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Interview

Shake, Sparkle, Stir with Sobia Shaikh

Sit down with us as we take a sip from Sobia’s style cocktail – one that is always shaken and stirred with surprises.

At BWB, we like our bloggers like we like our cocktails: Shaikhen and Stirred. Why choose one when you can have both? Besides, if there is anyone who proves that you can have or do it all, it’s Sobia Shaikh. Or should we say, it’s the advertising agent meets model meets fashion extraordinaire meets entrepreneur meets wife meets mother meets influencer meets traveler meets blogger meets shaken meets stirred and meets everything in between. And now, she’s meeting BWB!

When Shaikh took her life to the digital universe, she didn’t expect to build another business. In fact, she called her platform an “anti-blog” because she wasn’t aiming to compete, profit, or impress. Instead, Shaikhen and Stirred began as a space for Shaikh to live her life online as she knew it in reality. But as much as we enjoy Shaikh’s recipe for butter chicken and guide to Paris eateries, so do the brands that have since invested in her online presence. As her list of collaborators has grown to almost 40, Shaikh has officially created one of the most successful anti-blogs we have ever seen. Sit down with us as we take a sip from Shaikh’s style cocktail – one that is always shaken and stirred with surprises.

Photographed by Drew Altizer

Tell us more about your work and how you got to where you are now.

After getting an undergraduate degree in Advertising, I worked at an advertising agency for six years in Pakistan. Simultaneously, I was an editorial, TV and runway model. Hence, the love for fashion! After moving to San Francisco, I worked briefly at an ad agency before becoming afull-timemom.

When my childrenwere around nine and six years old, I established a handbag company called ISLY Handbags in 2011. With the exception of some help from an assistant, I did almost everything on my own. Despite the many challenges of running a small company, I LOVED my business – but eventually, I felt overworked. I despised the protracted periods away from my family and I couldn’t keep well physically. After fulfilling all my orders for the 2017 season, I packed up my business four months later.

I don’t take on clients if I don’t believe in their products, regardless of compensation. My aim is always to have fun.

When I shut down ISLY, I didn’t work for six months. Gradually, I took interest in curating my Instagram feed, which turned into starting a blog in September 2018. Enter: Shaikhen And Stirred. While I never intended to start another business, several brands began reaching out to me for collaborative and promotional posts. I don’t take on clients if I don’t believe in their products, regardless of compensation. My aim is always to have fun. In addition to my blog, I also host intimate fashion & lifestyle-related events. I introduce brands and services to a targeted SF-based clientele and promote them via social media marketing. I’ve met new clients and made wonderful friends through recent travels, as well as through NYFW and PFW, no less.

Does your sense of style run in the family?

Wow! That’s such a lovely compliment; merci beaucoup! I do believe that my mom was my first ever style icon. Although she’s quite religious now and dresses simply, she has always had an innate sense of style. When my parents threw beautiful parties at our home in Karachi, my sisters and I often stared at her as she got ready. Long, beautiful hair twisted into a chic bun. Simple makeup; just a touch of eyeliner and lipstick. The most trendy handbags from my father’s travels. Joy by Jean Patou always spritzed on her neck – that fragrance lives inside my memory!I think she continues to be my biggest inspiration in more ways than one.

What are some of your favorite spots to take your daughter shopping versus your son?

My daughter, Lyali, loves taking me (yup, it’s the other way around now) to Intermix, Zimmermann & Love Shack Fancy. We both love going to Sephora together, too! Sometimes, we sit on her bed at night and surf the new clothing websites she’s discovered. Much to her dismay, I take immense pleasure in deleting the super short dresses from her shopping cart :). Although, I did allow her to get a relatively short-ish dress recently!

My son, Isaad, loves his shopping, too! I think it’s mostly online shopping for him. He may, quite possibly, have a wider selection of sneakers than I do – and I’m a big sneakers girl! On occasion, I’ll surprise him with a sweater or jacket from Zadig & Voltaire. He’s always delighted to receive it!

