We caught up with the brilliant and insightful SOPHIA DESANTIS a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
SOPHIA, appreciate you joining us today. What’s the backstory behind how you came up with the idea for your business?
My love for health and fitness started with the way I was raised. My amazing mom somehow found the time to cook delicious home made meals for us even though she worked full time. She always chased us outside to play, instead of letting us sit inside all day. I was active, I ate well.
I first learned how food and mindset could affect your body, when my husband and I struggled through fertility to have our first son. The combination of working with a holistic nutritionist, changes in my mindset, along with other pieces to the fertility puzzle, helped us finally achieve success when pure medical intervention was not working.
A few years later, my husband was able to use diet changes to help eliminate both his high blood pressure and cholesterol, and no longer takes medication. We work hard to find a balance between nutritious food and a happy mental place, because that’s the key to overall health.
I was an elementary school teacher where I taught both special education and first grade for 14 years in all before I decided to stay home with my boys and begin this amazing journey. I loved teaching, and now use all I have learned through my undergraduate degree in psychology with a biology emphasis, my special education and general education teaching credentials, my masters degree in education, and my experience in the classroom to help others on their journey to wellness!
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
As a food photographer and recipe creator, I focus on bringing brands to life through my authentic photography and unique recipe development. My goal is to convey all a brand stands for and showcase the pride behind the brand through professional high quality photographs and exceptional creative recipes captured in a beautifully simplistic style.
I want to tell the story and process behind the brand, not just capture the final product. My devotion, excitement and skill seamlessly blend with the passion that brands bring as we partner to create the end result. I take pride in my honesty and you can count on me being your number one cheerleader if we establish a working partnership.
I also work with others as a client centered health coach. I focus on helping people feel empowered instead of overwhelmed when it comes to overall health and wellness. I teach that small habits can lead to big changes.
I helped my husband better his heart health by completely changing our family’s diet, under the guidance of his cardiologist. I did this with a newborn and a 1-year-old, so I know what it’s like to make a health change in the midst of chaos.
Being a teacher for 14 years, and getting my master’s degree in education, helped me understand that each person is unique in how they learn, and there is no one size fits all approach. I now have “retired” from my teaching job and run my business full time while navigating life with 3 young boys.
My philosophy in helping others is built on the following:
✅ Food is only ONE piece of overall health & wellness
✅ Wellness is not just the absence of disease, it’s a continuum we are constantly moving on
✅ Change won’t happen until you decide to do it
✅ Small steps that align with your values will get you to your goals faster than big leaps
✅ You are the expert in your own life, don’t be afraid to live how you want even if it’s against the grain
I have worked with Silk, Daily Harvest, George Foreman, Green Giant, Earthbound Farm Organic, Fieldroast, So Delicious, PB2, Otto’s Naturals, Dole, 100% Pure, OSEA, Lightlife, Mezzetta, Rubbermaid and many others!
I have also been featured in both print and online. I released my first cookbook in November of 2017 and my podcast Real Food Real Conversations in May of 2020.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
My biggest social media platform is Instagram. I am proud to say that I have never paid for my followers. I also haven’t engaged in follow for follow or other strategies to gain followers. I simply have just been myself. I believe that the quality of your audience is much more important than the quantity. If you pay for high numbers, or engage in strategies to grow your audience in a way that is not authentic, then the followers you will gain are not true to your brand. If they aren’t true to your brand then they won’t engage in your content and that leaves you with people that do not care about what you are giving to your audience.
To grow my audience I simply shared what is true to my brand and what I believe my audience needs and comes to me for. I also share authentic behind the scenes photos and videos of my real life. I think this helps you be relatable and it gains trust and connection with others.
What else should we know about how you took your side hustle and scaled it up into what it is today?
I started my business as a hobby, something to do with my time that was just for me. As time went on and I saw small amounts of growth, I had to make the decision to start looking at it as a business if I was going to grow and scale. A lot of it is about attitude and how you look at something. If you think of yourself as a business, conduct your work as a business, then it will show others you are serious. I hired a business coach and she helped me take my hobby into an actual money making business. I continue to think of myself as an entrepreneur and run my day to day business in a way that helps others respect me and what I do. It’s a roller coaster, but having a thick skin, fighting that imposter syndrome, and looking at the future and your goals will keep you on track.
- Website: https://veggiesdontbite.com
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/veggiesdontbite
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veggiesdontbite
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophiadesantis/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/veggiesdontbite
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVSvyzAQWY6VprzgL2G_M2A
All of them are my photography, except the older photo of me in the kitchen with my family which was taken by Chris Nelson Photography.