This budding entrepreneur has turned her creative idea into a business and has set herself the challenge of 90 days to make it work before returning to her corporate job. We love it! Meet Flo Kemp, founder of SUNNY CORDS. She'll be traveling up from Bondi Beach to the Gold Coast just to share her Sunday with us at TVM this weekend.
Read on to find out why SUNNY CORDS has scored this months TVM STARTUP STALL.
The Photo Studio Glebe; Fashion;Commercial; Jude Stevens;Florine Kemp
First, a bit about Flo...
To understand the story behind SUNNY CORDS, I need to share and explain a little bit about myself. My biggest drive in life is to reach my fullest potential. I know it sounds cliché, but I get simply triggered by the notion to achieve the impossible. While born in Brazil, my parents being both Dutch, and finishing high school in Hong Kong, it’s fair to say I had seen some of the world at a young age.
Four years ago it was time to jump out of my comfort zone again and moved to Sydney. This move wasn’t actually planned. Quite the opposite. I was supposed to go on a three-week holiday in Myanmar and on my last day I decided not to return back home (Amsterdam). I called my family and said: “Mum, dad, you don’t have to pick me up from the airport tomorrow, I changed my flight to Australia where I’m going to find a job.”
People often ask me what triggered me to do this radical move? Why so sudden? Maybe it was the impact of a 10-day Vipasanna Meditation course I had been doing in the midst of Myanmar’s forest. I personally believe that by taking decisions like these, I prove to myself that I am absolutely free in how I live my life. It shows me that I am in absolute control in what I want to do and reject any social confirmation or living in fear of failure.
Quite soon I found a job and started working for a corporate consultancy that are based in Sydney. Freedom is one of their core values and my academic degree in Psychology came in quite useful. Doing presentations in Executive Boardrooms did freak me out in the beginning, especially because of the following three judgments I encountered: 1) being young of age, 2) being a woman and 3) talking with a foreign accent. But as I developed myself, my confidence grew and started to thrive in my role as a consultant.
After three years I found myself in that same comfort zone again. Even though I was traveling all over Australia, NZ and Asia for work, I missed using my hands and being creative. This was something I had let go off while working in the corporate world.
So how did the idea for SUNNY CORDS come about?
To cut a long story short, three years ago I started to make eyewear chains with materials I had ordered from Amsterdam. The idea came from my own personal struggle and frustration with always losing and damaging my sunnies. Yet I refused to wear those old styled granny cords. At that point I had never thought I would turn this new hobby into an actual business. It was only after the loving responses that I received from my local friends in Bondi, that I realized that there was a huge opportunity sitting right in front of me.
I started working in the evening hours besides my job for more than a year. I let go of my social life because I was so determined and energized by this new mission that had come into my life. After one year I reached the point that I knew if I really wanted to take SUNNY CORDS to the next level, I would have to quit my corporate job. I set up a meeting with my boss and said I wanted to take a sabbatical. He allowed me 3 months off, and not one day longer as he really needed me back.
When you read this story I’m in the midst of this 90-day period and working my butt off, but with absolute joy. To me this is not so much about the end result (being successful), but it’s about exactly this, the process towards it. The SUNNY CORDS’ label stands for all elements that I personally strive for in life, which all comes down to being free, following your passion, and stop living in fear of failure. Therefore the brand is so much more than fashionable eyewear chains. It’s about telling the world a message and trying to set an example for all those people who doubt themselves. Because God, how often I have done that myself, but you are the only one who can prove yourself wrong. Welcome to SUNNY CORDS.
What pieces are included within your range?
SUNNY CORDS consists of the two collections: 1) Summer Casual and 2) Summer Chic. The first includes designs that are different, stand out, and have that real bohemian hippie feel. The second collection is a bit more delicate and classical, which is more suited for those who want to complement their outfit in a more subtle way.
In total these two collections consist of 14 different designs with 32 different variants.
What is your creative background?
I believe creative people have always known that they are. You feel yourself being drawn to anything that is made, and literally have itchy hands to do it yourself. At home, I’ve always painted, experimented with photography, and made jewelry myself. I had never an urge to do a creative academic degree, as I regarded being creative always as a ‘side thing’. Now I’m starting to realise that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.
Where is the label designed and made?
All designed and made in my craft studio overlooking Bondi Beach. The view is my best source of inspiration as it’s different every day and so allows you to always see different things everyday.
What inspires you?
Making only things that I absolutely love. I strive for perfection. Not only to ensure the customer receives a great product, but also to fulfill my own sense of pride about what I’ve created.
Latest collection consists of?
No matter what day it is in the year, I’m always experimenting with new designs. There are a few designs that haven’t been added to the current collection just yet. These needed to be tested first with the market before they come available. I often receive the response: “It’s so difficult to decide, which one to buy!” So I don’t want to add to that complexity… 😉
What's on your mood board?
SUNNY CORDS aims to serve two types of fashion styles: the ones who like to stand out (Summer Casual) versus the ones who like a more subtle addition (Summer Chic). Therefore we have got two different mood boards for these two.
What’s your creative space like?
My creative space is my own apartment in Bondi Beach. Whenever you enter my place, the chances are likely that you will see that my home is completely turned upside down. You will various set ups for product photography, while another corner is filled up all the tools and materials for making the cords. At the end of every working day, I do tidy everything up again. That’s something I learned; you need to be so organized, because the creative process always ensures you turn things into a mess!
What music do you listen to while designing/creating?
Always upbeat music. And I always turn up the volume (sometimes resulting in an upset neighbor…). Upbeat music allows me to really to really focused. Upbeat music allows me to sink deep in my own zone, and then time passes by in a split second.
A day in the life of you consists of?
My day starts off with my morning routine with my handsome flat mate. This consists of first going to our gym at BeFit together for a 45 minute high-intense work out, followed by a quick dip in the ocean, and ends with a coffee at Porch and Parlour which is a café which is located below our apartment. Once my flat mate is off to work, I start making a list of what I want to achieve that day. This typically involves dispatching that day’s online order (wrapping, writing personal post cards, post office visits), doing the photography for the website and social media as well as spending some hours of power behind the computer. This is what I enjoy the most about being an entrepreneur; the variety of things that are on your plate as well as being your own boss and therefore control what you do. Because I’m so passionate about SUNNY CORDS it hardly takes me any motivation to start nor to push through.
A friend of mine who lives at the Gold Coast recommended the TVM. I really appreciate the extra effort you take by really creating a success story for every stallholder. I have not come across any other markets that do it with so much passion as you!
Find Flo and Sunny Cords at TVM this Sunday 12 March and connect online via:
Website + Shop