Content creator Sasha Exeter on how she grows with her audience

Sasha Exeter started blogging in 2012 as a hobby, while recovering from a serious illness. Now she’s one of Canada’s most renowned content creators, has a loyal Instagram following and has collaborated with brands such as Joe Fresh, Clinique in Tetley.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with cars. The love was passed on from my dad, a business and design consultant, who also loves cars. When I was little, I thought it would be cool to be a mechanic. I once had dreams of working for a Formula One team. When I got older I started playing tennis and I went to college in the US with a full tennis scholarship. I started studying political science at Indiana State University and moved on to international business at Howard University in Washington, DC.

After graduating, I came to work for Imperial Tobacco, which I know is a strange choice for a former athlete. I moved to Stockholm, Sweden to do basic research on “snus”, a smokeless tobacco, which I helped launch on the Canadian market. Tobacco advertising has been restricted in Canada since 1997, so I learned how to market a product without being able to share it with the end consumer. What I learned from my six years in the industry is that if I can sell a product under those conditions, I can sell anything.

Unlike most content creators, who build their audiences very confidently, I stumbled upon this career by accident. I suffer from two chronic diseases, a kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and fibromyalgia. In 2012 I became very ill and was hospitalized for most of a year. I could not work and I had to sublet my apartment and go back to my parents in Pickering, Ont. I sat pretty much in bed the whole year after that, so I opened my laptop and started typing.

“I’m all about authenticity and sharing the journey of what’s happening in my life.”

I founded my blog, which was called, in 2012. Early on in my content was mostly one-time stories about product launches, putting together roundups of vintage outfits and gift guides. Two years after writing the blog, I revealed to my audience what I had been through with my chronic illnesses. That was a big turning point for me. When I decided to open up about my personal struggles and could be vulnerable to my audience, that was when I realized that the trajectory of what I was doing was really starting to change. I had more readers on my website, higher engagement and more followers.

I began to realize that blogging was something I could apply my professional expertise to – to sell myself essentially. I started developing covers and making pitches for clients. My first partnership was with Ann Taylor. I participated in their blogger ambassador program, which means I would place across the market in exchange for product and compensation. Since the beginning, I have focused on long-term collaborative relationships with brands instead of one-time ones. Most of the current brands I work with, such as Joe Fresh, Clinique and Activia, have been clients for five or more years.

Brands love that I can present them with a fully developed deck that outlines exactly what I will do, how it will improve their brand and how I can incorporate key product launches and marketing initiatives for the year into my content. One of my last collaborations involved in creating a custom teemix for Tetley. My dad comes from the Caribbean, and during the winter months, Caribbean people drink homemade ginger tea when they are sick or feeling unwell. I made a mixture of ginger-honey herbal tea because it makes me nostalgic for my childhood.

Social media today looks nothing like in 2012. I think I managed to retain my audience and stay relevant all those years because of my transparency. It’s all about authenticity and sharing the journey of what’s going on in my life, whether it’s my pregnancy, becoming a mother, having my heart broken by my children’s father, dealing with incredibly difficult mental health issues and if only the pandemic navigates older. If I had stayed in one job that embraced fashion and beauty, my audience might have flattened, but by focusing on my authentic self of the day, I can continue to grow and develop with the industry.

As a black woman, I had to work harder than my colleagues because of the color of my skin. Sometimes it was very difficult for me to even get into the room to have certain conversations. But in the past 19 months, with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining more support, it has really changed the landscape for people of color working in the creative space.

What I love most about my career is connecting with people I would never have met otherwise. I get so many messages every day about how opening up to my own mental health and chronic illnesses has inspired other people to dig really deep and face their own challenges. That really means a lot.

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