How I Made It

Sasha Tong, Indie Perfumer

FLARE #HowIMadeIt celebrates 100+ talented, ambitious and driven Canadian women with cool jobs. Want what Sasha has? Here's how she did it

Sasha Tong posing with long dark hair

Sasha Tong; Toronto; @lostandfoundapothecary

Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?

I’d say I’m a career multi-hyphenate: I’m a senior segment producer at eTalk, a fashion and beauty columnist on, a podcaster on Sasha Answers and the founder of a new perfume line called Lost & Found Apothecary.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I graduated from the University of Victoria where I studied psychology.

What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)

My first paying gig was retail. After that, I set my sights on TV production and on a whim, moved to London, England. My first job there was a production assistant for MTV UK in the movies department.

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

My real big break was actually a breakthrough, and it happened when my health hit rock bottom. About three years ago, my body waved the white flag and gave up on me and I felt very alone, very scared, but I knew I needed to find some joy again. On a lark, I took a perfume workshop, and as cheesy as it sounds, something just clicked. I started to feel happiness bubble up inside me again and through this process I was able to not only make something, but also make myself feel better and that was the start of Lost & Found Apothecary.

Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?

At first, I was a bit nervous putting these scents out into the world because they felt so personal but I’ve been so fortunate since the brand has had such overwhelming support right off the bat.

What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

My biggest shortcoming is not knowing when to take a time-out. I’ve seen how my body reacts when I burn out and it’s not cute for me or anyone else around. I’ve learned how to set boundaries, whether it’s not looking at emails past 8 p.m. or carving out a 10-minute break in the day to just close my eyes and breathe. I now, very deliberately, take the time to chill.

Name one piece of career advice you always give.

No matter how successful you get, no matter the accolades or praise, you are never better or above anyone else. And, never snarkily forward a work group email to a friend/colleague because there will always be that one time you press Reply All!

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

I’ve actually have been lucky enough that I haven’t been given any bad career advice.

Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?

I am surrounded by women who are ballers. These women challenge the norm, busting through stereotypes and running their shit like nobody’s business.

Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?

My salary is definitely fair, but it never hurts to have a side hustle or two to pay for all those late night [online shopping] purchases.

What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?

Entitled and a sense of hyper self-importance are the running themes when it comes to millennials. But I have to say, the young thangs in my workplace are smart and hardcore. The majority of the millennials I’ve met are inspired, hard-working and highly motivated.

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