The designers, Emily Cohen and Sabrina Jaggar, tell all about starting their brand and juggling work and family
Why did you set up Sunuva?
E: About 10 years ago I was on holiday with my newborn daughter Noa and my two-year old son Ethan, when I had to put him in a pretty ugly, Micky Mouse rash vest to protect him from the sun. Later, I met Sabrina by the pool as our boys recognised each other from nursery back in London. We got chatting about how awful most UV swimwear for kids was and, as they say, the rest is history!
What did you both do beforehand?
E: I had a make-up brand called Pout, which I ran with two friends. It was a fantastic seven years, full of fun and challenges which ended when the business was sold to Victoria’s Secret in 2007. Sabrina was a chartered accountant in the city for years which gave her great business training before moving into costume jewellery design.
What sparked your passion for children’s swimwear?
S: We found there was just a serious lack of good-looking, quality stuff on the market, and we wanted to start something that one day would become the go-to brand for kids hitting the beach. I’m very proud of what we have done so far.
Describe a typical day for you.
S: There is no typical day, which is what we love! We jump from design to strategy to production, and everything in between. We are a relatively young business so sometimes it’s just a matter of all hands on deck.
What’s the best thing about your job?
E: There is never a dull moment! I also live about five minutes away from the office so I don’t waste any time commuting, and we have an absolutely amazing team, who I love.
S: That there’s still a sense of thrill – whether it’s opening samples from a new collection, or seeing our customers in Sunuva.
Are your children a big inspiration?
E: I have two children, Ethan and Noa, aged 11 and nine, and Sabrina has four; Noah, 14, Rafi, 13, Joshua, 11, and Maya, 10. Our kids test everything and they all like different things for different reasons. Noa is obsessed with fashion design, so she is my biggest critic.
What’s been your proudest moment?
E: Prince George in a Sunuva t-shirt for his official third birthday photos – that will literally go down in history!
How do you juggle family with work?
S: It’s a huge juggle but it was much harder when they were younger, or when they were going through exams to get into senior school. I’m probably going to kick myself for saying this, but I feel I’m through the hardest part.
What advice would you give to someone launching their own brand?
S: Make sure your business plan stacks up. If you haven’t nailed down your concept and figures it’s going to be a much tougher slog. Be prepared for a bumpy journey – it’s rarely plain sailing, but all the bumps are notches of experience and it’s an incredible ride!
What else can we expect from Sunuva?
E: We’re really excited to be launching our first capsule teen collection up to a size 15-16 years. And the mainline collection has grown, with a bigger baby range and fabulous accessories too.