Interview: Work and Life with Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett


Today we interview Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett of SWIISH.com, sisters, TV shows, cookbook writers and business. Let's talk about balancing everything, life, family, health and everyone! I hope you enjoy their knowledge as much as I do!

What motivated your love for a healthy lifestyle and the creation of SWITZERLAND?

Sally: SWITZERLAND began in the middle of my breast cancer battle. I decided that if I survived, I wanted to create a space where we could help women admire themselves inside and out. I wanted it in a way that was simple, accessible, and affordable. This inspired the launch of the SWIISH website for Maha and I. From there, the business has grown and evolved from a blog, now into its SWIISH Wellness products, to our fashion selections and also to our cookbooks.

What a typical day for all of you?

Sally: I try to wake up around 6.00am to 6.30am and have a glass of our SUPERGREEN Superfood Powder before eating breakfast. After leaving school and kindly leaving, I head to SWIISH headquarters. Together with Maha we order new stocks, meet with the team, review future marketing materials or develop a strategy. At 11 am I head to Kanal 7 Studios. Between 11.30am and 2pm, I attend producer meetings, voice over, and hair and make-up. I live on air at 2pm and finish at 3pm – then head straight home after school. I spend the afternoon hanging out with girls at home or in the park. Once they have gone to bed, I usually get back online and do a few more hours of SWIISH emails.

Down: I do my best to walk to Bondi Brontes at least twice a week – really there is no better start to the day. Then I'm usually at my desk at 8am at SWIISH headquarters (with collagen coffee) ready to go home in the morning with Sal and the team before heading to Channel 7 at 11am. When Sally leaves, I will focus on social media, marketing and other daily tasks with the SWIISH team.

What has made you successful?

Down: I think it's the love of failure – and I say it's a little cheeky, but I mean, I never see anything as a failure. It's learning, it's a lesson. There is always something nice to come that you just can't get otherwise.

Sally: I think that is my ability to handle things. I really can't hear the word no. All I hear is "not like this" or "not now" but never. Just keep going and do it around the road. I call them the Desert.

How do you both stay motivated?

Down: When I get personal answers from people telling me how much our SWIISH Wellness products have changed their lives. Ever since I brought Sally and our SLEEP and GLOW powders to the market, we have been constantly inundated with comments, emails and Instagram messages telling people about their shiny skin, their sleep problems, how their energy has increased, or how their digestion has improved. It really makes us so happy that everyone gets the same benefits as us! There is no better motivation for me.

Sally: I'll make a list. I know it sounds basic, but even if it's just two or three big projects, write down what you're going to do and more importantly how long it will take. If you are something like me, write down ten things and realize that you only have enough time to complete two! I also recently heard this lovely quote – "if you're going to be unhappy, be grateful" – that I'm grateful for how far you've come is a great motivator for me.

What challenges have you faced throughout your career?

Down: I think the hardest part was just how much we needed to do in the early days of SWITZERLAND when Sally and I worked for the company. We had a lot of late nights writing blog posts, teaching Photoshop ourselves, devising and learning what our readers wanted to know, giving them tips and tricks, and figuring out how to make a difference. You are in a situation where you are trying to start a business, get all the infrastructure in place, bring your product there, build an audience, and work late at night. It is hard. You sacrifice so much and you have no employees. The way we found it was just to push it through – you have to accept that it will be like that. We invested our own money that went into hiring a part-time worker to help us and we haven't paid for some time – so I think it will come back with the necessary passion, commitment and persistence. In fact, it gets easier and better, and you can look back at those onset headaches and growing pains and realize that once you've gone through these times, you see how far you've come – you look back to those times with almost nostalgia … almost!

How can you balance the management of your business with your social / family life?

Sally: I'd like to think I'm no different from so many other moms and dads, I think we all just juggle balls in the air and try not to hit them when they get down! Ha ha! How I handle a juggler depends on the age of the girls and their respective needs. They come first and foremost, so I'm working on it. I have an amazing husband, Marcus, and together we do it. But it's not always easy. Unfortunately, there is always someone who is not unhappy. If you spend a lot of time at home, someone at work is unhappy. If you spend too much time at work, someone is unhappy at home. It's very difficult. For a long time, I was going crazy trying to change that perfect routine … Now, it's like, "Oh, I'm giving up" … I roll every day just as well as I can.

Do you have any specific boundaries at the job you stick to?

Down: I have Sundays outside – this is my no-go zone. After working long hours 7 days a week for many years, I now have Sundays anytime. It helps me finish the week well and get off to a good start.

Sally: My only limit is that my girls come first – so I juggle everything I have to do around them and their happiness. If they are happy, I will be happy and work better and think better about work.

What advice would you give to other women who are interested in improving their health?

Sally: It's all in balance! Don't beat yourself up for chocolate or a bowl of pasta. Guilt is as bad for you as bad food. Start small; just change one little thing in your diet or exercise routine until it becomes a habit.

Down: This is not an all-or-nothing approach. It's about balance – boosting your body with clean, lean and healthy foods 80% of the time, and then allowing yourself to give up the rest 20%. I always say life is too short for a chocolate bar.

What is the best health claim you have ever been given?

Sally: Small changes make it important. You can start small – but the key is to start! SUPER SIMPLE recipe for dinner or morning amps SUPERGREENE. Efficiency doesn't have to be complicated.

Down: Everybody wants to be healthy and happy, and after all, what is the point in striving for 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, a balanced life also means protecting your mental and emotional health. And stress reduction must be at the top of the to-do list. We all face work and family responsibilities from time to time, but you need to make time to keep up with all of your responsibilities. All the batteries are exhausted, even yours, so the one thing that really matters to me is charging and allowing you to take care of yourself and spend your time. Even if it's half an hour once a week, make it your leisure time – just for you.

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