The Interview Series: Sarah of Sassy Red Lipstick
Happy Tuesday, friends! I feel like this entire year is seriously flying by. If you keep up with me on social media, you know that interviewing successful women who own businesses has been a primary focus point as we transition into our new website.
If you follow me, you also know that I'm all about community over competition and totally support females who run their own businesses in 2018 - because owning your own business is truly one of the most difficult jobs in the world. When Katie of Lola + Ivy offered to introduce me to Sarah Tripp of Sassy Red Lipstick, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity.
I've always adored Sarah and her husband and their amazing story. So often, I get questions from clients and bloggers who want to know how. How in the world do bloggers manage their blog as a business? What are their tricks? So, I figured what better way than to interview the blog to business status symbol herself - Sarah Tripp.
You've seen Sarah and her husband, Robbie, all over social media (@tripp & @sassyredlipstick) and recently, across media outlets. Sarah exudes a positive and friendly mindset that's all about body positivity. Her husband, Robbie, is incredibly supportive of her every move - which I find so incredibly endearing. They've worked together to build an empire of followers who love them for their style, their personality, and their honesty about building a brand. Sarah + Robbie are a true power couple!
Outside of continuing to grow Sassy Red Lipstick, Robbie is known for being an author, a writer, a public speaker, and an entrepreneur who's been featured on CNN, New York Times, NBC, and so much more. You can find his book Create Rebellion here. He even created Sarah's first website, takes photos for her, and works on the business aspect of SRL.
If you follow Sarah or Robbie, you know they recently went viral. This post in Women's Health and this post on Daily Mail shares all the details of what made them go viral and pretty much sums up why I adore them as a couple. I think we can all agree its refreshing to a see a couple support one another, drive one another, and ultimately build one another up.
So, without further adeau, read on to hear Sarah's story and how she manages her business.
I love the name Sassy Red Lipstick! How did you come up with it?
Thank you! Growing up, my mom always called me ‘Sassafras’, her quirky spin on my name. Also, being sassy has been a prominent personality trait of mine since i was a little girl haha. My love for lipstick began my freshmen year of college when I realized I could really pull off the look and how confident it made me feel. I had to start a blog for a class that year and the name just came to me, two things that make me who I am: lipstick and being sassy. In the past couple years as my blog has grown, people have just started calling me 'Sassy' as a nickname and I love it.
Did you ever go through a phase where your blog was more of a hobby than a business? What inspired you to take the leap to blogging full-time?
I'll be honest, my husband Robbie and I started my blog in college because we had big dreams for it. We always wanted to be exactly where we are today! Whereas I hear of a lot of bloggers saying they started their blogs just for friends and family and then it grew into something bigger, my intention was just to create my own career in fashion! I always knew I wanted to work in fashion and that's why I graduated in Advertising and thought I'd work for an agency. Being able to create my own brand and be an entrepreneur has definitely had more ups and downs than I ever imagined but it's always worth it at the end of the day.
Have there been any "pinch me" moments? Any special brands you've always dreamed of working with and were able to do so through your blog?
Most definitely! I remember the first time Nike reached out for a campaign, Robbie and I were danced around the room it was so exciting. It doesn't get much bigger than that. Another special partnership I really value is my relationship with Aerie. Their message of body positivity is right in line with everything I want to do with my platform and I love promoting campaigns that encourage self-love, confidence, and female empowerment. I've been very fortunate to work with some incredible people at incredible brands.
Did you think your Advertising degree has aided you in your journey? If so, how do you feel it's helped you?
No doubt about it! Being familiar with a creative brief and communicating with brands is what I did all throughout college for my degree, and my career now is just a real-life continuation of that! I've met successful bloggers from all different backgrounds so at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what you studied but I still wholeheartedly believe it gave me a big boost from the beginning to have that knowledge and experience.
Describe your style in three words.
Feminine, confident, and... sassy! I've always gravitated to the pinks and reds, the delicate details and softer tones. Blair Eadie, Julia Engel, and Rach Parcell were the first fashion blogs I followed because I really connected with their very refined, feminine style. As I grew older I definitely started to throw a little more "edge" in there as I learned to dress for my curvy figure and accentuate it through my style.
