Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a new CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law. This week we’re introducing Amelia Lina Sawyer, a Kenilworth mom of two teens and founder of HEYVIBE, a full service social media & brand management boutique. Amelia started her career in the culinary blogging and freelance writing world where her passion for social media marketing blossomed. New to the North Shore, Amelia’s sharing her favorite North Shore stomping grounds, including her husband’s Chicago restaurant, and sage advice to those who are looking to take on a new career path. Welcome, Amelia!
Hi Amelia! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Hi, I’m Amelia Sawyer. Originally I am from Florida but I have lived in NYC, Cleveland, and now Kenilworth, IL. We moved here during the pandemic from Ohio. My husband is a Chef, and was in the process of opening a new restaurant downtown. It was a crazy time to move especially that first year as our kids were in online school, so meeting new friends was few and far between. Living on the North Shore, we’ve really been able to explore the beautiful communities, whether it was on bike rides or hikes at Skokie Lagoons.
Tell us about your kids and feel free to brag!
I have two kids, a 16-year-old junior at New Trier, and a 14-year-old getting ready to graduate 8th grade.
They both grew up in all star cheerleading and compete nationally. My junior is currently on the Varsity Team at New Trier and the 8th grader is still in all star. Illinois has this weird law that you can’t do both all star and high school cheer so I think she is going to try out for the New Trier Dance Team this summer. Cheer has been a great activity for them both. Although it is a huge time commitment (8+ hours a week) it has given them so much. They have learned how to truly commit to something. They have missed countless parties, school trips, and fun because of their commitment to the sport and while sometimes it’s really hard for them I know their dedication pays off in every aspect of their lives.
They have also been my inspiration of starting a new business as I have watched their resilience during the most trying times of this pandemic. With every curveball they were thrown, they handle it with so much strength that it was hard to not be inspired by them over the past two years.
What are one or two things people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a sound meditation guide and host sound bath events on the North Shore!
I am a freelance writer. I haven’t written in a few years but prior to the pandemic I wrote for Food & Wine Magazine, Edible Communities, The Huffington Post, and CNN.
What are your favorite local stomping grounds to hang with the kids?
Well, they are teenagers now so it’s a little tougher to get them to hang with me. When they do we are usually eating. We love to explore new restaurants in the area and love riding our bikes to them when it’s not Chicago cold out. We are also a big farmers market family so we will usually grab breakfast and veggies there on Saturday mornings. Usually I can bribe them with food.
We are a big board game family. We recently got a new board game called Wingspan that is about seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. It took us forever and three fights to learn but it is really unique and fun. Other than that I am mainly an Uber for them so our time together is spent listening to podcasts or talking about 8th grade drama.
What are your favorite local “date-night” restaurants?
My husband’s restaurant Adorn of course. Although it’s not really a date as I am usually dining at the bar by myself. We recently had a great bowl of ramen at Torino in Wilmette and always love finding off-the-beaten path spots like K-Coop in Morton Grove. One of our favorite “date nights” is usually riding our bikes up/down the Green Bay Trail and popping into different restaurants along the way for apps and drinks.
Please introduce HEYVIBE. How did you get started in your field?
HEYVIBE is a full-service, female founded, in-house agency specializing in the management of social media platforms, the creation of content, on-location social media management, digital ad campaign implementation, and personalized training for businesses and brands. We help brands and businesses harness the power of social media by providing the best in training, strategy, and personalized one-on-one social media management.
I got started in this field in the early 2000’s as a blogger in New York City. I worked on one of the first ever celebrity blogs, Bricks & Stones and had my own called Chef’s Widow, which documented the crazy life of a chef’s wife with a new born baby in Manhattan. Blogging eventually evolved to me falling in love with social media which then evolved to the adoption of social media as a marketing tool.
What did you do before starting HEYVIBE?
Prior to starting the agency I ran the social media, public relations, and marketing of a hospitality group in Cleveland and managed my husbands media career.
What is the most rewarding aspect about this endeavor?
The clients! 100%. Getting to know the story of a business or brand and having the owner trust us to tell that story is such an honor. We are always finding amazing things out about our clients. One of our clients, The Hot Room (a hot fitness group in Indiana and Illinois) has recently started a BIPOC yoga class called One Breath. One Breath is a class for humans identifying as Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color. One Breath is an entry point for new and experienced practitioners of color who have not felt comfortable in traditional (predominantly white) yoga settings. To watch this idea turn into one class and continue to grow has been really cool to watch.
Tell us about your mentors!
I am lucky to have a lot of amazing friends and mentors. My career started in the culinary world so I am lucky to call Chef Michael Symon a friend. He has always supported me and encouraged me on my journey, from my early days as a blogger in New York City, to a restauranteur in Cleveland, and now as a small business owner on the North Shore of Chicago. His creativity, work ethic, and thoughtfulness in business has always been a great inspiration for me.
I love to read and I often work from the Winnetka Public Library so I will come home with books on top of books to expand my mindset. I also love the Podcast, How I Built This. It provides such great insight and I love the storytelling aspect of it and of course anything and everything Queen Brené Brown.
What advice can you give other mamas out there who are looking to start a new business or go a new direction in their careers?
Be prepared, be creative, be realistic, and be patient. If you have an idea that you are passionate about you have to be willing to make mistakes and move past them. Share your idea with friends, local business owners, and mentors for their insight. Focus heavily on marketing (especially social media) before you start. Start small but with a plan to expand.
What are the 2 most common questions that people reach out to ask you?
Q: Can I have a ride?
A: (The answer is usually “yes” as the question is from my kids)
Q: What is your ideal client?
A: I love working with Chefs and Restaurants. My career started with hospitality.
Undergrad college/major: Business Administration
Favorite candy: Reese’s, is there any other?
Strangest thing in your purse right now: A Hinoki Wood Block from the King Spa Sauna that ended up in my clothing after enjoying the benefits of the Hinoki Sauna
Last book you read: 12 and a Half by Gary Vaynerchuck
Your binge shows: Outlander– although this seasons is a bit meh
What’s on the horizon for you both personally and professionally?
Personally I am actually headed to a digital detox retreat in California this month (May, 2022). Because the majority of my working day is spent online I feel it’s important to take an actual break from being online. For one whole week I will not have access to a phone, a computer, an apple watch, or any sort of communication with computers. Complete 100% detox. I have done similar digital detoxes before but they were self imposed. This is not. I am both excited and fearful!!
Professionally we have started On Location Social Media Management Services and I am really excited about that. We are the first agency nationally to offer this service to our clients. Our team of social media experts comes to the client’s event, conference, festival, or production to manage the brand or business’ social media accounts 24-7. We’ll post engaging content, network with other businesses and brands at event by following and engaging, and promote the business or brand so that the client can immerse themselves in the event without having to worry about their social media presence. After working with us On Location, the brand sees increased engagement, more followers on social media pages, and meaningful connections made through social media networking.
Both of those sound really great and good luck! How can our readers get in touch with you for more information?
About Our Meet a Mom Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSMoms’ Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here!