Waking Up With: Sarah Kim

Waking Up With: Sarah Kim

Sarah Kim is the LA-based entrepreneur, mother, and all around inspiring being. She is the founder of By Way of Us, an organization that creates beautiful in-person events to bring women together and foster a sense of community and connection. Here, we discuss her path to creating By Way of Us, balancing motherhood with running a business, and how to build community wherever you’re based.

Hello! First off, tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately.

I’m a mom, a business owner, a partner, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. I’ve recently been juggling the balance of wanting to work and grow in my business while holding on to the sweet time I have with my child.

“To me, art, and knick knacks, things that friends make, those little collectible items you have from over the years, is what makes a house a home.”
Sarah Kim

What is your morning ritual?

Wake up when my child wakes up, make an espresso and go downstairs and make breakfast and play. Lately we’ve been starting the day with a family dance party and that’s been a joy.

You are the founder of By Way of Us, can you tell us a little about it and how it came to be?

We started this platform in 2012 on Tumblr as a way to feature women who were behind the scenes doing the work, not for the press of the work or the sharing of the work, but just doing it.

When I moved to LA in 2016, we were asked to put on an event for Shopify, and my thinking was we could bring these women off page, into a room full of people who wanted to learn from them. Since then we’ve been putting on very considered and meaningful events for amazing women who are looking to build real and lasting community and connection.

What was your path before creating By Way of Us?

Writer and editor at the coolest men’s magazine to exist: ANTENNA. Then started By Way of Us in 2012 worked on it part time while working full time on NikeNYC, Converse, Jordan at an agency called Team Epiphany. Moved to LA, worked on GOAT’s Greatest, and Outdoor Voices’ The Recreationalist

“If I’m being honest, I do feel like there is a part that always will sort of slip or will be sacrificed, but it’s about recalibrating and balancing the best that I can in a given season.”

What are some of your favorite things about By Way of Us? Where do you go for inspiration when creating and planning events?

The community is the best part. Our community is made up of women who are CEOs, some are mothers, some are not, some are young women who have such vulnerability in sharing their strengths and weaknesses, all of the women have so much to offer and are so self assured that they bring up hard stuff with ease. They have good footing but looking for more areas of themselves to explore, and they do it with such compassion for others in the room and for themselves. They’ve done a lot alone because they can and maybe they’ve had to, but they’re more interested in doing it together, which is why we meet and congregate. 

In terms of events, I always think, what would I actually leave the house for? What is worth my time if I have to find childcare, or worth missing an hour of alone time or hanging out with a girlfriend or my partner one on one. There’s also this noticing that happens in daily life and conversation. If someone has brought up money or relationship struggle or wanting to learn how to crochet two or three times, I feel like it’s swirling in the air amongst many people and we’ll put that event on.

Duvet Cover in Mauve, Sheet Set in Mauve, Pillowcase Set in Willow

By Way of Us is such an amazing resource for women in LA and Portland to get involved in their communities. Do you have any advice for people in other areas who want to get involved in their community but don’t know where to start?

Start with what interests you and find one other person to do it with you. Grow it from there. Or set up something monthly or quarterly (whatever feels the best for your bandwidth) and see how it grows. The Artist’s Way came up sooo much last year, so we started a book club!

I find because so many people have worked corporate jobs with corporate dollars, folks think they need a website and an IG handle and a location, but you really don’t, you just need one or two other people to do it with you. Don’t get caught up in the weeds of something because then you’ll never start, just start and edit as you go. 

And support existing communities: I love a walking club, With/Creators by Jennifer Pauline hosts one that I still want to attend,, a mom club (I am in awe of COOL MOMS by Elise Peterson), a hike club (Hike Clerb by Evelynn Escobar has had me hiking with my child and deep sea fishing!!), and shout out to Yarn in the Park, The Creative Cafe, Little Green Art Studio. These are all places/event series I love that you could do alone or with someone. I find these communities so inspiring and FUN and seeing them help me think more expansively about what we could do with BWOU.

You do so much to bring people together and foster a sense of community while also being a mother, how do you balance everything? What do you do to stay grounded?

Why did I just start crying??? The answer is I DON’T. If I’m being honest, I do feel like there is a part that always will sort of slip or will be sacrificed, but it’s about recalibrating and balancing the best that I can in a given season. I’m working on this part, but giving myself grace in those times, (which looks like moving my to do list from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday and getting done what I can and being okay with what I can’t). And surrounding myself with people who will give me grace as I navigate these treacherous waters of balancing and failing and picking back up and trying again and repeating it over and over and over again. My husband, my sister, my parents, my child, my team, my friends, have all been so understanding and generous with me when I’ve been late or forget or need to push a date or deadline.

The stay grounded part is easy for me though. I have a husband/partner who is my friend before anything. I know we’ll always keep each other honest and sometimes that means calling each other out lovingly when things feel off in each other or in our relationship. My sister and my parents do the same, they always have. 

Date night is essential, my husband and I love eating at new restaurants and going to galleries and basketball games. Family time is essential, my parents and I have membership at Descanso Gardens and we could spend all day there. We also love Huntington Gardens. Girls night when I can get it outside of my events is key: dinner dates, wine nights, voice notes and phone calls when I can’t meet in person.

What has been your favorite part of motherhood so far?

My son’s dance moves. His full self expression with no fear no shame, all vibes. Also the moment he first had kimchi and liked it. He actually in general is easy, it’s everything and everyone else falling in line around him taking the #1 spot in my life (my business, my marriage, my relationship with family & friends) I find much more challenging.

Tell us a little bit about your home. What is your approach to decorating?

I love a sense of ease, cool, practicality and USED and LIVED IN. Nothing just for looks. I love a Facebook marketplace find as much as I love an expensive vintage piece from someone who knows furniture well. To me, art, and knick knacks, things that friends make, those little collectible items you have from over the years, is what makes a house a home.

What are you reading / watching / listening to these days?

READING: The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, my friend Yolanda Solomon has a book coming out called Discipleship as Holy Collaboration that I cannot wait for. (She’s one of the few people who can talk about her faith without a corniness or apology or shove it down your throat who I admire so much, a native New Yorker and lifelong Knicks fan). 

WATCHING: Love is Blind (I wish it wasn't over), Selling Sunset, Crushed Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Vince Staple Show, Shark Tank ALWAYS, The Clippers 

LISTENING: The only “new” album I’ve listened to is SZA lol, otherwise, it’s Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, No Doubt, or Paramore. And I don’t watch football but man, we’ve been listening to a lot of Usher since that halftime show.

Fill in the blanks:

  • The coolest place I’ve ever woken up in is: Everyday in my house in my bed with my son and my husband. Sometimes I can’t believe how blessed I am to live this life with them. 
  • The best cup of coffee/tea is at: Any. LOL. As a mom, I love a hot coffee with whole milk from anywhere. But support local so shout out to Little Flower in Pasadena and Amara Kitchen in Highland Park and Little Ripper in Glassell Park and wow Lemon Poppy Kitchen saved my life my first year of motherhood/pandemic lockdown. 
  • A thing about mornings I’ll never get sick of is: New mercies, a fresh start, the ability to set the course of the day, new possibilities.