Sonia Zarbatany seems to have it all. The businesswoman, wife and mom of two grew up in the fashion industry. At the age of 9, she used to go to the office and do odds and ends jobs. After university, instead of going into the family business right away, she chose to move to Los Angeles to become a life and business coach to make a difference in people’s lives. “Showing people how to achieve the lives they wanted, and giving them different techniques on how to achieve it is a great passion of mine, the self-made entrepreneur told MTL Times.” After 7 years away, she was then ready to move back home (Montreal) and get back into the grind of the fashion industry. Her family business distributed brands such as Kathy Van Zeeland, Guess and other big name brands. A little while after that, they discovered Vince Camuto and Sancturary brands, and the rest is history. “I love developing the brand into becoming a household name as well as our other brands, CeCe and One State in Canada, she states.” Here are 5 questions to Sonia Zarbatany, who was recently named President of Vince Camuto in Canada.
– What do you like the most about Montreal?
“When the sun is out, Montrealers are ready to play. I love the summer because it’s when the city lights up. The people are friendly, warm and real. I love the true friendships I have in this city and that my kids can play and be raised in such a safe environment. We have a big city vibe even though we are probably more like a small town!”
– What is the biggest difference between Montreal and the other big cosmopolitan cities from your point of view?
“Montreal to me is home. It’s a family-oriented, culturally enriched city that allows me to find the perfect balance between work and family life. I find the biggest difference is probably the work life or the work mentality. In Montreal, we work hard, but we definitely don’t grind like they do in some of the other big cosmopolitan cities. Whenever I travel, the second my plane lands in New York, I can smell business in the air. The idea of 9-5 does not exist. Work hours consist every waking hour! Other American metropolitans are much more work oriented, and focused on financial success.”
– What is a typical workmweek for you?
There is absolutely nothing typical about any work week. During market week, I am in New York once or twice a week to preview new collections, work with Canadian accounts and plan what will be in stores for the next collection. If I am working from the Montreal office, my days start from the second my son or daughter wakes me up to the second my head hits the pillow at night. I prepare my daughter for school and I head to the office where I’ll do anything from sales, to logistics, accounts receivable and payables—basically, oversee every part of the Canadian business. I squeeze in ‘me’ time by heading to the gym. Then, my evenings are family time, events and back on my laptop for more work. My social media platform has become a great source to share tips and coaching so I do my best to give it an hour a day. I try to balance work and family life as much as I can. Some days I can do it all, and others not so much.
– Tell us about the happiest moment of your career/hardest moment?
“The happiest part of my career is learning from the best in the business. Watching Bruce Makowsky present the new collection to 20 members of QVC when I was just starting off in hand bags was the ultimate motivation for me. Sitting down with Vince Camuto as he taught me his passion and drive to build the empire he has built and being in the audience as he won Father of the Year in 2014, I mean, that was so inspirational! Watching Deb and Ken Planko create a household name out of their passion with Sancturary clothing. Meeting Tony Robbins and understanding the level of success he has achieved by giving people the tools they need to succeed in their lives. My happiest moments are the ones when I am learning from the best in business.
The hardest moment of my career is ongoing – it’s the constant battle of balancing my family and my career. If I’m at work, I’m not with my kids. I took a week and a half off for maternity when I gave birth to my second child and was right back to working from home while breastfeeding and traveling with my baby. I’ve missed recitals, baby birthday parties, school meetings. The constant pressure of balancing mom life with being a successful woman in the industry can take its toll.
Five years ago, Zarbatany’s business was distributing global brands in the Canadian market. Today, Vince Camuto hired her to be the President in Canada. « Nowadays, my focus is speaking at key events and group coaching events that I do at my home. In the past 5 years, I’ve also become a mom and raising my children has taught me a whole new meaning of ‘juggling’! I share my tips on balancing it all on my instagram stories and posts.”