Sarah Boyd Talks About Starting SIMPLY + The Many Hats This Mama Wears

Getting your foot in the door of any industry can be very difficult without the right connections. Sarah Boyd finds this to be true in the styling and blogging industry. Sarah started her career in Fashion PR and, in 2012, started her own business and founded SIMPLY, a collective with one goal in mind – connecting. Dubbed as the “dot connector,” she is building connections for people through her platform. In this episode, she opens up about starting SIMPLY and how it supports her mission to bring together like-minded individuals in an environment that ensures constant growth, both personally and professionally, in the digital space.

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Sarah Boyd Talks About Starting SIMPLY + The Many Hats This Mama Wears

We have Sarah Boyd on this episode. Sarah, welcome to the show and I‘m so excited to have you here. 

Thank you. 

I’m going to give you a little backstory of how we met. We met at Giuliana Rancic’s skincare launch and we started chatting, started following each other on social media and here we are now. I had no idea she was the Founder of SIMPLY until she told me at Giuliana’s partyI had heard about the SIMPLY Conference from bloggers that I follow. Tell us all about SIMPLY and the amazing things that it offers. 

I started it about several years ago. Prior to that, I did fashion PR. I did that for about eight to nine years after college. learned all the tips and tricks of PR over those years. I made a lot of different relationships, but I was lucky I had a sister that helped me get my foot in the door of the industry. I met so many people over the years that didn’t have that connection or that person that trusted them and gave them that leg up. I wanted to create something. After that many years in PR, I was done with thankless clients. I wanted to wake up happy and feel like I was giving back every day. I quit my job working for my sister and gave myself three months to plan our first conference. I had this vision for SIMPLY. It was to create a kind place for people to connect in the industry.

I respect that the most because in our industry, in beauty and blogging, YouTube and all of that, sometimes it can get negative. I love that you bring these women together and you show people that this is what it’s all about. It’s all about connecting and connecting the dots. 

That’s literally why I wanted to start it and I was like, “How can I do this? How can I build those connections for people? With these jobs in the industry, styling and blogging, you can’t go to school for it. You have to learn directly from that person. 

It’s all trial and error. 

What I did was I created our first conference here in LA and it was panels of fashion editors, stylists, makeup artists and all of these behind the scenes people that are making trends happen. They were super open. They talked about their path to success, their failures or successes. They got to meet everyone in the audience and a lot of amazing relationships happened out of that, whether it was someone who started interning for that person and now they’re a big stylist. They learned all these different tips and tricks. We had a whole brand area where brands could activate and meet all of these up and coming entrepreneurs and bloggers, but also meet the big people that were speaking. That was many years ago. We were the first of its kind in this industry, which was crazy. 

There was nothing like this several years ago. 

Now, there’s a lot which means that people want it. 

People follow everyone through the screen and people look at us the same way. They think we’re unattainable or all of this but there’s so much more that we can offer. Something like conferences like this and online courses that you offer, it’s nice because they get a human connection. They are right in front of you. It’s their raw emotions. It’s a Q&A. They give you everything and most of these people, editors and stylists, they’re not bloggers. They don’t sit and write about their experience and all the things they had to go through and that’s important. That’s why people love it so much. 

IW 5 | Starting Simply
Starting Simply: Being raw, authentic, and being your true self is the only way you’re going to succeed and have your customers and followers purchase from you.

Many times, I’d be having drinks with a stylist and she’s like, I need an assistant so bad,” but that connection wasn’t made yet. There are many girls out there that are dying to be a stylist but they don’t have that connection. The same with blogging and all of these jobs. That’s how we initially started a long time ago. A few years into it, we added our digital side of the business. We manage celebrities digital platforms. We do all of their brand partnerships. We do lots of events with them, but being their consultant and guide throughout this different digital landscape. 

They have lots of followers, but they don’t know how to take that and monetize it or create different platforms with it. They all have their traditional agents and managers, but that’s for them as an actress or a musician. We focused on that blogging digital influencer space. That arm has grown in our business. We’ve got twenty celebrities on that roster. That’s been fun to see that grow. We do quarterly trips with them. We go to different places around the world and take them to connect them to because they have all different audiences. What I do is connecting with kindness in all aspects of my business and I respect that so much. 

I’m always preaching, you can always be helpful and kind to people. It can’t hurt. Talk to us about the digital space and monetizing it. I get a lot of questions all the time about people who want to start a blog or who want to start Instagram. Eventually, they want to start monetizing. Talk to us about that. 

The industry is very saturated at this point. My biggest suggestion would be to have your niche and stick to it. I know everyone says it everywhere, but being rawauthentic and being your true self, that’s the only way you’re going to succeed and have your customers/followers purchase from you because that’s how you’re going to sell things. That’s how you’re going to get brand deals. If people engage with your content and buy what you’re selling, you’re a spokesperson/salesperson. 

They’re buying into you. When you connect with them by being raw, real and not phony, because I can sense it so quicklyI can tell they’re forcing to be enthusiastic. I can tell from the pitch of their voice, and maybe that’s just me because I’m in this space, but I feel that people can sniff it out. If you’re not going to be rawauthentic and real, if you’re not going to be honest and true to yourself, then don’t bother. People might follow you and love your styles, but eventually if you want to turn it into a business, it’s going to be hard to convert. Don’t you agree? 

I agree and it is a saturated industry. There are way more avenues now that you can make money. You can do it through affiliate links. There’s rewardStyle and ShopStyleAmazon has an affiliate program. Pretty much every company now has some affiliate program. If you put a spreadsheet together and go through every company that you love, I’m sure they have an affiliate program so you can organically talk about it and make money. I made money on ClassPass because they give you $40 off your membership if you refer a friend or my credit card. You can make money in so many different ways. That’s one avenue. Another avenue is sponsored content or native posts. That’s when a brand pays you a fee to naturally integrate their product, whether it’s into your Instagram Stories, YouTube or whatever your channel is. Tagging them, #aand all of that. It’s probably what most people see online. 

That’s the most popular way that my clients are getting deals. We’re seeing a lot of brand ambassadorships which is six to twelve-month campaign where you’re constantly wearing the clothes or using the product and it’s a little more organic to everyday life. There’s a certain amount of posts you need to fulfill, but maybe you’re designing a capsule collection or maybe youre integrating it into your life. If you’re doing Instagram Stories at home, you see the yogurt behind you on the counter. It’s very organic to your feed and to your lifestyle and that’s not so ROIdriven. ROI is return on your investment. For brands, they have different ways that they come at this. Sometimes they want awareness and they don’t care about sales. Some brands are so salesdriven that they only want people that can convert to sales. You have to weigh out what the brand’s initiatives are and what they’re looking to get out of the campaign. I always suggest hopping on a call with them and taking each proposal that comes to you and each inquiry on a casebycase basis. 

