Designing for Positive Change with Sasha West
Torrey Project is so proud of all the amazing and driven entrepreneurs we have gotten to know through our Startup Bootcamps (previously called our Incubator Program). One such participant, who was a member of our first ever all-female founder cohort, is Sasha West. Sasha is the founder of Sasha West Design, a design company focused on strategically designing the places you want to be and the things you want to use. This includes interior and exterior placemaking that serve to bring people together and using available resources to make an impact and build her brand. From long-term urban development of cities to temporary events and installation, her hope is to connect people with each other and the world around them while helping them gain awareness and inspiring change.
Sasha became connected with Torrey Project through two past Incubator participants, Laurel Glass Lees and Jessa Spainhower, both of whom were members of our inaugural Stakeholder One cohort. On the experience, Sasha says it provided her a great foundation and a sense of direction with which to continue to build and grow her business. “All of the sessions built on each other and allowed us to connect with other people in both cohorts,” says Sasha. Talks given by Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky on culture and James Newton on effective communication skills were especially enjoyable and helped her refine and hone her skills. She remarked on how inclusive and supportive the Torrey Project environment was, particularly that of her all-female founder cohort. “I loved interacting with such amazing women! Everyone had such different backgrounds and focuses which allowed us to learn things from each other and work together well as a group.”
Since attending the Torrey Project Startup Bootcamp in January, Sasha says that she has taken some time to relax. “I took a break and reconnected with nature, people, and myself which is what I hope to do with others through my brand. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been planning and combing through stuff I really need to focus on, like refining my values and mission statement and setting concrete goals for moving forward.” In doing so, she is taking inspiration from some of her icons in the industry such as Kelly Wearstler, Patricia Urquiola, and Miki and Radha Agrawal. “I look at how Kelly can see an overlooked opportunity and create a space for people to connect or at how Miki and Radha can create communities through solving huge problems in the wellness system and become inspired. I look to them as idols and pioneers in the industry.”
Looking forward, Sasha would like to start her own product line of interior elements based on all-recycled goods, such as recycled-glass chandeliers or dinnerware. “Laurel and Jessa, two graduates of Torrey Project’s first entrepreneurial boot camp, have been a great resource with that and in helping to connect me with manufacturers. I appreciate them being honest and direct because it helps me grow as an entrepreneur and businesswoman.”
Sasha sees the power of design to bring awareness to sustainability issues and to provide one possible solution to this problem; "to see a missed opportunity and solve it through design is really my goal. It’s on us to create a closed loop system and to use the resources and materials already available to make the world a more sustainable place."