Sasha Benz is definitely someone you want to know. The Sydney native serves as The Surf Lodge
Director of Partnerships, founder of digital business card app Cinq, and founder of two stores in Montauk. She's also married to DJ Oli Benz and has two beautiful children.
We were lucky enough to squeeze into her jam-packed schedule to learn more about her multiple Montauk ventures, how to be the hostess with the mostess, her ideal Hamptons night, and more.
Baybi Pop marks your second Montauk store. Tell us a little bit about the new venture?
Baybi Pop was a spur of the moment decision that came together in less than a month, and we are so excited about it. It's a store built on multiple brands coming together to create a place where you can shop, chill or dance - it's up to you. It's full of color and vivid energy.
Our goal was to expand our horizons so we're able to please all types of customers. We are calling it the younger, funner sister of Wyld Blue - which is almost the exact personas of my kids, who I named each store after! Baybi Pop reaches a more energetic type of person, especially since there is so much fun to be had in the space! We have a DJ booth, a wine bar, a pool table wrapped in friendship bracelets, an endless supply of guitars, as well as to-die-for beautiful brands and vintage designer pieces. I've curated and sourced my favorite brands from all over the globe—By Robyn Blair for décor, Ruffino Prosecco and Sparkling Rosé for the bar, and Under 5'10 and Dannijo to shop.
You also founded Wyld Blue in Montauk. How do the two differ?
Both stores embody different aspects of my style, and also lifestyle: Wyld Blue stays true to my travels and Australian roots, with its natural earthy tones and a sand-between-the-toes lifestyle. Baybi Pop is all about embracing spontaneity and fun, even in the simplest of things. You're bound to find yourself in either one of the stores.
As if that's not enough you also serve as The Surf Lodge's Director of Partnerships. Tell us a little bit about that role.
Surf Lodge has been a part of my life for almost five years now. It's the heart and soul of Montauk, and it's honestly given me the most incredible career path. I just adore my role at Surf, and although it's a ton of work to balance between Surf and the stores, I wouldn't have it any other way.
My job is hard to define in short, as it changes all the time, which is what I love the most about it. My role is hugely creative, inspiring and motivating. On any given day I could be hosting anywhere from four to five events, working with a globally recognized artist, have a brand pop-up activation, all the while redesigning and recreating different spaces. Essentially my main goal is to create memorable moments for anyone who steps foot on the property.
I have been able to meet the most incredible people during my time there, and it has allowed me to understand Montauk, run a seasonal business and build relationships with people and brands. Jayma, Surf's owner, has been one of my biggest role models over the years. She is so supportive of the stores, which has allowed everything that I have my hand in to run so smoothly and simultaneously.
How has Montauk influenced your style?
Although Montauk is very similar to Australia, it has a really interesting vibe as it's a small beach town, meets manic Manhattan in the summer. Everyone who comes out East is unique, creative and not afraid to be who they are - and be loud about it! So while I still generally keep my personal aesthetic as beachy, barefoot and chic, I still feel confident to be risky with my style and a little more outrageous than I would be anywhere else. Comfortable chic is probably the best way I would describe my style.
When you're not at The Surf Lodge, Wyld Blue, or Baybi Pop, what does an ideal night in Montauk look like?
My most ideal night is being home hanging with the kids outside, drinking a glass of Ruffino Wine, eating take out with Oli and being in bed by 9pm! I'm out and on my feet so much I just adore a night in with the fam.
After that, an ideal evening out for me would be an afternoon wine and sunset at Duryea's, dinner at Crow's Nest
and then a late-night drink and dance at Sel Rose.
Could you speak a bit about your style inspirations at the moment?
Recently I've been staying true to my beach roots. But since now opening the stores I have found myself enjoying a hybrid of boho and vintage with a mean statement piece (preferably Chanel
) to tie a whole look together.
What are some of your top tips for throwing an epic party?
I think the key to throwing a wonderfully smooth dinner party is to plan ahead of time. There is nothing worse than a host who is stressed and too busy throughout the evening. Being able to enjoy and relax with your guests is so important to the vibe of an epic event. I always try to have everything prepped as much as I can prior.
Always over cater; everyone loves leftovers the next day, too. Also, over stock on the wine and champagne. There is nothing worse than running out of booze. From there, make sure between you and your partner that one person is always making sure people's drinks are topped off. We had some friends over a few nights ago and took turns topping off everyone's glasses with Ruffino Prosecco!
Another key aspect is to have a good playlist. Music is essential in setting the right mood! Scented candles or a room spray are also so important for setting the mood.
And then lastly, having someone help with cleaning up is very underrated. It allows everyone including the guests and the hosts to relax and enjoy each other's company as opposed to worrying about tidying up at the end of the dinner!
Tell us about your most memorable Hamptons gathering?
My most memorable Hamptons gathering was probably the dinner we went to a few weeks back at Amber Waves Farm. It was out in the middle of the field, surrounded by flowers, candles and incredible food and cocktails. Our friend Athena hosted it, and it was catered by Daily Harvest
. It was heaven!
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com