What if you don’t get these inquiries? What if someone out there is trying to hustle to get these campaigns and be brand ambassadors? What’s the best way to approach that? I know sometimes there are brands that I wanted to work with and I had to pitch to them. Sometimes it worked and sometimes they were like, “The budget doesn’t allow it.” I feel they say that because it’s not a great fit or whatever it may be. What do you think people can do if they’re trying to go out to find and get these brands and these sponsored contents or be brand ambassadors? 

Brands are always looking for new brand ambassadors, new people to add to their network. Micro-influencers are a huge trend because they could learn so much. There are a few ways. One is tagging them organically on your stories, DM-ing them on Instagram. It’s usually the social media manager that’s managing that account so they see it directly. If they see you organically posting, a lot of brands look to that before they hire you. Number two is a lot of them do events in a bigger city. You can attend their events, meet the people putting the event on and give them a face to the name. That can go a long way. Number three is putting a media kit together and pitching yourself. Finding the contacts, we have it so easy now. When I did PR back in the daywe couldn’t find contacts. It didn’t exist. You had to open the magazinefigure it out and pay a ton of money. 

Google has everybody now. 

Do you know Clearbit? 

[bctt tweet=”All you have to do is hustle and try a little bit and you can find any contact nowadays. It’s right at your fingertips.” username=””]

No, what is that? 

It’s a Google Chrome extension that you add to your email and you type in any company and the contacts pop up. It’s amazing. It’s like a little nugget and it’s free. We use that all the time. There’s fashion monitor you have to pay for, but they have all the contacts of LinkedIn. Maybe DM someone. It’s right at your fingertips. All you have to do is hustle and try a little bit and you can find any contact nowadays. 

It’s timeconsuming so people are like, “Ugh,” but that’s the thing. Everything takes time and you need to put in the effort. You need to take time out of your day to go physically meet these people and make connections. Those are what’s going to help you in the end. That’s what’s going to be the most helpful. We were talking about this, but I was looking for editor emails for the product I’m launchingI wish I knew about Clearbit because it took me three full days and I have 101 editors. You can’t find emails. They don’t always link it. 

Sometimes they save you. They have it and you can click itCopy paste and put it in your spreadsheet as you said. There are a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into something being great and successful. People want the easy way and they see these people on social media and they think, “People are emailing them. This is so easy for them.” It’s not. I have a girlfriend who hustles all the time and every single campaign she gets, she’s pitching and makes an income out of this because she hustles. Eventually over time, you build rapport with these people and then they’ll come to you if they like your content. I completely agree I think it takes time. Strategizing and goal-setting are so important. 

If you’re trying to spray the wall with everything, it’s overwhelming and then you’re like, I quit. I always suggest to put a target list together of ten or twenty dream brands that you would want to work with, that you love. You may categorize it like ten of your favorite beauty brands, favorite fashion and lifestyle or whatever content you create and that’s your vision board. That’s who you go after day in, day out, whether you’re organically posting on Stories, finding their events they have and going to them, reaching out and pitching yourself. That’s how you get things. 

That’s so much smarter because I remember when I was doing this years ago when I wanted to fulltime make this into a career, I would overwhelm myself because I would email so many people. I’d lose track and I couldn’t followup and I think a followup email is important. 

They’re not ignoring you, they’re just busy. 

Sometimes they forget and I know because sometimes I forget and I go, I’m so glad they wrote to me again. 

People email me ten times and I’m not being mean, but finally I write back, “Yes, the timing is perfect now. Let’s do it.” I think that‘s the PR girl in me. It’s like, “Who cares how many times you have to followup? I just closed a deal. I’ve been following up for over a year.” 

A year? 

Yes, two in-person meetings, proposal and everything. She ghosted me. I emailed her six times and she finally wrote again and she’s like, “I’m so sorry. The management changed. This changed. I’m ready to move forward. That’s how long these things can be in your pipeline. 

IW 5 | Starting Simply
Starting Simply: It doesn’t matter how many times you have to follow-up as long as you close the deal.

You can’t give up especially when you want something bad enough. That’s the one thing, people are like, “They’re not interested. They don’t care. 

That’s how you get ahead of your competition. As soon as you’re ready to give up, everyone else gives up and you push ahead and you succeed. 

We were talking about speaking on online platforms and stuff. She is a contributor to Forbes. Tell us about that. 

It’s one of the many hats that I wear. 

You do everything. You are such an inspiration. You’re a mom, wife and you have businesses. I’m so excited. Tell us about that. 

I’ve been contributing to Forbes for many years now. I do fashion and beauty content. I do about five articles a month. 

What’s that like to be a contributing editor? 

go into WordPress and upload it. 

It’s content creation like blogs. 

It’s like a blog but I talk about a lot of influencer stuff. I round up my favorite items and trends. I like it because I like to know everything happening on all ends of the spectrum of the industry. I’m getting fashion pitches and beauty pitches. I know all the Tequila days and all the things happening. It keeps me aware and it builds relationships for me and my business, but also for Forbes. It helps all around or I’ll work with a brand for Forbes and then maybe they want to do an event for SIMPLY or they want to work with one of our talents. They all work together and I get invited to a lot of events. I get to get out and meet people. I have a bit of an ADD so I like to always be doing something different every day. It helps with keeping things fresh and seeing what’s on the pulse.  

Talk to us about pitching. How many pitches do you get a day? 

[bctt tweet=”Doing something different every day helps with keeping things fresh and seeing what’s on the pulse. ” username=””]

Probably a hundred or more. I wish I could respond to everyone, but most of the time I’m just filing them or deleting them. It’s too much. That would be my full-time job and that’s a very small portion of what I do. What I would suggest if you’re pitching editors is keep it short under three sentences. Tell them what you want and what you’re looking for. Be upfront. If you want to meet with them, give them a short window of your availabilities. Attach things in small documents that have more information. Keep it short. If I get these long-winded emails, I can’t read it. I delete it. I don’t have ten minutes to read your email. I would say to keep it short and sweet and get their attention quickly. 

Attach the things that would be useful for them. 

What I have found success is people will DM me and say, “Can I grab your address? I want to send you something. It’s way better on my own time for me to open it. Maybe I’m at home relaxed, not in the middle of a workday and then I can discover your product and read through materials. Igives me more time than in my inbox. 

That’s some great tip. You are a mom and SIMPLY has so many branches and you’re a part of the whole day-to-day operationsTalk to us about being a mom and a businesswoman. 

