Jasmine Solange (@s_by_solange)
Age: 25 | Profession: Entrepreneur
Jasmine is an artistic, creative soul who is chasing her dreams at full-speed and not letting anything stand in her way. I am pleased to talk with Jasmine about her new company, S by Solange, which will support women in feeling strong inside and out of the gym. Read about what she has to say about S by Solange, the struggles that millennials face in finding a work-life balance, fitness, dogs! and more in the Millennial Spotlight below.
Please note that responses have been paraphrased.
Hey Jasmine, let’s start right off the bat with your thoughts on millennials! What traits would you associate with millennials?
Millennials are definitely hard working. We’re also pretty anxious in general, as many of us have found ourselves in precarious positions as we navigate the task of establishing our careers. I’ve heard us referred to as the “hustle generation” and I would have to agree. Most millennials I know rely on the gig economy or a side hustle to supplement income in non-traditional ways.
We are also misunderstood as a whole. This is especially evident in the media where “boomers vs. millennials” are often pitted against one another. Millennials are fighting to be understood as hard-working, which can be hard to convey to older generations. We can’t rely on the traditional markers of “adulthood”, like getting married, buying a house, and having 1.5 children by the time we’re 30.
For millennials, some of the significant markers of adulthood include moving out of our parent’s homes, getting a job in a relevant field, and “starting a family” – by adopting a dog. These are the big steps and commitments that millennials are making. As someone who identifies with these milestones, I’m definitely struggling to convince myself that they’re valid – especially when well-meaning relatives ask me about my plans for the future. Mom, you will have to be satisfied with a furry grandchild for the time being.
We are redefining what it means to be successful adults. Hopefully when we finally feel like we’ve made it, we can look back and feel proud of what we did collectively during our time.
I’m sure all the things you said will definitely resonate with others. I’d like to hear more about this dog situation you brought up! Did you adopt a dog? What does that process look like?
I looked into several different agencies for six months before adopting a dog. I went with a Toronto-based agency called Save Our Scruff, which I highly recommend. They are super accommodating of people living in condos or apartments – which applies to most millennials I know. Many adoption agencies require you to have a huge backyard with green space for your dog to play in. Save Our Scruff allows high-rise dwellers to apply to adopt smaller dogs who require less exercise and space. They care about the homes that their dogs are going to and they match the dog’s personalities and needs to the lifestyles of the humans they will potentially live with.
Our tiny chihuahua is named Dash, and he fits into our little family perfectly. He’s sweet and silly, and we’re so thankful to have him.
Good luck with Dash! Coming back to millennials, can you elaborate on the traits that you most relate to?
I’d like to think that I’m hardworking like other millennials. I have a desire to do something bigger than your cookie cutter job. I’m no stranger to the gig economy – I used to work as a Nanny for four years on the side while in university. I find that a lot of us are trying to commodify our interests. We all know the quote: “If you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life”. I mean, if you do what you love it’s still a lot of hard work to find success, and after all that hard work you might end up hating it! When you do what you love there’s a lot of pressure to succeed. There’s also more riding on your success. When you fail at doing something that you love, it hurts more than failing at something you’re not passionate about.
There’s also the issue of work-life balance to contend with. Boundary setting is uniquely challenging in the gig-economy, and hard to establish when the lines between “fun” and “work” are blurred. Taking a break from work (even if it’s fun), is necessary if you want to avoid burnout. I find myself sometimes feeling guilty for asserting this boundary when that little voice in my head says that what I’m doing is not even “real work”. I think millennials are challenging the notion that “real work” is supposed to be inherently dull and miserable.
Speaking of work, you recently launched “S by Solange”. Can you tell me more about this?
S by Solange is a fitness community for women with a focus on using fitness to improve overall mental wellness. I provide one-on one personal training and group personal training. Let me come to you! Gyms can be intimidating, so why not workout with me in the comfort of your living room? There are also group fitness classes on the horizon.
I want to support women in finding pride in their own strength inside and outside of the gym. There’s too much preoccupation with weight loss in the fitness industry. My intention with S by Solange is to help women feel strong and help them incorporate physical activity into their lives in a meaningful way.
In my own fitness journey, I work out for three main reasons: to improve my strength, to improve my ability as an athlete, and to repair my injuries. Right now I think the fitness industry is saturated with young, fitness Instagram Influencers who have perfectly toned bodies. They offer things like 5-min ab circuits and ways to lose weight in less than a week. I want to be different. I want to be authentic. I’m not above wearing Gym Shark or posting a ‘belfie’ (butt selfie) every now and then, but the focus of my fitness brand is not about how you’ll gain abs and lose weight, but more about how you’ll be able to feel stronger, get more energy in your life, and improve your overall well-being.
What does the ‘S’ in S by Solange stand for? In the gym it might mean Strength. After a long work day, it might mean Serenity. Looking in the mirror, it might mean Self-Confidence. Accomplishing something you never thought possible, it might mean Success. Join the movement to discover what S by Solange means to you.
What inspired you to bring S by Solange into the world?
I started to see the potential in myself and I wanted to pursue something that I’m truly passionate about. I have something to say, and I’m ready to make waves.
There’s something Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn wrote that really resonated with me: “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”. This is his response to the old adage: “measure twice, cut once”. Sometimes you need to make those mistakes early on and use the feedback from that experience to make improvements.
There’s vulnerability in starting your own business. It’s scary to launch my website and Instagram account officially because now everyone knows what I am doing. I’m putting myself out there and opening myself up to a new level of potential criticism. I’ve been thinking to myself: “Who do I think I am to take on such an endeavour?” I definitely feel twinges of “imposter syndrome” from time to time. I’m constantly reminding myself that it is okay to be afraid to fail. I just have to let this fear be a positive motivator for success. I’m proud of my accomplishments so far. I moved out of my parent’s basement a few years ago, I’m forging my own path in a field that I’m passionate about, and now I have a dog! That’s the millennial dream!