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Success Case Study: Atomic Blonde and her 103k Instagram followers

atomic blonde sarah engels

Hi. My name’s Sarah Engels and I run Atomic Blonde.

It’s not about the hair colour, it’s about the attitude. Fierce but feminine.

Did you have a ‘day job’ prior to this? If so, what was it?

Still have my ‘Day Job’. I own a healthcare company and a software company.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

I don’t think I have ever had a worst job. There are always aspects of positions I have held over the years that I liked and some not as much, but I have always looked back and tried to set my mind frame while in them, so that I am learning from them. My attitude more than anything affects how I feel about the job and so if my attitude is good, then the job is good.

What gave you the idea of setting up on your own?

I have always been an entrepreneur. It has never occurred to me not to take chances. I have always expected the best outcome, know I cannot control everything and made a decision early on to have fun in the good times and bad.

How did you manage to achieve it?

I woke up one morning and said ‘Today is day one’ instead of today is another day. I made a list and just like you, eat an elephant, one bite at a time; I did that with my to-do’s and just checked them off one at time. Atomic Blonde was born.

How confident were you that it was going to work?

I am still not confident it will work but I am confident that I will not give up. 

What has been/what is your biggest challenge with Atomic Blonde?

Myself, time and podcasts. I started off wanting to leave a mark on empowerment, on acceptance and being kind. From there it went into clothing, lipstick, coffee, cookies and wigs and continues to develop. 

Atomic Blonde sells merchandise all over the world

Most recently, I have been asked to start modelling which is way outside of my comfort zone. I am trying to get out of my own way and let it be what it is. That is harder than it sounds. 

Time is always an issue with two other companies that are both full time. Podcasts are harder than they look. Not only do I hate the sound of my voice, as I think most people do, but it is also hard to always find your groove and attract an audience that is authentic and that is one of my three personal goals for 2020.

What have you learnt along the way?

I will tell you when I am done. In all seriousness, I learn every single day. Most of all, I don’t want to be the same person I was yesterday and tomorrow I hope I am a better person than today.

What has been your biggest achievement with your brand?

There are two. One is when I am recognized out in public as ‘The Atomic Blonde’ – it was never my intention to be the face of the brand. It’s odd, but at the same time gratifying, that I am doing something right. But most important to me is the people who tell me that I inspire them or give them hope. 

That is what life truly is about. If people know that the world doesn’t have to be as cold as it is, that we can change, that if just one day we all wake up and said, ‘I will do better today’, then the world would be better.

I am still not confident it will work but I am confident that I will not give up


What has worked well for you?

Surprisingly, I have always been more of loner. 

I don’t rely on people for help or ask for help. I don’t share a lot of feelings or personal matters. I have learned that surrounding myself with positive driven people who ‘think’ I can do anything (even though I can’t) inspires me to not let them down. 

By sharing my goals, fears and feelings, I have learned to lean on them and that has given me extra energy and drive when mine has been depleted.

How did you get 103k Instagram followers?

I’m dedicated to making authentic engagements. I take time to respond to people, learn about people and other businesses and send out good vibes. It takes time.

atomic blonde instagram

[Sarah is smashing it on Instagram, with over 103k followers. Find out how Tailwind can help save you hours of work every week here]

What has not worked well for you?

Setting unrealistic goals which I am an expert at as well as predetermining what The Atomic Blonde will be and how it will be perceived. I am learning to let go and let it have a life of its own so that I am along for the ride. Instead of trying to control it, I got in the passenger seat and am the DJ, loving the view, eating cookies and taking pictures along the way with my feet up on the dashboard and the wind in my hair.

Are you making more money than you did in your day job? Is that important?

Hell no!

I have lost money but that was not what the company was about. I want The Atomic Blonde to be successful so that I have a voice – so that I have an influence. I have learned to worry about what you do by worrying about how you treat everyone in your camp and that you meet. 

Go the extra mile, give more than you get, trust when it is hard, take chances, be vulnerable, let go and I am confident; in the end, The Atomic Blonde will be financially successful and be able to donate more money to charity and make a change in the world and if it doesn’t happen, then at least I got in the ring, out of the spectator seats and can say ‘I did good’.





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