Every day is different. Every day is a struggle. Everyday day is a new challenge. My daughter is three and a half. I‘ve been in it for a minute now, the mom work-life balance. Before, I would literally work all the time and never turn it off. My daughter now is old enough to be like, Mommy, put your phone down. I want to play doctor or nurse. I want to play with my dolls. I want to spend this time with you.” I only have a few minutes in the morning before I leave for work and then in the evening, I have maybe an hour or two and I have to shut it off. I have to put the phone and work away until after she’s in bed. On the weekends, I just cherish. I don’t do any work. I try to not do any work or events on weekends and be present, unless it’s an event that I can bring her to or have a fun experience with her. 

My priorities have shifted a lot and having a job that’s flexible that I can work from home. We do summer Fridays. I get half a day on Friday to get all my things in that I need to do, my wax and my hair and all those things so then I’m not wasting my precious weekend time that I could be spending with my daughter and my family. I try to prioritize things. I say no to a lot. I used to go out all the time to every event. I’m always trying to build my relationships. I feel like now in this stage of life, in my late 30s, I’ve built a lot of relationships. I can call anyone and I’ve had that relationship for many years now. I don’t need to be out hustling and working as hardNow, my focus is on family and that part of life. 

Isn’t it crazy how everything changes once you have a kid? 

Yeah, nothing matters except them. 

Nothing, and you’re day-to-day, God forbid she’s sick. That’s it. We’re home. Meetings got to get canceled. It’s tough. Did you ever experience mom guilt? 

Yeah, every day. I wish I could be with her and play with her all day long, but then I’m like, “If I did that, I might kill myself. 

IW 5 | Starting Simply
Starting Simply: When you try to prioritize things, you learn to say “no” to a lot.

It’s hard and I want to talk about that. It’s okay to say, I want to kill myself a little being home with a toddler all day. My nanny left me for two months to go to Russia and I lost my freaking mind. I went into a little bit of a depression and it’s extremely hard, especially when your business is new. I’m creating two businesses, the podcast and products simultaneously together and trying to have an online presence and being a wife and cooking and cleaning. I was losing it and then I felt how I felt when I first had him, which was overwhelming. I couldn’t balance anything and then you shut down. I feel that these past months, I’ve shut down. I’ve tried to save her the little energy that I’ve had to work. Imagine all day, you’re running after a toddler and then 9:00 PMyou just want to pass out but you need to work. 

That’s when I do my other business. 

What’s your other business? 

It’s called Moms + Babes. 

Yes, the subscription box. Do you sleep? 

I do manage to sleep, but I’ve hired the right team finally. On the first six months, I was pulling my hair out because I was doing everything. I was customer service. We had a warehouse that was helping with shipping, but it was a fulltime job that I was trying to do at midnight. I wasn’t sleeping. I was stressed. I wasn’t spending time with Ava. I felt guilty with every aspect of life. We did hire a couple of people now, but I still have to oversee things. We’re building a new website. All of these things that I have to approve, it happens between 10:00 and midnight at night. 

You’re a hustler. I love that about you. Talk to us about that. 

I wish I could turn it off sometimes. 

I think that’s the hardest part is telling your brain to stop. Just chill. When you relax for a few days, don’t you feel so much better? Don’t you come back fresh-minded? Sometimes we need to learn to turn it off. It’s okay. It can wait. Tell us about the box. 

The box is almost a year. I partnered with Jan Kramer on it. It’s a quarterly subscription box or you can buy a one-off box for moms and their kids. As moms, we all have the mom guilt and we don’t want to buy anything for ourselves. This is the work-around. You can get three different variations. There’s an infant mom, toddler and mom, or just mom. That comes with products for babe and products for you. You get this fun product that you can open with your babe or you can go all-in and get it for yourself. It’s relaxation items, beauty products, everything to pamper mom and what you need as a mom that you never want to buy yourself because you feel guilty. 

Sometimes when I go to TargetI’m in the baby section and then I’ll go home and I’m like, “That’s cute. I’m not going to use it. Three new Mustela products, let’s get them all,” but they’re babies. They don’t need that much and I’m slowly learning that. At first, I was buying everything under the moon, sun and stars from specific things that pull boogers out of their noses to the NoseFrida that they don’t even need. 

[bctt tweet=”The number one thing that brands look at is how they can make money and how they can make it bigger.” username=””]

I have a whole closet of things she’s never worn because she goes through all these phases. She only wears dress and I’m like, “We have twenty pairs of pants that you haven’t worn. 

Does she like to dress herself? 

I don’t have a say. You should see some of these outfits she’s put together. I’m like, “Go girl.” 

My niece is like that. My sister-in-law will pick a shoe and she’s like, I’m not wearing that.” She’s like, “What do you mean? She goes, “No, I want those sparkly red shoes. She goes, “You’re wearing a pink outfit. It doesn’t match. She’s like, “I’m not wearing that, mom.” A fun fact before I became pregnant, I wanted to start a subscription box service. My idea was a little too much. I probably would need to get funding for it because it was a little bit more complex. I had this idea of doing categories and you would check off all the categories you’re interested in. Based on that, you would get a box and you would pay extra or not. If you have pets, you could put pet travel, beauty, fashion or babies. It was a little bit more complicated, but I had the idea of the subscription box. I even ordered a few sample boxes to see what they felt like and then I found out I’m pregnant. I put the whole thing on hold and went through four months of death.  

I looked like death. I felt like death. It was horrible. I had horrible everyday sickness. I don’t even know why they call it morning sickness. It’s every second sickness. I didn’t eat for four months and after that, when I felt better, it was like a vacation the whole time which I loved. I wasn’t working at the time and so I was very Zen. I was reading and doing things I loved. That’s why Levon is so calm. He’s so Zen. He’s such a chill baby and I think pregnancy has so much to do with it. I wanted to start a subscription box and it’s not easy. It is starting to be so saturated. There are so many boxes out there and all of them are different, but this one is so cool. I love that. It’s not excluding the moms. It’s something where you can bond with your child. You can open it together. That’s so cute and fun. 

A lot of people have been getting it as a gift for new moms or a baby shower. I remember when I had the baby, I got so many flowers, which are beautiful, but it’s such a waste of money. I would’ve much rather gotten this with all of these new infant products and products for me that I needed to relax. It’s like the gift that keeps giving.  

Going back to SIMPLY, you also have online courses. Talk to us about that because I’m a huge online course girl. 

We launched into online courses. It was something that came organically after our conferences and we did lots of workshops. We found so many people that couldn’t make it and they’re asking, “Can you do an online course?” It took a lot of time. It was launching a whole new business but I’m proud of it. This is our second online course. Our first one is How to Become a Stylist. We partnered with Anita Patrickson who’s the stylist to Julianne Hough and all these amazing people and she teaches that course. Our second one taught by me is How to Build and Sell a Business in Years. You can take it even if you don’t want to sell your business, but I know a lot of people do want an exit. It’s just all of the tips that you need to learn that I made mistakes doing on all the aspects of business. 