What are some core values you’ve instilled in your children?

I love answering this question :). By the grace of God, we are a very close-knit family. Isaad is currently a freshman at college, while Lyali is a high school sophomore. They can talk to me about ANYTHING and I’m available to them at ANY and EVERY time of the day. We have a home where all discussions and opinions are welcome with zero judgement. I am exceptionally close with both my children, but I’m not their peer or their best friend.

Kindness is of the utmost value and importance to us.

My husband, Nadir, and I have instilled respect in them from a very early age. Respect for us as parents, respect for elders, respect for their peers, respect for each other as siblings, and respect for themselves. In addition, kindness is of the utmost value and importance to us. As a result, we have raised two kind and loving children who enjoy spending time with us (mostly) and are mindful of their boundaries. Without a doubt, they know that we are and always will be here for them. Obviously, we’ve had our share of tantrums & mood swings – but that comes with the territory :).

What are some of your favorite healthy recipes for a family meal together?

For over 15 years, I cooked almost every single day. Now, I probably cook twice a week. Since Nadir & the kids love my Pakistani cooking, that’s my focus in the kitchen. One of our household favorites is Qeema Mattar (spicy ground beef with green peas) served with rice. It’s considered major comfort food in my country of birth and it is just divine!

Favorite spots in SF or NY to shop, dine, etc.?

SHOP

SF: Heidi Says, Spa Radiance, Sue Fisher King, Neimans, Found By Maja, Hudson Grace, Books Inc in Laurel Village.

NY: Santa Maria Novella, Webster, Kirna Zabete, Cire Trudon, Net-A-Porter Style Suite, and of course, Bergdorf’s.

DINE

SF: Sorrel, Cotogna, Rich Table, Spruce, Terzo, Wrecking Ball’s Matcha Oat Milk latte, Eliza’s, Pakwan, Dosa, Pakistani food at Chez Shaikh.

NY: Pastis, Morandi, Le Mercerie, L’Artusi, Loring Place, Le Grenouille, La Esquina Soho, Matcha Bar at 70 Prince Street, Ample Hills Creamery.

You have amazing skin and hair! Can you share your beauty routine with us?

Oh, well thank you very much! I’m OBSESSED with skincare products, but I strongly advise consistency when it comes to skincare. I started using drugstore moisturizers when I was 18. Over time, I’ve moved onto higher-end brands.

Myall-time favorite skincare brand isBiologique Recherche. I always use a milk cleanser like their Lait U. But, my life would be incomplete without the P50 Toner. And there’s no better moisturizer in the world than La Grande Crème! Le Grand Serum, Masque Vernix, Gel ADNSilkgenare some of my other top favorites. For hyperpigmentation, I have had the most success withSkinceuticals Discoloration Defense. For sun spots, I also love Peace Out Microneedling Dark Spot Brightening Dots.

As far as routines, I religiously remove my makeup every night and never leave the house without COOLA sunscreen! I get facials every eight weeks at Spa Radiance or Skin Spirit in SF, as well as microneedling two to three times a year.

When my sisters & I were growing up in Karachi, my mom applied olive oil to our hair on the weekends. It was the best possible conditioner for nourishing thick and long hair. In SF, I have not shampooed or conditioned my hair at home for about 15 years. Perhaps I sound spoiled, but my hair is thick, curly & unruly! It is tiring to wash & blow dry on my own. I visit ORO Downtown or ORO Duboce once a week so that my dear friend, Jarr Von Samuel, can help me.

Upcoming travels & projects?

SUMMER: Capri, Positano, Paris

PARIS: A catering company for an interesting project, a jewelry brand, a handbag designer, a photography company

NY: A perfume company

NY & LONDON: A womenswear luxury brand

SF: A female tech start-up, a skincare brand, a candle company, a clothing company, a makeup brand, a face oil, a lingerie company (still stewing over this one!)

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a graduate from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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