Entrepreneur: Emily Cohen

Emily Cohen, 47, is Co-Founder of kids’ swimwear brand Sunuva

WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR SUNUVA COME FROM?
A real frustration over the limited availability of nicely designed, cool, good-quality UV swimwear. I didn’t want to be putting my kids in rash vests with Disney characters all over them. Ten years ago, when we launched Sunuva, it was virtually impossible to find really nicely designed swimwear for kids. The UV aspect was particularly important to me at the time as I had a baby and a two-year-old. Now, 10 years on, Sunuva’s offer has really grown to include ready-to-wear loungewear, a baby collection and a teen collection.

DOES HAVING A BUSINESS PARTNER MAKE IT EASIER?
So much easier. I don’t think I would ever have set up Sunuva if Sabrina [Naggar] hadn’t been in the picture. In the early days of running a business, it’s great to have a partner to not only share the load, but to bounce ideas off and generally share the responsibility.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SO FAR?
The day-to-day juggle of being a working mum. School stuff, food shopping, cooking – all aspects of life as a full-time working mum. It’s definitely tough, but if you can get it to work, it can be very stimulating and satisfying.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT WITH THE BUSINESS?
Definitely when Prince George was dressed head-to-toe in Sunuva for his official third birthday photos. It was an incredible time and catapulted the brand to another level.

WHAT PERSONALITY TRAITS HAVE HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
Conviction in my ideas – if you don’t believe 100 per cent in what you’re doing, you may as well pack up and go home. Second, don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself. Third, passion and determination.

DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS…
It’s never-ending. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t snap something on Instagram, see a nice pattern on a wallpapered wall somewhere, get inspired by being out and about, looking at what other people are doing. It’s an ongoing process that you need to be naturally plugged into. It’s the side of the business I enjoy the most. I get a lot of my inspiration when I travel. I am in India every year to visit factories, and to source fabrics and trims. I usually come back with a big box full of treats.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE THE BUSINESS WITH FAMILY LIFE?
On weekends we spend quality time together as a family. Family holidays are golden time; we do some great adventures together. I try to be home by 6pm so I can help Ethan, 13, and Noa, 11, with homework and hang out with them at the end of the day.

WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN RIGHT AT THE START?
How hard it was going to be, and how long it takes to make money.

ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
Make sure you are prepared to be in it for the long haul. It’s like building a house; whatever the builders tell you, it always takes longer.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR SUNUVA?
Hopefully world domination. A new teen collection, a new baby collection and a capsule collection of beach dresses and kaftans for women.

sunuva.com

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