I have eight experts that are all female entrepreneurs from all different areas of the business that came in and did guest teaching on this course. We had Katie Rosen Kitchens of FabFitFun. She grew that subscription box from 2,000 people to over a million. Jana Kramer is on the course about social media. Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures invests in so many amazing companies like Sugarfina. She’s a venture capitalist. She’s amazing. I have the cofounder of Coolhaus, the ice cream sandwiches. We have all these incredible entrepreneurs that weigh in and gave their expertise because I don’t know everything. 

Every category is different. Every business requires something different. 

You learn all the lingo. When you walk into these finance meetings, if you’re looking to raise money or sell your business, all of these terms that I had no ideaI looked like an idiot probably in all of these meetings. There is cheat sheet. There are worksheets, handouts and all these templates that I wish I had and over ten hours of video content. It’s a stepbystep list on all things business. 

IW 5 | Starting Simply
Starting Simply: The biggest thing that companies look for is scalability – how they can take your business and make it bigger.

What’s your biggest tip if you have a business and you want to sell your business? 

The biggest thing that companies look for is scalability, how they can take your business and make it bigger. That’s the number one thing that brands look at is how they can make money and how they can make it bigger. If you’re a one-person show, how can you take that and make it 100-person show? That’s the biggest thing to look at if you want to sell. 

When is your next SIMPLY Conference? 

Our next one is going to be in September 14th and 15th in Orange County at Fashion Island. It’s free. Usually, our conference is $250 to $350 per tickets. Fashion Island is offering it for free to anyone, which is great.  

Do we know who’s talking, who’s on a panel? 

We’ve got good people. Fashion, beauty and digital marketing are the three topics. 

Will you be there? 

Of course. 

I’m going to make a trip out. I definitely want to come. I want to be in the audience. I want to consume all these amazing tips and advice people have. Hopefully, you guys can make it out if you’re in the LA area or Orange County or anywhere where you can drive to Orange County. Sarah, thank you so much for coming on the show. This was so helpful. Please make sure to follow her. What’s your Instagram handle and how can we follow you? 

It’s @SarahPBoyd. 

We’ll talk to you soon

Important Links:

About Sarah Boyd

IW 5 | Starting SimplySarah Boyd is the Founder and creative force behind SIMPLY, a collective with one goal in mind: connecting. Dubbed the “dot connector”, Sarah started her career in Fashion PR, the industry she called her own for 10 years. In 2012, she decided to channel her expert industry know-how, her extensive list of contacts and her countless amiable relationships into pursuing the most challenging endeavor of her career, starting her own business.

The SIMPLY conference is the first branch of the company and under this shingle, Sarah and her team produce the annual SIMPLY ‘Do What You Love’ Fashion and Beauty Conference in LA, NY, Chicago and Dubai. Individual conference attendance has exceeded 1000 participants since the first conference in 2012. In addition, SIMPLY hosts smaller monthly workshops in LA, where local influencers share their insights with groups of 30-50 attendees looking to gain a “cliff notes” style crash course on various industries. The company also curates a popular blog and several high engagement social media channels that cater to the stylish, career-oriented readership.

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Suzy Sogoyan- IceLink Co-Founder Shares Startup Struggles + Son’s Leukemia Battle

The presence of illness in the family can definitely change our perspective in life. In this episode, host Greta Gasparian interviews Suzy Sogoyan, the Cofounder of the jewelry brand IceLink, about her startup struggles and challenges in caring for her son battling leukemia. Suzy shares the amazing moments she had with people who supported her and her son towards healing. With what she has been through, it was normal for Suzy to question God. As she shares how her faith was lost and how prayer gave her the strength for her son, she offers her advice to other moms who are going through the same situation as she is.

Listen to the podcast here:

[smart_track_player url=”″ title=”Suzy Sogoyan- IceLink Co-Founder Shares Startup Struggles + Son’s Leukemia Battle”]

Suzy Sogoyan- IceLink Co-Founder Shares Startup Struggles + Son’s Leukemia Battle

I’d like to introduce you to Suzy Sogoyan, the Cofounder behind the incredible jewelry brandIceLinkWelcome, Suzy. 

Thank you. 

I’ve known Suzy for quite some time. We started following each other on social media several years ago. It turns out our husbands are friends. Then we started seeing each other in social settings. That’s the best part of social media. I tell you that every single time we meet because it’s incredible how many great relationships I’ve personally formed with people through social media. I’m sure you can relate. It’s a blessing and a curse in some way. I know people who follow you feel like they know you. I know this because I’ve talked to many people who follow you and I feel the same way when I follow you. You’re a huge inspiration to Armenian women in general. I want to pick your brain a little bitI want to talk to you, get to know you. Tell me how you got your start at IceLink. 

I was a senior in high school. I went to BellJeff. My dad has been in jewelry for several years, mass production, jewelry, chains, 14 karat gold, like in the gold market business. I remember he came up to me once and he was like, “You’re about to graduate high school, what are you going to major in? What‘s your goal? What do you want to do? Business, right?” That’s what he told me, “Marketing, right?” Nudging me in that direction. I did see myself always doing something in marketing. At that time, we didn’t have social media and all these things. I can’t remember when Myspace came about, but it was more like journalism. 

I knew I wanted to be in that field. I’m telling my dad, I’m going to go to Woodbury. I’m going to major in Business, minor in Marketing. He’s like, “I have this idea. I feel like I can mix jewelry and watches into one and make him like cool. At that time, 2003 or 2002, it was when all the blingbling was going on. Those on blingbling in every song. He’s like, “I can make watches for those guys. I can do all of that. I want to put diamonds in them. I want to put floating diamonds in them. I can do so many crazy things. My dad is a doer. He’s one of those not afraid to try new things. He was like, I want to start a brand. It’s going to be called IceLink. You can come work here.” The rest is history. It happened and I started going there after school. It started off with me organizing and me tagging products. We had a whole team of peopleI’m this little sixteenyearold and I’m only going there after school. I worked all of the summer before I started Woodbury. I started Woodbury and I had classes. I would take classes like three days and the other two to three days, I would go to downtown. We were at downtown at that time. 

I watched my dad take nothing and build a brand. It was at a time when there was no social media. You had PR companies. You had cheesy gifting sweets. You gifted 100 celebrities at the same time. They took pictures in easy little ways and it worked. It was so easy and not that it was easy, he hustled. He opened up 400 retail doors in the US within one year. It was a great time. From 2003 to 2006, it was a beautiful time, money-making time. IceLink was flourishing. We were everywhere on every celebrity’s wrists, on every red carpetParis Hilton. It was that good time and then the crash, the recession. When I’m finally graduating Woodbury, ready to take on the reins, then there’s no business, everything is slowing down. 

