We sat down with the talented #Girlboss of Sunnies Studios, Georgina Wilson.
We all have our essential accessories: a statement necklace, a pair of black pumps, an everyday watch… but this summer the standout item for every Sassy Girl has got to be a pair of awesome sunglasses! A firm believer that a pair of frames can take a look from zero to hero, Georgina Wilson brings her impeccable style to her own eyewear brand, Sunnies Studios. Founded in 2013 in Manila with fashion designers Eric Dee Jr, Bea Soriano and Martine Cajucom, Sunnies Studios is now spreading the love across Asia, exclusively on Zalora! We recently caught up with the off-duty model at the swanky pool deck of Hotel Jen in Singapore at the launch of Sunnies Studios. Read on to find out more about these exciting new shades…
What inspired you to stock Sunnies Studios with Zalora?
We started in the Philippines with Zalora and when the site first launched, we were one of the first brands to work with them straight away. I believe in what Zalora is doing and we’re very aligned in terms of branding and what we’d like for the future. We’re both very progressive and have a vision that really works well together.
I also really love online shopping and it’s something that I want people to get more used to. Zalora has got strong marketing in Asia, which will direct shoppers online. Zalora has put a lot of work into educating people on how to shop online and I feel really comfortable having Sunnies on that platform.
You’re one of the founders of Sunnies Studios. What other roles do you have in the company?
Sunnies Studios was something that my two best friends and I wanted to work on together and I told them we just had to do this with my cousin too, who was working with American Apparel that time. We couldn’t do it without her! So the three of us decided to get together and start the brand. We each have our own division and roles, but Martina and I work really closely. I oversee all the marketing campaigns with Martina as the Creative Director, so there’s a lot of back and forth. Because it’s something that we started together, we handle so many things – from HR to logistics – and as entrepreneurs, I would really do just about everything and anything for the company! On top of that, I think about the PR and marketing aspect of the business in terms of who I’d like to be wearing it, who should be seen in it, online strategies and more.
Your brand is known for its playful campaigns, was this a strategy from the start?
Yes, it was. In fact, I’d advise anyone starting a brand to do this – we knew our brand so well already before we introduced it to the public. We worked on it for over a year before we opened our first store. We had so much content and we knew it so well. And I think that’s really important, to start by knowing your brand well. We’re also really comfortable with the idea of evolving and not just sticking to one look. We’re always open to to ideas and no matter what, we want people to always relate to the brand. Sunnies has become so much more than just sunglasses. It’s a lifestyle.
Last year we had our first anniversary party and we told everyone to come in their own Sunnies-inspired outfit. Even though we are just a sunglasses brand, it was really cute to see how everyone who dressed in their Sunnies-inspired best took on the brand… they looked like they had walked out of Sunnies HQ! It’s really important to us that everything we touch and everything we do gives people an experience.
What makes you passionate about eyewear?
I’ve endorsed so many products, but the one thing that I insisted on when starting my own brand was that it had to be accessible to people. Everyone should be able to afford it and it had to be non-exclusive. I also wanted people to feel good about themselves when they buy a pair… People tell me that it’s one of those purchases that they don’t feel guilty about, because the brand just makes them feel great. I was looking for a product that I knew would look good for sure, whether it was expensive or inexpensive, and sunglasses ticks that box. There aren’t many products that are affordable yet look effortlessly stylish. For Sunnies, we’ve really maintained the affordability as well as the quality.
Do you remember what your first pair of frames were?
I think they were aviators…
What’s your favourite silhouette from Sunnies?
It’s so hard to answer that! I feel like I change my mind almost everyday. When you have a company like Sunnies and there’s new stuff coming out every week, there’s no such thing as a favourite. It’s more like my “Flavour of the Week”. We have so many styles to choose from so everyone can own at least five pairs each! We find it surprising that people who buy Sunnies actually come back after a week and ask us if we have new stuff. We always make sure that our sunglasses are made with UV protection and are good quality, but we realise that people aren’t buying them just to protect themselves from the sun. They’re just really cute! And that’s what Sunnies understands: that sunglasses aren’t just a functional purchase, they’re an emotional thing, a fashionable item. When you walk around the streets wearing a cool pair of sunglasses, people know that you care about how you look and that you’re fashion forward and stylish. That’s something that I want everyone to understand.
It’s not just about being loud and quirky but it’s about style. We play with many lens colours, which I initially thought people wouldn’t be so receptive to. However, we have models where the lenses are pink and people love them! There’s a brand loyalty to Sunnies in the Philippines and I’m sure it’ll take off across Asia as well.
You guys have garnered a massive following within two years of the launch. How does it feel knowing that your brand is loved by so many?
When I walk down the street and see people wearing Sunnies, it feels amazing. If I see someone wearing them, I always think, did I give that to them? I travel so much and I work abroad a lot, so sometimes I don’t realise what it means to have so many people who love the brand. Sunnies at the moment is the most followed brand in the Philippines; the growth is great but I haven’t really stopped to think about it. I guess it’s really cool… I wish I had a better word for it!
Any plans for expansion?
Definitely! Southeast Asia and Hong Kong are the first step and I’m just really happy that we have a partner in Singapore like Zalora to help us. It’s not easy to move outside our home country and Zalora has a lot of local market information so they’ve really helped us plan and understand.
Will there be any collaborations in the future for Sunnies?
Hmm… I’d love for Alexa Chung to collaborate with us, and Kiki Mizuhara too! They definitely embody the Sunnies spirit and I’d like to see what they could do with our sunglasses.
How many pairs of Sunnies do you travel with?
I usually start and the end the trip with a different number. I take around 12 pairs with me but as the trip goes on, if someone likes a pair, I’ll give them away!