Back in April of 2010, a few of my business partners and I shared a booth at the Nashville Southern Women’s Show. If you’ve never been to this (or a similar event), it’s a 4-day vendor expo featuring HUNDREDS of booths offering nearly everything a woman could want – jewelry, candles, pet accessories, skincare, health products, handbags, perfume, home décor, food, frozen wine drinks, clothes and more.
After arranging our booth, I decided to take a quick walk through the exhibit hall and check out some of the other vendors. That’s when I discovered SUNNYband and met the delightfully talented lady behind these fun hair accessories, Sunny Fitz. Within 20 seconds of walking into her booth, I was in love – with her products, her sweet family (who was there helping her setup) and with Sunny, of course! This woman has one magnetic personality, which I think you’ll discover in our interview below.
It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 5 years since our paths first crossed. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of watching her business grow, getting to know her precious parents and supportive spouse and even modeling in one of her recent shows! (Speaking of, get details below about her latest show coming up in just a few weeks!) I’m thrilled to feature entrepreneurial insights today from Sunny Fitz:
Let’s start with the basics. Sunny officially launched SUNNYband in August of 2010. She is located in Hendersonville, TN, however, she can ship SUNNYbands to anyone anywhere! Through SUNNYband, she offers custom, one of a kind, accessories specializing in head pieces. They can create the perfect look for any age and style! Age is no factor when it comes to SUNNYband. They have clients who are babies all the way up to 79 years young! Connect with SUNNYband online here…
Now, let’s dive a little deeper and really talk business. Tell us how you got into designing SUNNYbands? Why are you passionate about it?
It all started with friendship. I took an annual girl trip to Louisville with three of my friends. I made some headpieces for us to wear. When we rocked those bands on the town, we were the hit of the city! Stopped by a magazine for a picture, and the owner of a restaurant came out to get his picture with us for his wall. All night people were asking where they could buy them. I came home, thought I could make a few, and the next thing you know, SUNNYband was born!
I am passionate about this, because I see how my “art” and design helps girls find a “Fashion Freedom” through her pieces. They suddenly have a party on their head. They have more confidence and they feel the excitement of living just a little outside the box…and that is amazing!
How did you go from hobby to full-time business owner?
It seemed like it was an overnight transition. The demand came so quickly, we had to learn as we went. For someone who spent their entire life singing and dancing for a living, this was quite the change of career. We are still learning, but that is the beauty. We are absolutely fearless with it…and that has made us stand out from the crowd!
What is your favorite element about being self-employed? What do you like least about self-employment?
I truly never feel like I am working, even when we put in 12 hour days!
What I like least? I never feel like I’m not working. haha! I don’t have the ability to “turn work off”.
What has been your best method for generating new clients?
Social media has been HUGE for us, not only for new clients, but all of our celeb clients!
Did you have any critics when you started your business? If so, how did you respond?
I’ve always had critics. My fashion has never been in the box, so I was constantly teased about not wearing jeans and a t-shirt to school. It only motivates me to keep proving them wrong. The day people quit questioning me is when I need to step up my game! 🙂
I know your husband and your parents have been incredibly supportive of you. What impact has that had on your business? Some new business owners don’t get this level of support from their loved ones. Why do you think that is?
I truly believe their support is the only reason I have had such success. I need that “yes you can” attitude around me, and they give it nonstop. But I know they wouldn’t if they didn’t believe in what SUNNYband can do. Sometimes, I think parents and family members see only the black and white with careers. You go to college, you work for “the man”. That is how you keep a stable career and life. My parents always knew I was never going to fit inside that world. I have always had nonconventional jobs – dance teacher from age 15-22, singer/dancer at Kings Island for 3 years, Wildhorse Saloon dance instructor for 3 years and a fitness instructor. They are completely used to me being creative and crazy – and embrace it 1000%. I’m so blessed! And with a husband who plays on a stage for thousands of people a night for a career, he completely understands and supports as well!
What is one thing you hope to accomplish with your business this year? Why is that important to you?
I’d love to see SUNNYband start to get some national exposure. We have been approached by some people in L.A. who would love to get SUNNYband to the next level and this is the year we want to make that step! I don’t want to wake up 3 years from now and say “I wish we would’ve…” Now is the time!!
What do you think holds people back from starting a business or pursuing their passion?
Failure. You have to be willing to risk it all and know that if it fails (which it won’t), it isn’t the end of the world. Pick up the pieces and move on!
What is the most exciting moment you’ve experienced in your business?
Oh wow! I get excited over every moment. haha! Here are a few…Seeing our pieces on Dance Moms. Having an American Idol runner-up order 1000 pieces for her tour with Jason Aldean. Seeing our pieces on a red carpet. Getting a picture and text from Kimberly Perry (of The Band Perry) in her custom Birthday Crown saying she was in PJs at the end of the night, still wearing her SUNNYband because she felt like a princess! The feeling after our first runway show, then the first Fashion Week, our first Fashion Bash (where people actually came, bought and loved!) That is what keeps this business so alive. I literally get excited over EVERYTHING. haha!
How do we get our hands on a SUNNYband? We are doing a fabulous event on April 12th in downtown Nashville – the Spring Fashion Bash! It is located at Play Dance Bar from 7pm-9pm. We will have four runway shows and boutiques set up from SUNNYband, Tiffany’s Boutique, Lulu’s Clothing Co. and Daisy Alexandria Designs! Also, www.sunnyband.com and Facebook is where I sell new fab products!
Wow, great insight, Sunny! Thanks for sharing your story and your inspiring words of encouragement with us! Your “no fear” mindset and passion for what you do are contagious. I appreciate your time and can’t wait to see what’s next for SUNNYband!
What “golden nugget” did you pull from today’s interview? I discovered several, but I’d love to know what resonated most with you. Please share and let’s dialogue in the comments.