Have you ever received advice you felt to be super valuable in life or business? What is it?
I had the opportunity to meet and sit down with Gwyneth Paltrow at an event here in the Bay Area a while ago and she said something that always stuck with me: "Don't look sideways, look forward." Meaning, don't worry about what "the competition" is doing, worry about what you are doing. It is so easy in the blogging industry to compare, and on social media in general, and it can become quite fake and catty and vain sometimes. I've always had to remind myself that everyone is on their own path and your success might look different from someone else's success. I'm not perfect at this and sometimes I get down, but Robbie has always been so great to remind me to keep my head up, forget the background noise, and focus solely on what we've built together.
What would you tell 15 year old Sarah? Any advice?
I would say that it's okay to not look the same as other girls. I always was a little curvier than the other girls (I was the first to have boobs and wear a bra) and I was fortunate to always have pretty good self-esteem, but there were a lot of moments where I realized that most guys went for a certain body type and that I didn't have it. I would tell 15-year-old Sarah that she is curvy and beautiful and strong and that one day she will have so many amazing role models that look like her, killing it in the fashion industry and breaking down barriers.
Who/what inspires you to work harder?
When I see other boss babes building their empires and pushing boundaries, I get so inspired! I love Reese Witherspoon and how she's created a production company that is just killing it. I love Lauren Conrad and love how she was able to build a successful lifestyle brand. I'm so inspired lately by Julia Engel and her incredible Gal Meets Glam collection. It's a great time to be a female entrepreneur!
What would you say is the most challenging thing about blogging as a business?
Finding balance! The average person who works a 9-5 job in an office has a very clear schedule when they are "on" and when they are "off." They can fulfill their duties and then relax when they are finished. But when your life is your personal brand and your brand is your career, it all becomes the same thing. We've had to make peace with the fact that our regular daily lives are our career, which means we are kind of always working. Vacations are work because we are shooting content around the clock for the hotel/event, and being home is filled with catching up on endless emails. It's a never-ending cycle and it can swallow you up if you let it. Robbie and I will be on our laptops/phones from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed and that can be very exhausting. Always being plugged in can help you get a lot done but it also isn't super healthy mentally or even physically. We are constantly having to remind ourselves to take a breath and find a balance. We're not perfect at it but we're getting better.
What would you say are the positives and negatives of working with Robbie on SRL? What tasks does he handle?
It's all positive! Robbie and I feel very lucky to be able to work alongside each other and witness one another's successes. We love spending time together so it's perfect for us that we get to do it for our career. We started SRL together when we were dating in college and I couldn't have done it without him. I had wanted to start my own fashion blog for years but never had the encouragement or know-how to do it. Anyone who knows Robbie knows he is all about chasing your dreams, no matter how crazy, and throwing yourself into what you're passionate about. He's the one who created my first site, took my first photos, and has been instrumental in running the business end of Sassy Red Lipstick. Sure, it's not always easy to work alongside your spouse every minute of every day and we definitely get into disagreements about the business but that's just part of the game. At the end of the day, we always support one another and that's what is most important.
It's so crazy that what was meant to be a sweet body positivity post ended up being a viral takedown on Robbie! How did you handle those who added a negative spin to it? Do you have any advice for dealing with internet trolls?
Robbie has written extensively about dealing with hate on social media and is currently in serious talks with publishers about a book he's writing on the same topic! It's really disappointing to see the very negative bullying and trolling that happens on social media these days and we just choose to focus on the positives. We are lucky to have so many amazing, supportive followers we've gained over the years. We received so much love and positivity from people all over the world because of the viral post and that's because they saw it for what it was: a heartfelt tribute from a husband to his wife. The reason it went viral in the first place is because so many women and men connected with Robbie's sweet words about me. People are always going to have their opinions but I just feel sorry for people who feel the need to take something purely positive and turn it into something negative.
Did anything positive come out of going viral?