We had made these marketing efforts to go more highend in luxury because when we first started, we had mid-range watches. We were in the doors. We got the 6 Time Zone watch and all these retailers in Dubai and Ukraine, these highend retailers wanted to carry our line. We spent all this money to brand and go luxury and the market crushed. I was graduating Woodbury and I was about to take on the reins. It’s like there’s nothing. It’s a crazy stop to everything. Long story short, I was able to rebrand the business. I was pregnant with Christian when I did all of that. I was pregnant with Christian when I was working on the relaunch of the 6 Time Zone in the Affordable Collection, the Gen 6TZ line, which was me taking my dad’s super $20,000 line and making it $700 to $900. That was going to be a huge rebranding thing for us. New imagery, new website, bringing eCommerce into the game, which changed obviously everything and social media content. My belly was growing as all of that was happening. Christian was born in 2015 June and we launched in October. It was a crazy time in my life. 

I don’t know how you did it. I was nested all my pregnancy. 

I didn’t and I feel like that’s why Christian is so hyper because I was nonstop while I was pregnant. 

I was so ZenI was like, I don’t want to work. I didn’t work at allI was psychonauseous for the first four months and I couldn’t keep my head out of the toilet. Something in me said, “Don’t do anything. I also had the luxury to do that. followed my gut and I was very Zen about it. You’re amazing. I can’t even imagine doing that. 

I had the energy, it’s weird. I was good and I had to do it. It was like, “Do this or close IceLink because we’re not going to sell $20,000 watches right now. 

What gave you the idea to rebrand or what gave you the idea to specifically do the 6 Time Zone watch and rebrand that? 

The 6 Time Zone watch, my dad created that a long time ago. It started off with diamonds $20,000 and up. I was like, I either come up with brand new collections, brand it from scratch or I can take something that works for us and that people are loving and wanting so badly.” I would wear the watch because I couldn’t afford it, but I could wear it because it’s my dad’s line. My peers would see it and they would be like, “How much does that cost?” I’m like, $7,000. I was thinking, “Why not take something that people have been wanting for so long and make it accessible because it’s super unique?” I feel like it’s not just us, like Gucci did that, all the luxury brands started coming out with $400 shoes and all these things. Back in the day, you couldn’t get anything for less than $10,000. I feel like we’re still a luxury brand, but obviously more accessible and bringing cool new products. 

IW 3 | Startup Struggles
Startup Struggles: Before social media, marketing was about gifting celebrities and hiring PR companies to lift off your business.

If you follow IceLink, she’s always coming out with nice dainty designs and stuff that us women are attracted to and love. 

Dainty yet strong and still unique, I try to come out with things that not flooded in the market. 

Talking about Christian, tell me how it was like when he was born. How did motherhood change you? 

It so completely changed everything. He was the light of our lives, the first grandchild on both sides. Was that for you too? 

No, not for me but definitely I can relate.  

Having a child makes you want to work harder because people are like, “How are we going to do all of this when you have a child?” It’s weird. It gives you a boost. You’re doing it for someone else. It’s not just about you. 

I had a little bit of postpartum depression for a few months and that was the hardest thing for me to go through. The minute I came out of that, it was like, “What are you doing now for the rest of your life? It put my entire life into perspective. All these years, all these ideas I had, I wanted to do but never did, completely everything I thought about put into perspective. Honestly, he gave me the push to start Plan ChiclyI have to dedicate that business to him because he gave me that strengthHere’s a fun fact. Before I got pregnant, I had a whole other concept of a business, which I was going to call Chicly, oddly enough. The minute I found out I was pregnant, I dropped it. I had samples and everything ready and I dropped it. I’m good at listening to my gut and something inside of me was like, “It’s not the time.” It wasn’t because now, here I am on a whole other path. For those of you who don’t follow Suzy, it’s a little bit of a tough subject for anybody to talk about. Thank you so much for even being open to talking about it. Her son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was fifteen months. Tell us how you found out. 

It was September 14 of 2016. It was a little bit after his first birthday and all. I don’t want to get into the signs and all of that because I explained to you that. I want all parents to know that getting blood work is the most important thing. If something is off, get blood work, ask for blood work. I don’t like to get into signs because I don’t want to freak anyone out and say like, “He was weak.” Every time you see your child is weak, you’re going to think like, “Something is terribly wrong.” I’ve had a couple of DMs like that and it’s like, “No, just go get checked. I was getting ready to go to the Beyoncé concert. He kept holding his ears, so I think he has an ear infection. Something in my gut told me not to go to the concert. It’s weird how that happens when they say that mother instinct and all of that. Long story short, something in my gut told me to take him to the doctors. He got blood work done. They sent us to the ER and all of that happened that day. He was confirmed two days later with a biopsy. Our lives turned upside down and inside out. It was the craziest thing ever. I’ll never be the same person again after that. I blocked that time out. 

We all do that with trauma. We don’t want to remember any of that because it’s too hard.  

I knew I was going to talk about this, so I started thinking about it. I was like, “We went through a lot.” When you look back, you’re like, “How did I climb out of that? 

You don’t have a choice and it’s your kid’s life on the line. After that initial shock of, “What?” it’s like, “What’s next? 

It’s weird because we were at the hospital from that day that we were there, the day of the concert. had to go to a Beyoncé concert lately and it brought back so many memories. I was like, I’m going to try to go and conquer this fear, because you know how you remember things. I’m like, “Do I want to go to a Beyoncé concert?” It reminds me of that time again. It was 60 days that we were at the hospital before we could even go home. literally had a calendar and whoever followed me on Snapchat knows I was crossing off the days of that calendar. In that calendar I received were lists of surgeries and treatments that my little child had to get. I’m like, “What the heck?” He’s a strong boy. 

[bctt tweet=”If something is off, just get a blood work. ” username=””]

First of all, I heard through the grapevine. For some reason my instincts said, “Can you ask your husband?” which is my husband, because he knows everybody, “He has to know her husband somehow.” I don’t think I even knew that they knew each other back then. I was like, I heard Suzy, I don’t know if you know her. She’s the cofounder of IceLink. I heard her son has leukemia. I was scrambling and I had only known you through social media. We had never met. I didn’t even have your number. Once it was confirmed, I vividly remember the picture you posted of his little finger wrapped around yours and you said, “We got this.” The minute I saw that picture, I ran to church and I lit a candle for him. 

That time it taught me that there’s good in life. I had Snapchat and I had a lot of followers. My good amount are close people that I share things with and the prayers were flooding in. Everyone was going to church. I don’t think I’ve felt that much worry from people like. It was crazy to me that so many people and strangers could do this. Everyone tells you like, “How are you going to handle it?” You get into mom mode and you figure things out. They say that about sleepless nights and all these things but no one warns you about like, “Trauma can come anytime.” It’s weird that those days that I was in the hospital, I didn’t have a moment where I broke. I was in full survival instinct mode, “Get it done. What’s next? Learn every medical phrase that I need to learn, learn about the side effects, learn about what I can do to make it better and learn about his diet. I after I left is when I crushed. That came later. You know when there’s a death and you don’t feel it until later? They tell you, “You don’t feel it yet. You haven’t processed it yet.” You’re like, “I’ll process this later. It was the same like that. I didn‘t process it then.  

