FASHION INFLUENCER: ESTHER BERG
Esther Berg, the woman behind the successful Instagram account, Esther and Sasha, is a powerhouse when it comes to social media, crushing mom life, and promoting luxury goods...ALL. AT. THE. SAME. TIME.
When she stumbled onto the Instagram platform in 2012, she had no idea that five years later her lifestyle would turn into a living. Mixing high fashion with high street brands, Esther invites us into her world through her online presence. And what a life she leads!
Amuze.com caught up with the entrepreneur to talk all things fashion, beauty, and how she finds the calm in the chaos.
Tell us about your blog and successful Instagram, Esther and Sasha, and what inspired you to start it?
My husband and I got married five years ago, around the same time I found out about Instagram. We decided on a small wedding and I had a photographer booked for a couple of hours. I told all of our guests: “There’s this thing called Instagram. You upload a photo, hashtag it, and if everyone uploads photos and uses the same hashtag, all the photos will collate on one page.” So for our wedding, I decided on the hashtag, #EstherandSasha. It became my account where everyone's photos from our small wedding were collaged on one page. I had absolutely no idea that years later it would turn into a fashion brand as it has!
Once I invested more time in the platform, I began to realize how intuitive and easy it was to use. I was a stay-at-home mom and Instagram became an outlet for me to create content on my own time, in my own way, from the comfort of my own house. When I first started, I wasn't receiving clothing or items for free or in exchange for promotion. I was 36, I had been shopping designer since my late teens, and I had plenty of product to shoot. After my wedding, I just found myself creating more content and studying other Instagram accounts and their varying styles and then developing my own angle. I can proudly say that I shoot almost all of my own pictures. I have a good eye and I’m so proud of how the business has grown.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My personal style is a mix of trendy and classic. I know, it’s a bit of an oxymoron! But I love wearing my big Gucci pearl belt or slides with a classic bodysuit. I’ll wear my Hermès belt which I’ve had for 20 years with a trendier accessory. Overall, my core pieces tend to stay classic, but my accessory collections are trendier.
What do you splurge on?
Accessories! Shoes, handbags, and sunglasses. Hands down! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about fast fashion. I’ll wear Zara clothing, and I don’t mind if what I wear isn’t ‘super designer’ or designer at all. But to me, accessories are where I splurge!
What inspires you to create content?
I would consider myself a lifestyle blog. I feature everything that inspires me: interiors, my children, my new stroller, the dish set I’m setting my table with, or the linen I use on my kids’ beds. When people reach out to me, particularly small businesses, and ask me to look at their page, I get really inspired. It could be something totally off my track and I get really excited.
What has been the most surreal moment for you with Esther and Sasha?
Really early on when the very first person sent me a message offering me their product for free, I was totally taken aback. I remember it was a Chanel-inspired mug. I was so surprised that someone actually wanted to give me something for free! More recently, people have started to recognize me out and about. I am always flattered and humbled, but it’s crazy to think that people know who I am!
What made you decide to start blogging for a living?
Not too long after my wedding and the creation of my Instagram account, and after I soon realized that this was a great way to express myself creatively without having to go into an office, I was doing my nightly scroll through Instagram. I came across various accounts posting New Year’s Resolutions. There was this one account who had listed ten New Year’s resolutions and her tenth one was to become ‘InstaFamous’ - Instagram famous. I remember saying to myself, “I could do that!” And that’s how it really started. There were times when I felt discouraged, but my tenacious personality kept pushing me to pursue my goal. Once more people began reaching out to me, my Instagram then became an avenue for me to help people.
What are your favorite fashion brands and why?
Gucci is killing it right now! I Iove their accessories. And then on the other end of the scale, I’m loving Zara at the moment. There’s nothing worse that spending a fortune on trendy items. Zara nails it. I always leave with something and I never feel sick about how much I spent on it. It’s a win-win.
Favorite fashion magazine?
Because of Instagram, I don’t read actual magazines like I used to. So right now, my fashion and style inspiration comes from social media. Everything is just so accessible.
What are some of your current fashion and/or accessory obsessions?
My oversize Gucci belt with pearls! It kills every outfit! It has the oversize interlocking Gs. It’s the supersize version and my go-to statement accessory.
What was your first job?
