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Talking Career, Passion, and Overcoming Struggles With OHK Founder Sarah Lee



Sarah Lee is the epitome of what we consider a #GIRLBOSS. Born in Seoul, raised in Nairobi and now dwelling in Brooklyn, she is shaking up the culture with her desire to change how the fashion industry caters to female sneaker-head-lovers by providing women with an unrestricted experience around shopping for the latest kicks while debunking the myth that only boys get amped over sneakers. Her innovative spirit and global influence has shaped her journey through entrepreneurship and she shares with us her best practices and tips on how she has founded 2 companies in her lifetime and manages the struggles of pursuing your passion as a career.

You started your career path as the founder of The SLIM Group; a media group specialized in talent and brand management, music recording and publishing, multimedia production, and creative branding. Can you tell us about what life was like for you within the entertainment industry?
Life was pretty hectic and it felt like a never-ending hustle that I could never get away from. Even if I wasn’t “working” it seemed like my mind at heart was never at rest because I felt like there was always more that I could be doing. There was more politicking in the music business than it being about the quality of music and that really bothered me.
When you decided to walk away from The SLIM Group, what was it like having to make that decision? And what feelings did you have when you decided to transition careers?
 Honestly, I had 99% peace knowing that I was making the right decision at that time. The one percent was me holding onto a client that I knew had the potential to blow up for success, and had a lot of traction from record labels and production companies. That client ended up being disloyal and started taking meetings behind my back and we parted ways. That was a clear sign to me that if I’m to let go, I should let go of it all. And I have no regrets now thinking about it in hindsight. I was eager to see what was to come next, to pursue other passions and interests and get out of that world.
When did you get the idea to start OHK and how did you execute it from start to present?
 A couple months before I decided to leave everything I was doing with SLIM, I had a huge life change, I found freedom through a relationship (not religion) with Jesus and through finding that freedom, I began to explore and open myself up to other possibilities. I came up with the idea of OHK with my roommate at the time. We ended up parting ways in terms of the business but she is still a huge supporter and friend. I wanted to start the business online, with what I could at the time, which was in January of this year, and I’ve managed to grow the community, primarily through Instagram and the website. Brands started taking notice and we’re working on a few exciting collaborations and projects.  
Can you tell us what the name OHK means?
OHK stands for Only He Knows. I think it’s fun and ironic that OHK is a women’s lifestyle brand yet our name contains the pronoun “he”. He pertains to “He” as in God though :)
Talking Career, Passion, and Overcoming Struggles With OHK Founder Sarah Lee
We as women don’t need to compare ourselves to one another or think we need one up on the next girl, but know we can all rise, grow, and flourish together. 
The idea of defining womanhood through Tomboy style or being a female “sneaker-head” really isn’t being promoted. Do you believe that women are still struggling to redefine the standards of beauty through what we wear?
I think women do struggle, as I have in the past, with where I derive my standard of beauty. I used to be that girl in 5-inch heels, a dress and lots of make up. But when I left the music business, I found freedom in how I even dressed. I was a tomboy growing up, playing sports, always outdoors and being able to wear a pair of kicks and baggy sweats was so freeing and it felt like I was returning back to who I was comfortable being. I hope more women find that freedom in defining for themselves with what is beautiful or sexy.
Way before OHK and before the SLIM Group, what was life like for you? Was being an entrepreneur always your goal?
I’ve always been intrigued by entrepreneurship, especially since college. I went through a phase where I used to book artists at local clubs near my college and that really sparked my interest in making money and doing something I enjoyed, not just simply “finding a job”. I think I’ve always been a self-starter though and didn’t mind taking risks. I think I got a lot of that spirit from my parents who are entrepreneurs and missionaries in Kenya.
Respect Your Struggle is about encouraging individuals to turn their struggles into their strengths. Is there anything that you can share with us that that you have struggled with along your journey, which has actually played a crucial part in making you the woman you are today?
I get excited and passionate about things often. I think my biggest struggle has been sticking through the hard and boring times as I naturally crave excitement. But what I’ve learned about entrepreneurship is that the day in and day out work that you put towards your business is the bulk of what will bring you success. I think knowing and not being in denial of what your weaknesses are is very important. It allows you to define your strengths and really invest into your strengths rather than focusing on where you lack.
Have you ever felt like giving up on OHK? If so, how did you bounce back from that?
I don’t think I ever felt like giving up. I put it on hold for over a year as my partner and I parted ways but I never gave up on the dream. I just knew it wasn’t time. Sometimes it’s okay to know and to be at peace when you know it’s not time. It doesn’t mean it will never come to fruition. Once I decided pursue building OHK again, I haven’t thought about giving up yet :)
So many people are focusing on being perfect, yet perfectionism continues to prove to us that it is not attainable. What is your perception of perfection? Is trying to live up to such a standard worth it? 
Anybody that I know who is a perfectionist isn’t an entrepreneur, or a happy one, anyway. Haha. I think that’s one of the worst enemies to entrepreneurship. It entails a lot of risk taking and steps of faith and perfectionism will paralyze the process in moving forward and making decisions. So no, living up to the standard is not worth it. Nobody’s perfect. We’re all human. Embrace your flaws and don’t let the ideal paralyze you from living out your calling.
Respect Your Struggle believes in empowering beings through the mind, body, soul and spirit. For you, how do you nourish yourself through these 4 elements as a form of self-care and healthy practices?
I see it all as one really. I nourish my mind, soul and spirit through reading the Bible, meditating on God’s word and in prayer and fellowship with other faithful people. As for my body, I try and go to the gym three days a week and try and eat healthy.
What can we expect in the future from OHK?
You can expect exciting collaborations and the launch of the women’s sneaker store through the OHK website and hopefully a brick and mortar shop to follow.
What does Respect Your Struggle mean to you?
To Respect Your Struggle means to own that you’re human and that we’re all flawed but when you look and seek guidance and help from the only perfect being there is, who I see as Jesus, you will get through and overcome anything and everything that comes your way.
 Talking Career, Passion, and Overcoming Struggles With OHK Founder Sarah Lee
Follow Sarah Lee and the OHK World journey below
 Instagram: @ohkworld @s.l.n.y.c
Website: www.ohkworld.com

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