I can’t be sad, cry, sleep and get depressed. I have so many things to do. I need to watch him every second while the nurses are coming in and out. I need to be aware of every single thing that is going inside of his body. I need to know everything. I need to be alert 100%. I was so on it and I didn’t let anyone get in my way. You know how Armenians areIn the Armenian culture, people are dramatic as hell and they are invasive and negative. I’m the one going through it and I’m giving you hope that everything is going to be okay. Anyone who would come and had that negative thing, I was like, “Please leave.” I didn’t care that I was going to hurt anyone because I couldn’t have that negativity around me, my husband and my child. He needed to see me in positive spirits. Believe me when I say that there were times that I would want to cry and break down and I would literally run out of the room and go to the public bathroom, not the bathroom in our room because I did not want him to see me like that because he vibe off of me. It was crazy. 

We went through a lot and so many treatments for such a little body. One thing that I learned is one, Armenians can be invasive. Not everyone was truly coming there to visit us for the right reasons. Some people are nosy. The rest of my family were bringing Christian organic soups because he was on a strict diet. Everyone would come over like my mom, my sisters-in-law, my brother’s wife’s mom, my aunt, everyone would come and take the diet piece of paper, take it home, come back with so much food. Mmom would come with the sweeper and a mop and make sure that the room is clean, dusted and sanitized until the end. I don’t know what I would do without my mom. My mom, my aunt and my grandma were there every single day. They would come and I would literally go have my Starbucks, watch an episode of something on Netflix and come back after an hour. At least I could go away for an hour. That’s still something. 

That hour keeps you a little sane and gets your mind off of what you’re going through. That one hour is important. 

The support from my family and I would see the other patients and no one had that. I not only had like the physical support, but I had everyone on Snapchat and Instagram praying and giving me all that positive energy and push that we’re going to get through this. 

Did it help you? 

Beyond and I know social media has a lot of negative that comes with it, all the pressure, all the competitiveness. The good thing that it brings is in times like thisthere’s massive support and the fact that I was able to start Christian’s Toy Drive and raise money for kids in Armenia who can’t afford. 

Suzy is doing something incredibly amazing with the journey. I’m so inspired that you found that strength within yourself because as any mom who can close their eyes and imagine, you can’t hold back your tears imagining something like that happening to your child, especially a child so young like that. 

People always send me messages like, “You’re so strong. You’re positive.” It’s not always. I’ve gone through much stuff with Chris. It’s hard. He’s my kid. It’s life. He’s not the only child going through it. There are many kids who are going through it. As a mom, you’ve got to do what you got to do. 

What do you think is the one thing that helped you get through it? Was it positivity, God? 

I almost lost my faith. 

IW 3 | Startup Struggles
Startup Struggles: You can block time with trauma.

You’re questioning, “Why me? Why my kid? 

One of the moms helped me so much. Her son was diagnosed. Mfather-in-law knew them and some of my cousins’ cousins knew her. She had gone through it. She was still in the middle of it, but she had gone through most of the hard times because it’s a three-and-a-half-year treatment for boys. I remember it was two weeks in and I spoke to her. I started talking to her continuously. I was like, “They brought me this piece of paper and they told me that he’s going to start a new chemo. I’m reading the list of side effects. The side effects say this and this.” Literally the side effects are telling you the worst things ever. She’s like, “Read it, pray, throw it away, everything will be fine. They come in and they tell you all those things. You pray and believe it, believe everything is going to be okay and it will.” That’s what I would do and it was so weird how the prayer would calm me. There’s a church at Cedars. I would go there every single day. There’s a universal for all religions. It’s crazy that we’re all in there. It doesn’t matter, we’re all fighting for the same thing, health. 

I can’t believe we have to fight for something like that. 

I would go there every single morning and there was a man who would sit there and the little journal and he would literally write. He wouldn’t give that book to anyone. It’s where you write your wishes to God. I would go on there and read after he left. It was wishes for his wife to be well. That man would be sitting there at the same time I was there. In general, during this process I met so many different people, breast cancer, different things with children and adults. It doesn’t matter. The people that I was connecting with were the positive ones because the negative ones were in their room, not wanting to communicate with anyone else, which is understandable. You’re going through so many things. 

That’s when I realized, I could be miserable and complain all the time and keep asking why did this happen or I can be like everyone else who’s trying to make the best of it. They’re trying to make the best of their time here so that they can get out and continue with their life. I found strength through God. Once I started praying again, I started connecting with the nurses. Everything started flowing better. I needed the faith back. I feel like when I lost the faith a little bit at the beginning days, I fell apart and when I started praying again, it called me enough for me to slow down and be calm with the nurses, be calm with the other patients there and connect. The connection helped me. 

What was it like to work? Were you working during this time? 

It was a hot mess. People don’t see that stuff. Thank God I had the best assistant at the timeI still keep in touch with her. She was running errands for me like no tomorrow and everything. It’s your business and you’re not there. It’s tough. I’ll never forget this, two weeks in and I was in the parents lounge and getting tea. My dad walked in. He was like, “You’re here.” He gave me a hug. He was like, “What can I do for you? What can I do to make it better?” He doesn’t talk about emotions and things like this. He’s like, “Pay your bills,” or something. He’s like, “Tell me.” I’m like, I can use my laptop.” He’s like, “You don’t have to work. You don’t have to. I got it. Don’t worry.” He’s thinking I’m saying it for him. All these tasks are left about. I’m like, “No. I want to do so work emails, Excels. I need it. I want it.”  

Did it feel like an escape for you in a way? 

I noticed then how much I love work. It’s not only an escape, I love it. It‘s a huge part of my life. Even through that I’m like, I want it. I crave it. I need it.” 

What is your work on? Were you designing things? 

It took me a while to get creative again. I lost my creative mojo for a little bit. I first started getting back into emails, getting back into clerical things and stuff like that. Once we got home and once I started going back to workI started to get a little bit my mojo back. 

How do you feel like this whole experience has changed you for the better and for the worse? 

On my StoriesI asked, “What is your purpose? I think we don’t really think about that. Everyone says that we want to help people. I feel like the way in which I help people, judging from my DMs and stuff like that, is I’m very open about my mistakes, my vulnerabilities, bad things in my life, not so perfect things in my life. Every time I am, I feel like I give courage to those to do the same. 

[bctt tweet=”Connecting with people around you gives you a better flow in life. ” username=””]

I felt that same thing. I know exactly what you’re talking about. It could be so small as I’m struggling with losing weight. You get so many DMs. I’m very open with it. 

