INTERVIEW: EMMA HANCOCK FROM SUNNY JIM
Summer is coming and there is nothing better than spending our days off lounging by the pool, the beach, the park or the river with our loved ones. However, how do we beat the heat and stay protected from the elements of the hot Australian Sun you may ask?
Sunny Jim beach shades are the perfect solution. We speak to Emma Hancock, creator of Sunny Jim about her beautiful range of products and the importance of protecting the family whilst being outdoors this Summer.
Tell us about Sunny Jim? Sunny Jim is a summer-focused brand and I’ve designed a range of uber-chic UPF50+ sunshades, beach bags and cotton pom-pom throws. I have worked across several industries in three countries and all of the skills I have developed along the way have been instrumental in getting Sunny Jim to where it is today; from teaching English in Japan, real estate in Hong Kong to financial recruitment in Singapore. For two years I worked on Sunny Jim in the evening after work and on the weekends. There was a huge amount of time, emotions and finances invested in the business before it was launched in 2012.
What inspired you to start Sunny Jim? For nine years I’ve been living in Asia in the corporate world and it was during my time in Singapore I decided I needed an additional creative outlet so Sunny Jim was born. It was almost two years in the making before our first product was brought to the market because I spent a great deal of time getting the quality control and production just right
You’re only a new business, have you faced any challenges as yet? The biggest challenge has been getting used to working from home, not having a regular income and really believing that what you are doing is the right thing. Self doubt is such a deal breaker so I am really conscious that all achievements or failures, big or small, are only going to make the business and myself that much better. I also had a baby girl in June, Isabella Grace. She blessed us three weeks early so managing emails, production and orders with a new born is certainly up there with the biggest challenge of my life!
Are all the products designed and manufactured in Australia and by the Sunny Jim team? Absolutely. I designed the entire range including all of the patterns as well as the functionality of the sunshades and all of the bag designs. I am certainly not a designer and for our next range I look forward to working with someone who can help up build on our core range – as they stay, stick to what you are good at!!
After the design process our products are then manufactured in China and Morocco. We visit the factories through out the production process to ensure we know exactly how the products are being made and also to ensure the quality is perfect. We are also looking at India and Portugal for the next range as well.
What would be your 5 essentials to take to the beach on a hot summers day?
- A Sunny Jim sunshade and matching cotton throw of course! (The Copacabana Circles is my favourite)
- MILK sun cream for my baby girl (produced by Michael and Lindy Klim – perfect for little babes)- Panama hat
- Magazines from the last four months that I have not had time to read
- Oodles of water!
What do you believe sets Sunny Jim’s sunshades apart from all the other sun protection products available on the market? Functionality, quality, ease of set up, UPF50+ and the fact that you can let the breeze flow through your sunshade. The amount of times I have had customers buy our sunshades because they were over sitting in a hot little igloo/ tent over the summer and couldn’t see their family playing in the water. We know that in terms of quality, our products are the best of the market. And who doesn’t love their sunshade matching their beach bag which matches their beach blanket!
What is your favourite product from the Sunny Jim range? This would have to be our sunshades. I spent so much time working on all facets of the product and for something that looks relatively simple, the actual production process is VERY complicated! We are so proud of its functionality, the fact it is UPF50+ AND all of the additional elements that have been added to make set up a breeze.
The name Sunny Jim is perfect for your products, how did you come up with it? It is the nick-name my husbands Grandpa calls him. So it is very fitting!
What’s a typical workday like? Now I have a newborn my workdays are very different. It’s a combination of juggling emails, working with our warehouse and ensuring production is seamless all between changing nappies, feeding and settling Isabella. Who said a working-from-home Mother’s job isn’t glamorous?!?
Have you got any tips for someone who is thinking about starting their own business? Eyes wide open! Budgets are tight in small business and I now only work with people I admire and respect. If it doesn’t feel right, cut ties immediately (even if it means loosing some hard earned cash). I don’t work with anyone who I wouldn’t want to share a coffee or meal with. And never underestimate how much work goes into it. Weekends are now a thing of the past!
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning? Before I had a baby you would find me at my computer working until my hubby dragged me away! But since Isabella arrived we spend Saturday morning staring at her and often taking it in turns of having sleeps ins! Brekky is now scrambled eggs on the couch with the paper – no more glam outings to the local café!
Where is your dream vacation destination? When we lived in Singapore we were a stones throw from the Maldives but we never actually got there. This is certainly my dream vacation destination.
5 quick questions
*Home cooked meal or restaurant? Home cooked
*Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest? Instagram
*Tea, Coffee or Milo? Coffee. Skim latte. No sugar. Thanks!
*Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring? SUMMER, of course
*Favourite holiday destination? Rawa Island, Malaysia
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