My first internship was with Chanel! I was attending Parsons at the time and was 19 years old. I needed an internship for credit. There was no internet so I found the offered position on the bulletin board that hung in the cafeteria. It was a dream come true - Chanel was always the fashion brand that spoke to me. In the ‘90s Chanel was killing it. I even had their famous bathing suit with the interlocking Cs. They were looking for an intern in Public Relations. I had never even heard of ‘PR’ and all my eyes gravitated towards was the name: Chanel. I applied and I got the job. But what was really an important and valuable lesson to me was the fact that I happened to be going away with family shortly after I had interviewed. Since there were no cell phones or emails, I was nervous that they were going to call our home landline and no-one would be there to answer. I had a contact at Chanel and called her to check in on my internship application. A day later I got the call that I had been afforded the position. She told me the reason I got the internship was because I was the only one who followed up with a phone call. To this day I am grateful I learned that lesson when I did. To have a great business ethic immediately sets you apart from everyone else.
Best fashion tip?
Follow your instinct and stay true to yourself and your style. Growing up, my fashion sense was always different, and many people didn’t understand it. I’ve learned that people will adapt to you. It’s not worth it to adapt to them. Don’t conform, just stay true to yourself. Not being like everyone else will make you stand out. Who cares what people say? If you think it’s great, rock it!
What is your must-have beauty product?
Lotion P50 V by Biologique Recherche. It’s a cult item in France. I swear by it. And ENHANCEMENTS Lash boost by Rodan + Fields. I think it’s the best eyelash-conditioning serum.
What's the worst fashion trend of all time?
Back in the day, I used to wear bright neon multicolored tracksuits. I had them in every color! Cringeworthy to think about it now!
I am a HomeGoods hoarder! I go at least once a week to walk the aisles. I creep around in a hoodie and a baseball cap, and I score the most amazing finds!
What's your morning beauty ritual?
I cleanse and wash my face and apply the Lotion P50 V by Biologique Recherche. I used to struggle with breakouts. I always thought that a soapy cleanser meant that it was ‘working’. But since I switched to a cleansing milk, like the lotion from Biologique Recherche, my skin has never been better. I then follow with a toner and a moisturizer.
Do you have a secret beauty tip?
Water, water, water! And stay away from sugar, cigarettes, and the sun!
What's your favorite piece of clothing to wear?
My Wolford Colorado turtleneck. I wear it so much I need to buy a new one. It’s a staple in my wardrobe rotation.
Can you describe your lifestyle in one word?
A hot mess, but in a cute way. Everyone thinks I’m this organized super-put-together-everything’s-perfect-bussinesswoman. But secretly things are super chaotic. I’ve realized it’s okay not to be perfect. You can be a combination of chaotic and controlled simultaneously. I am the definition of controlled chaos. It’s an interesting dynamic but I always get it together in the end. I always find the calm in the chaos.
Who are your style icons?
Bianca Jagger - her swag is out of this world. Coco Chanel - when someone’s style is still relevant today, that says a lot about them. And Victoria Beckham - she’s relevant, current and classic. A true modern day icon.
What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
“It’s not always about you.” We live in this digital time where if you text someone and they don’t reply right away, or you email someone and they don’t respond, you immediately take offense. But if you program yourself to think ‘it’s not always about me and maybe he/she is busy’, then you start to take yourself out of the equation. It’s not always about me, and that's okay.
My father used to say: “Always take the high road.” Even when taking the high rode isn’t an easy feat, I’ve found that doing the the right thing has always gotten me farther.
What is one thing our readers would be surprised to hear?
I was adopted at birth. When I was younger, my parents who raised me were European. I didn’t look like anyone else in my community. My skin was darker, my hair was curly. People weren’t that kind to me. The success that I’ve had today is almost ironic considering how some people treated me as a child. If there’s anyone out there that feels insecure, I’m proof of what you can accomplish.
THE QUICK 5
Subway or Taxi?
Uber all the way! Does anyone take taxis anymore?
Pizza or pasta?
Pizza. My husband owns a pizza bar in Midtown Manhattan!
Heels or Flats?
NY or LA?
Always NY! New York over anything.
Puppies or Kittens?
Dogs all the way. Honestly though, I would prefer no animals in my house. I’m not a very good pet owner. But I find them good homes, don’t worry!