I don’t think you realize how open you are until you get the DMs and you’re like, I didn’t realize I’m being so open. 

I tell myself every time, this all happened after Levon and I don’t know, something shifted in me. I feel like that happens a lot with moms that something shifts in you. I became very vulnerable and I was like, I’m fat. I have a double chin. What do you want me to do? I can either be real about it and tell people and share it and it might help somebody or inspire somebody, or I could sit at home and be self-conscious and not want to take pictures. I did do that for a while. I let myself live through that traumatic time or that self-conscious time. People probably noticed that when I go MIA because I’m dealing with something. I come back stronger and I’m openingI opened up about it and people go, “I’ve been going through the same things and I haven’t had anyone to talk to.” “Talk to me. Tell me, let me help you. This helped me or this didn’t help me. Don’t bother with this. 

People crave that connection. When you are vulnerable and you’ve shared this entire process with Christian and you talk about so many amazing things and so many bad things that you’ve gone through and how you’ve came out of it and people connect with you like that. You have to be vulnerable because we’re all human. I don’t care if you’re black, Asian or white. We all go through the same struggles and we all have different perspectives. Three different people can say something right the same way, but it’s the way you might word it that might catch me. I might listen to you even though I’ve heard it three other times and that’s important. 

If you have a platform and you want to do good and you want to be vulnerable and you’re scared, don’t be. There might be some people who might roll their eyes or whatever, that’s a given in life. I’m happy that you’re that person. It’s important especially because you have a platform and especially because it’s helpful. You don’t know how many women you’ve helped. You don’t know how many moms who have gone through this who have went and checked their kid and maybe they had another issue. I applaud you for that because it takes bravery to do that. 

In general, I can only speak for the Armenian culture because I am Armenian. We like to hide problems, not just us but I can only speak for ourselves. It’s crazy. I was talking about something that I purchased for Christian like the Dome. I started talking about how we’re building his fingers strength and feet strength because chemo knocks out your joints. When I started talking about it, many moms DM-ed me that their child has sensory delays, developmental delays that affect their fingers and here are the toys. You don’t need to be open about everything. Many people DM-ed me like, “Thank you for talking about this because no one ever talks about that. Everyone talks the posts of like the milestones, “My child is walking. My child is speaking.” No one ever says like, “My child is delayed.” That’s so true. 

It’s a tough pill to swallow as a parent. You don’t want to admit that your kid is behind on something. 

I don’t have a problem with that. I feel like maybe I would have, but because Christian has gone through so much and his life was at risk. The fact that his life was at risk, everything else seems so small that I’m like, “He’s a child.” 

I‘m also very logical. No two children are made the same. No two children will talk at one or walk at one. I’m logical in the sense that, “It’s okay that Levon spoke a little later or he did this later. He had his teeth later. Parents should stop judging themselves or their children for stuff like that because it makes your life worse. 

It’s hard not to judge yourself when you go on social and everyone’s raving and not talking truthfully about things. 

It’s hard to filter that out. How do you think it has changed you for the better or for the worse? 

For the betterthey say cancer is bittersweet. It puts life into perspective. It makes you appreciate every single moment. I swear I’m not being cheesy. I wake up every morning like, Thank you, Lord. I woke up now. I have a job. I can go to work. My child is smiling. I have a sitter. I can afford it.” I’m literally grateful for every breath that I take and for every single moment. I’m human. I get annoyed sometimes I get this, but I truly live in the present. I enjoy every little thing. I’m happy to be alive. I’m happy to be living after all that stuff that’s happened. 

IW 3 | Startup Struggles
Startup Struggles: We are all fighting for the same thing which is health.

That happens after any trauma you go through. That happened to me after my dad passed away. When girlfriends would complain about something, I’m like, “Are you joking? Be grateful you have a husband, he’s alive, healthy and you’re healthy.” When you go through trauma, whether it’s life or death, it’s a huge game changer. It changes you to your core. You’ll never ever be the same person. 

As far as the worst goes, I’m more paranoid. Every little cough sneeze, I’m like, “What’s going on?” My husband is annoyed at that, “You’re psychotic. You’re crazy.” I’m extremely alert. Sometimes I let it get the best of me and I know that and I’m aware of that and I have to apologize afterI have to literally be like, I’m sorry, but I have PTSD. I have to see someone for it. I’ve gotten therapy, but I feel like I need to see a PTSD specialist because I visualize bad things. 

I have that same problem. It makes me wake up at the middle of the night. 

I’m sure all moms have that. 

I would assume most people do, but mine is like insane. I can visually see it happening and that terrifies me. Birth for me was traumatic. For a long time, until now, I‘m scared to get pregnant again. I can only imagine what that feels like for you. It was traumatic. Seeking a therapist for that specifically would be definitely helpful. The paranoia, most moms have it, but I’m sure it’s worse for you. I can only imagine. If Levon has a fever, I’m like, “Why does he have a fever?” I‘ll literally take him to Urgent CareMy husband is like, “He’s teething.” I’m like, I need to make sure he’s teething.” I took him to the doctor three times for an ear infection. My husband was like, I’m not coming with you. I know he’s fine.” I’m like, “You don’t have to. I’m still taking him to Urgent Care. I was there three times in one week. The doctors were like, “He has an ear infection.” He dumbed it down. I’m like, “No, but he’s been on antibiotics for three days. It should be better. I feel like he’s worse.” I’m a little too much I feel or people tell me I’m too much. I’d rather be safe than sorry because I just rather. I feel like the next question is, what is one advice you would give to a mom who might be going through such an unfortunate circumstance? 

Definitely talk to other moms who are going through the same thing. That helped me tremendously. If you are going through anything like that, my Instagram is @SuzySogoyan, definitely reach out to me. That’s one of the good things that happened. A lot of moms were able to reach out to me. I never thought that when he was diagnosed that I can do what the moms did for me. I was like, I’m never going to be as strong as them.” You get through it and have faith if that works for you. Definitely talking to someone who’s been through it and can walk you through it because it’s a lot. That helps a lot. 

Do you have to teach yourself things? What did you have to teach yourself? 

I had to inject at home. He had a PICC line so I had to flush his PICC line every day. I had to know about all the side effects and everything. That’s a lot. 

What do you think was the hardest part? Is it his diet? 

Watching him get the side effects was the hardest part. Him being nauseated, those were the hardest parts. He’s a tough cookie. 

He is, thank you God. I feel like the positivity around you, your family and random people being so positive and praying is a big thing. 

He’ll forget, we’ll remember. 

[bctt tweet=”Cancer makes you appreciate every single moment. ” username=””]

Thank God, he’s okay. How is he doing now? Tell us that. 

