The COVID-19 pandemic may be causing a storm in the global retail industry, but Georgina Wilson-Burnand is not one to let the sun go down on her business, Sunnies Studios.
Georgina and her partners have been making sure the hip and youthful brand remains on the upbeat despite closing its stores on March 16, 2020, a day before Luzon was put under enhanced community quarantine.
Sunnies is the brainchild of Georgina, her cousin Martine Cajucom and her friends, Eric Dee Jr. and wife Bea Soriano.
Sunnies Studios started selling stylish yet affordable sunglasses to urban chic Filipinos back in 2013. Not long afterwards, they expanded to offer prescription eyewear through Sunnies Specs, makeup through Sunnies Face, and hearty meals from the Instagrammable chain of restaurants named Sunnies Cafe.
Georgina, co-founder and marketing director of the company, said the key to their continuous growth is their creativity in addressing the needs of both their external and internal clients.
She affirmed, "What inspires us to work hard is seeing how our Sunnies fam has come together—all 800+ members—in applying creative solutions and agile thinking, not just to the needs of our different brands, but to the needs of our community as well."
PEP.ph interviewed Georgina via Instagram direct message and e-mail on April 17, 2020.
Sunnies Family Stronger Together Amid Crisis
The positive approach and innovative thinking of the partners have been honed through their seven years of experience in the industry.
Now that they're faced with the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the stylish visionaries are working twice as hard to keep their brand and their entire crew afloat.
Georgina said, "It’s been challenging navigating the effects of this crisis to our new normal, especially as a businesswoman and a co-founder at Sunnies Studios.
"As young leaders at the head of a growing company, our priority since day one has always been to put our people first: assuring them that their safety and their security is our priority."
With this, the Sunnies employees are getting their salaries, plus benefits, throughout the period of Luzon's enhanced community quarantine.
The 34-year-old businesswoman elaborated, "To the fullest of our capabilities and the resources at our disposal, our promise is to do what’s best for everyone––from our own Sunnies frontliners at the store level to everyone in our warehouses and our headquarters.
"All members will receive their full salary and benefits through May 15, regardless of whether the lockdown is lifted or not."
The mother of two boys also said the pandemic has consequently helped strengthen the bond of the entire Sunnies workforce.
"In spite of the crisis, we’ve come closer together as one family.
"The message to our employees is clear: we’re stronger if we’re together," Georgina remarked.
Strong Connection with Customers
Georgina also emphasized that their strong connection with their customers has come in handy in these trying times.
The lady boss said, "Whether it’s a content approach that can bring a smile to their faces, or if it’s providing your consumers a sense of community and connectivity in this time of social distancing, access your consumers and listen to what they have to say."
"It will go a long way."
Aware that change is the one thing permanent in the retail industry, Georgina said, "I’m still taking my time assessing the situation.
"The lessons are endless and some still unrealized, but as we work towards a resolution for this crisis, one thing has been clear to us—the definition of a successful brand will continue to change, evolving alongside the changing needs of consumers."
When the enhanced community quarantine ends, the partners are set to launch a new collaboration with a New York-based brand.
Georgina beamed, "We have a very exciting digital launch in June that we've been working on for quite some time now with a New York-based company.
"We are really looking forward to showing you guys (and also, perfect timing!)"
*This story originally appeared on Pep.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.