to the office and I had to learn from the bottom up. I filed paperwork, entered orders, made great coffee, until I proved myself. I started realizing what parts I became good at, and I developed a great eye to scout new brands and find what’s hot on the market and project what will be great for next season. I love forming relationships with customers too.
And how did you get involved in public and motivational speaking?
I wrote my very last exam in university and I got home and told my parents I was moving to LA because I got a great opportunity to act there. I got some acting and modeling jobs but it was not what I was passionate about. So, through personal development, I started to dig deep and see how to create change in people’s lives. I pushed the fashion aside for seven years and started to speak on different stages across the US. Audiences went from 500 to 1300, and before I went on stage, I would get the biggest adrenaline kick, and I loved it.
Does being a mother impact the decisions your make every day at work?
Completely. I grew up thinking that you had to be the first one in and the last one out, and to work nonstop, but I’m not like that. In fact, I’m the last one in and the first one to leave. My kids are my priority, my world. I’m fortunate enough to have an assistant as well as a great home office so I can be with my family more. Being a mother is so rewarding – it’s not about another business trip.
What do you do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I’m so all about that. It may seem like I don’t stop, but that’s my personality and what I love to do. But that’s another great thing about having your own business: you can have the lifestyle you want. It looks like I don’t stop, but on weekends, I’m all about going to my home up north in the country. I grew up in the country so, for me, I love being on the boat all day, wakeboarding, seeing our horses… that, to me, is the best. And giving that to our children is something really priceless. They can see we work hard during the week and on weekends we can turn off our phones and enjoy life.
What’s the best part about owning your business?
I get to work my own hours, and I am able to bring my daughter to the office. I hire people that I genuinely want to work with on a daily basis. I love to travel and my business gives me the freedom to do so, so I can pop in and out to New York for a few days. Owning my own business fits in with who I am. And I can grow my business as fast as I want without restrictions.
Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Get into action. I am approached by so many women who have these great ideas and businesses, but fear and life steps in and they don’t get into action. You can do it. Do your market research, do a competitive analysis, and figure out your target market. Really do the due diligence and research beforehand, and make sure that this is what you’re passionate about. If I could give you all the money in the word, would you still be doing it? Is it an inner drive knowing this is what you were meant to do?
You’re doing all this work and you’re expecting another baby… do you know what you’re having?
We’re having a baby boy and I’m due this July.
What bothers you most about being pregnant?
The unsolicited advice! I’m really into working out, not just for my physical appearance but it’s that one hour a day that I have to myself – every other hour is my business, kids, step kids, and my husband, so for one hour I work out really hard. I don’t think about emails or my to-do list – I just go and enjoy it. And I can’t stand when people say, “Maybe you should tone down your workouts.” It’s funny how some people give themselves the right to give advice when it’s not asked for. People will say things like, “You’re really small” or “really big” when you’re pregnant. As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Advice should only be given when someone is asking for it.
ON THE GO MEETINGS
What is your go-to dinner?
I like to cook healthy, so we’ll go for a good salmon burger with salad and quinoa.
What television series are you marathoning?
We started watching Billions and The Arrangement. Then my husband and I will mix it up with 20/20 or Dateline.
What was the last book you read?
I love reading and I love books. I’m currently reading Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans, and Head Strong by Dave Asprey.