He’s good. He started daycare. It’s exciting. He was in isolation for a very long time. He’s obviously delayed because he has not seen kids or been around kids. That is one of the hardest things we went through because I couldn’t go to events. I couldn’t go to anyone’s house. For a while, his immune system was so low from the chemo that he couldn’t be around anyone. Slowly, it was one child at a time and all these things, but now he’s okay. He’s in maintenance. He gets monthly treatments and hopefully by next year we’ll be done, fingers crossed. He’s doing good. He’s feisty. He throws tantrums. He’s energetic.  

Does that make you happy? I feel like that would make me happy.  

Yes. Since at the hospital he was so quiet and sweet, I would almost want it to be like, I wish he was a bad kid.” You don’t want them to be so sweet. You don’t want them to be feisty and energetic. NowI’m paying for that, “Why did I say that? 

My mother-in-law always tells me, “Be grateful your kids running around screaming and pissing you off. I’m like, “You’re so right.” Because anytime they’re sick, I’m sad when he’s sick, I’m depressed. I go through the same thing. If he has an ear infectionI have an ear infection. I can’t work. 

I know, when Christian’s sick, I’m depressed too. I feel you.  

Talk to us about the journey and how all that came to be and what we can do to help. 

met Taguhi from the journey before Christian’s diagnosis. When I created that line, the 6 Time Zone, it was the Moscow edition. It always had the New York, Moscow, Tokyo and the home zone. I had this idea, “There’s this girl, Taguhi, she has the journey. She’s helping out the soldier’s families. We started donating 15% of proceeds from the Yerevan Edition watches which said Yerevan instead of Moscow to the soldiers families that at that time was like the war in Armenia and everything. After Christian was diagnosed, it all started because after a month when we went home, they called us and told us that Christian is cancerfree. Kids usually are cancerfree, leukemiafree within a month. The rest is maintenance. It’s still hard but at least it’s gone. 

The day that we found that out, my mom’s like, “Let’s make a donation, and I said, “Yes, I want to make a donation and help another child in need.” Taguhi is in Armenia. Maybe she can go to like the cancer center for the kids over there and sponsor a child anonymously or something. I called her, “I want to donate some money and how much would it cost to do like a course of chemo for a child?” She said, “Approximately $1,000.” I said, I’d like to make that donation.” She reached out. She told the child. She posted it. She got flooded with DMs of people who wanted to help children in Armenia. It snowballed into this huge thing. That year we did Christian’s Toy Drive. We collected toys. Taguhi is amazing. She physically took toys to the cancer center in Armenia.  

They record all this. You know your money is going where they say it is. 

She has to pay for extra luggage. She gets the receipts for those. She sends me receipts of the chemotherapy that is purchased. I speak to all of the parents and I know that the chemo is being delivered. They are being taken care of and that they’re not paying for transportation back and forth because they have to drive to the pharmacy and pick it up themselves. Everything is documented and everything is recorded. All of the parents are beyond thankful that they have this helpChristians Toy Drive year one, we did $8,000 but year three we did $40,000. It was $20,000-something on the second year. We’ve been literally doubling. 

Taguhi went to Armenia. She threw a huge party for the children who were done with treatments. They have all the little characters and everything like that and open up their toys there. We had so many toys that she literally went to other hospitals that are not cancer patients. It was to the point where the moms were seeing Taguhi and crying because they thought their child had a cancer. She’s like, “I didn’t think it through, but she said, “We had so many toys. We were dropping off toys in the elevator and everything. That’s how many toys. It was unbelievable. It turned into this huge thing. We’ll do Christian‘s Toy Drive again. We don’t have a date yet but basically, it’s a day where we all get together. We bring toys. We tell everyone to bring one toy, everyone brings twenty toys. 

We have amazing raffle items. This is what social media does. I say, “We’re doing Christian’s Toy Drive,” and I get 100 amazing raffle donations. It’s beyond amazing, which helps us raise much money. That’s going to happen. I will announce those things on my Instagram and on Taguhi’s. She has GoFundMe link for the kids on her page. You can always donate. Right now, she used the money from Christian’s Toy Drive. She sent me the amount to buy a year’s worth of chemo from Germany, which is kept in a huge ice chest, so that they don’t have to go to the pharmacy. They literally go to their office, pick it up and take it to the hospital. That expires in 2020. The chemo is literally one or two kinds. They basically bought a bulk of it, which saved money. We were able to buy a bunch for the kids. It’s accessible becausthe volunteers are amazing. They literally drive out far and they keep going in and coming.

IW 3 | Startup Struggles
Startup Struggles: It’s hard hen you go on social media and everyone is not truthful.


For those of you who don’t know, Armenia is still a third world country. These things are not accessible to people who can’t afford it. 

You have to buy your own chemo. You have to go to the pharmacy yourself. Here, I am so lucky. Even all the crap we went through, I am like, “We’re here. You need blood, they bring blood. You need platelets, they bring platelets.” I was a mom who read all the labels.  

Could you imagine that you didn’t have the opportunity or the luxury to save your child’s life with chemo? They don’t. That’s so heartbreaking. That’s why I’m so proud of you for doing something amazing for other people. 

Everyone reached out and did it. They did it for me. 

Thank you so much for every person who donated. Thank you so much, Suzy. Thank you for coming on. Thank you for sharing your story. Tell everybody where they can follow you. 

You can follow me on my Instagram, @SuzySogoyan. You can shop on my website, We come up with new jewelry and watches all the time. We have cool gifts, so check us out.  

We’ll talk to you soon.

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About Suzy Sogoyan

IW 3 | Startup StrugglesWith a passion for business and a knack for style, Suzy Sogoyan is the epitome of a young, fashionable, businesswoman hungry for success and prestige. Suzy’s industry acumen and appreciation for luxury accessories were developed at an early age, when she persuaded her father to let her work on a developing project of his: luxury gemstone watches.

Suzy’s father, Andy Sogoyen, launched IceLink in 2003 to incorporate his expertise in jewelry into watches and craft pieces that celebrate life without boundaries, luxury without modesty. At just 16 years old, Suzy began taking on responsibilities for the company, which eventually shaped her future education and career choices. After high school she went on to graduate from Woodbury University with a Masters in Business Administration and returned to IceLink to continue to grow the business she and her father started together. Now,, she serves as the company’s creative director and owner.

Having literally grown up with the brand, Suzy has been an integral force in the brand’s direction and identity since day one. As Director of Brand Development, Suzy ensures that the essence of IceLink – pride, beauty, and luxury – is at the forefront of every step the brand takes, including working with press, celebrities, and special events.

Suzy comes from a family of extremely dedicated, hard-working individuals, a trait that was certainly not lost on her. She has distinguished herself as a quick-witted, astute woman within a male-dominated industry, all while wearing stilettos. She understands style and class, but more importantly, how to run a successful business.

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