The heartfelt messages we received from women and men all over the world meant so much to Robbie and I. It was so sweet to see women commenting things like "she looks just like me!" or seeing boyfriends tagging their girlfriend to say "this is exactly what I think about you!" Going viral was a whirlwind but in the end it brought so many loving and supportive people our way and we love having them around to this day. We know we wouldn't able to do what we do without our amazing communities on Instagram and we appreciate each person!
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?
I definitely want to create a size inclusive clothing line that features some of my favorite styles and helps women feel confident. Robbie and I would also like to create more video content and look forward to tackling that in the years to come. We definitely want to start a family soon and buy a home and are excited for that next chapter in our life!
Side note: the opening video on Sarah's youtube channel is literally everything. You can view it here.
Even in 2018, people still scoff at the idea of blogging being a full-time business, even though we've proven time and again how lucrative the online editorial world is. What would you say to those people who don't take your profession seriously? How do you handle them?
It is funny how in 2018 there are still a lot of people who don't understand how blogging is a legitimate career that takes a lot of work and a ton of time. I don't really concern myself with people who scoff at this industry filled with incredible female entrepreneurs, I prefer to uplift and inspire others who genuinely want to learn more and help other women succeed.
I truthfully believe in community over competition. Having other women on your team, so to speak, who support you and encourage you can make all the difference in our lives. Have you met other bloggers who have aided in your journey in one way or another? I'd love to hear who and how they've inspired you!
This is a huge part of what I'm about and I totally agree! Again, this industry can get so catty at times and I've always tried to stay out of that. I've learned to have a small circle of close girlfriends and support each other through thick and thin. I have a few ladies in my life who I know I can count on and that means the world to me. I've definitely had to learn the hard way that cutting out negative people is a necessary step to being successful. When you surround yourself with other ambitious and positive people, it makes your journey so much better.
the fun facts
Favorite nightcap drink?
Robbie and I don't drink so I would have to say a bowl of Tillamook ice cream is our nightcap! haha. We cycle through our two favorite flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip and Oregon Strawberry.
Favorite date night spot with Robbie?
Our favorite restaurant here in San Francisco is called Straw. It's all carnival-inspired food that is high quality and so tasty. Corn dogs with raspberry dipping sauce, mac and cheese with apple bits, fish bowl drinks for the whole table, and best of all... the donut burger! It's such a cool restaurant and we always take friends and family whenever they are in town.
It's the weekend - what are you doing?
If it's up to me: laying in bed snuggling with Robbie, binging a Netflix show, and eating Bob's Donuts. That's pretty much the perfect weekend for me. When you travel so frequently, the real vacation is being in your own bed with nowhere to be and nothing to do.
Sweet or salty?
This is tough! I feel like I'm constantly balancing this out: if I eat something sweet, I'm usually searching for something salty shortly after. If I had to choose, I would go with sweet! I've got quite the sweet tooth and always have. Hi-Chews Sours are my all-time go to.
Blogger you look up to?
Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific. I would say I am most inspired by her style because it's just so feminine and chic and I'm convinced there's nothing she doesn't look fabulous in. I really respect her fashion sense. Even better, I met her at NYFW last year and she was so nice. It always makes me happy when you meet your role models and they are just as nice as you'd hope they'd be.
If you could choose one other career path outside of blogging, what would it be?
A dolphin trainer! haha. I was obsessed with dolphins growing up and had a whole notebook of dolphin facts I would print off the internet. I love being in the water and could stay in a swimsuit all day long.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I'd love to go to the Maldives! The clear, blue water and the cute huts in the middle of nowhere would be so relaxing. I would love to just unplug and relax in the water for a week.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. I've read so many books about my favorite designer and am so inspired by the fact that she was a true revolutionary. My Chanel pieces mean so much more to me than just accessories, they're part of a legacy of creativity and breaking the barriers for women in fashion.
photo courtesy of Alexis Exstrom
I think its safe to say these two are an incredible influence to others wanting to break into the blogging business. Thank you so much, Sarah + Robbie, for taking the time to chat with me!
You can keep up with Sarah + Robbie on www.sassyredlipstick.com and also on instagram @sassyredlipstick and @tripp.