RYP Interviews Sarah Knight of Roc Girl Gang

Sarah Knight started the Roc Girl Gang to feature and support local female creatives, entrepreneurs and movers & shakers in Rochester, New York. She partnered local female photographers with creatives/makers to give their products the spotlight that it deserves. The first interview launched May 2016 and couldn’t be happier with how the whole community has come together to “support your local girl gang”.

Sarah and her “Girl Gang” love encouraging women wherever they are on their creative journey and believe it’s important to come together and connect. The series “Becoming Boss” invites you to hear from women who have all successfully turned their passions into full-time businesses. But the focus is on BECOMING, you will hear about how they got started, things they struggled with and how they overcame their obstacles. The goal is for you to leave encouraged and empowered.

Check out our interview with Sarah and find details on the next Becoming Boss here!

Photo by Mary Dougherty

Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Sarah Knight. I have lived in Rochester for over twelve years. So I proudly call it home. I have 2 sons, Kingsley and Gideon (ages 2 and 6) and am married to my college sweetheart, Rusty (real name Russell but no one ever calls him that). I am the founder of Roc Girl Gang, which started as a passion project and is becoming so much more. I graduated from Houghton College with a background in graphic design and communications.

What’s your favorite part about living and working in Rochester?

There is always a new spot popping up. I love the innovation. I love how it’s a small enough city that you see people you know when you go out to a restaurant. It feels very comforting.

What’s your favorite Rochester season, and why?

Honestly, I like them all. They all magical in different ways. I love that we get to experience the best of all the seasons. It’s is a gift! Winter starts getting depressing in April but that’s just life here and it makes it worse when everyone complains about it. You have to make the best of it and laugh it off. Coffee helps. Leaving for a warmer climate in February helps even more.

Are you originally from Rochester? How did you find yourself in the ROC at this period of your life?

I grew up in a tiny hamlet in Northern New York called Adams Center. One stoplight, less than a thousand people. You quite literallly knew EVERYONE. I’m a small town girl through and through. My husband and I graduated from Houghton College in 2006 and found jobs in Rochester. The rest is history.

What is your favorite local company/organization? Do you have any Rochester gems you’d like to share?

My favorite place to go with my family is Highland Park. So many hidden gems to discover there. We love to go to the Lamberton Conservatory in the winter for our hit of green and vitamin D. Just a few of the places that I recommend to out-of-towners are Radio Social, Shop Peppermint, Highland Park and renting kayaks on the Erie Canal. A secret date spot that my husband and I like to go in the winter months is The Old Toad, it feels like you’ve been transported to a London pub, and don’t skip out on the mushy peas!

What accomplishments are you most proud of thus far in your life?

This feel cliche, but the transition to life as a mother was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I decided to stay home with them which was a big sacrifice (financially) but I’m proud of the decision I made and that I was able to make it. I’ll never regret the time I got to spend with my two sons before they’re off to school. Sometimes I get frustrated because I can never seem to accomplish all the things that I set out to in a day. But it always works out and they are always worth it (I just need to remind myself that sometimes).


Photo by Mary Dougherty

What made you want to start up Roc Girl Gang? What’s your favorite part about it?
I love learning about people and their stories. I followed all these amazing local talents and always wondered about them: how did they start out? what’s their background? what advice would they give if I asked? I thought that other people might be interested as well. I also noticed that they weren’t getting the notoriety they deserved.

There wasn’t a social media platform for female creatives in Rochester and I couldn’t believe it. So I made it happen and the support has been incredible. I am also so grateful for my team of photographers who volunteer their time to photograph the interview subjects, they are amazing and talented and I couldn’t do this without them!

What’s the your long-term goal for the ROC Girl Gang?

I’m not sure I’m a long-term goal type of a person. I think goals are good but sometimes it’s also good to hold loosely to things. Roc Girl Gang will evolve as it grows and I’m excited to see what that looks like and where it takes me. Also, I’m looking forward to making some changes on my Becoming Boss events in 2018. From the feedback I’ve received, women want more time to network and meet each other. So I’m trying to improve that aspect of my events and looking for venues to support that.

Who inspires you? Do you have a mentor?
I’m always inspired by the women I interview on Roc Girl Gang. Their stories are all so unique and they all offer a different perspective on life. I’m also very appreciative of the women in the industry who have gone before me and helped walk me through this new endevor. Linh Phillips has been a wonderful resource to me as she started her Sir Rocha Says blog a year before me and Tanvi Asher of Shop Peppermint is always helpful and gives me really excellent advice. My favorite part is now I call both these women (and lots more) my friends.

Photo by Mary Dougherty

What advice do you have for local young professionals?

I’d say just start somewhere. It’s a lot of pressure to think you’re just going to land your dream job right out of college (I blame social media for this one). Don’t think you’re too good for an entry level position, because you’re not. Start SOMEWHERE and start making connections. Do a good job, be polite and kind and work hard, people will notice that and want you on their team. Figure out what you like and don’t like and then go from there.

What other Rochester young professionals should we be on the look out for?

I’m excited to see where Molly Hartley & Kate Casseles from Scratch Bakeshop are headed next. They started Scratch when they were 25, have worked their butts off and are running one of the most popular bakeries in Rochester and are already expanding.