Sandra Soteriou aka Sunshyne Jones, has always worn a headwrap ever since she was a child, since being Haitian it’s part of her culture. Her mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother always wore one so it was perfectly natural for her. Believing they look so unforgettably regal and bold, Sunshyne wanted to feel that way too, so by wearing her headwrap makes her feel confident, strong and ready to tackle the world not only as a wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend and all things in between but mostly as a woman.
Not only are Knots UK headwraps cut and sewn in London by women but are also sourced from all around the world by women thus being offered in a range of different fabrics and colours that can be tied in various styles. In this interview, we explore why Sunshyne as the founder of Knots UK, wants you to stand equally as tall & feel empowered as she does whilst wearing one of her head-wraps.
Hey Sunshyne, how is your day so far?
Great! I’m currently in Greece with my family for our Spring Break.
As an entrepreneur can you tell us what a typical 24 hours for you like?
I have a 9-5 as well as owning my own business. So I’m juggling quite a few things at any given time and I’m a wife and Mother. I have dedicated days for my business which normally start with replying to emails, sorting stock, contacting my suppliers abroad. I then take an hour out of my day for hot yoga then come back have a light lunch and get back to making contacts.
Can you give us a little background information and take us through the journey of how you got to where you are today?
Both my parents are from Haiti. I was born in Miami but was sent to Haiti as a baby to live with my grandparents as my mother was trying to get her feet on the ground working in America. I came back to Miami when my mother started working full-time. My first language is creole.
All of the women around me always wore a head-wrap. They were really strong women. Most looking after their families on their own. I have always worn one – even as a child. I loved the way the women looked at them – so regal. They always stood out when they entered the room. I remember thinking ‘when I grow up I want to do just that – stand out. Headwraps are a very important cultural accessory not only to Haitians/ Caribbeans but to many other cultures and communities all over the world.
How did you arrive at the point of wanting to launch Knots UK?
There were lots of things that prompted the business but I suppose the one that sticks out is when my friend who had Cancer contacted me and asked me to come over and show her how to wrap and so the story began. I began showing other women who’d lost their hair to chemotherapy. For me, that’s a really big part of this work. I want to give something back to those women.
Make them feel strong and powerful – like a Queen with a crown especially as they are going through such a difficult time in their lives. I work closely with a charity called the Hello Love foundation who support people with cancer. Since I started I have been lucky enough to connect with women from all over the world who give me exactly what I need when I need it. I am really enjoying this part of the story.
Is it hard to get started?
The answer is no – just start! if it fails start something else.
What were the first steps you took to launch Knots UK?
I spoke to lots of people about my idea to start my business and so many people gave me some valuable advice. The first thing was coming up with a name.
What research did you do prior to launching your company?
I looked at what was currently on the market in the UK and worldwide and felt there was a small gap. After I launched I realised there were quite a few businesses doing something similar to me but there’s room for all of us. So many other companies all over the world support me and I support them. There’s no animosity. Why should there be? There’s plenty of room.
Which social media tools did you currently use to build the Knots UK brand?
My website and Instagram are my main tools.
Can you tell us a winning moment for you so far?
We recently featured in Black Beauty and Hair Magazine with the English Touring Opera Company. Amazing!
Congratulations! Ok, so what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Listen – you never know what you’ll hear. That one piece of information could change everything!
What are you still learning about in the hair industry?
I have locs and am constantly learning the best way to keep them healthy. It’s trial and error. What I know for sure is there’s still so much to learn.
What do you think the common misconceptions are of entrepreneurism?
Success will come fast or not at all. The reality of it is it can take months or years of hard work and time before you see any payoff. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen but it won’t happen overnight.
Have you at any point throughout your career trajectory had self-doubt?
All the damn time but I don’t let it stop me! I just keep going.
What are your goals for the next 6 months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I’d love to do lots more workshops not only for women with cancer or alopecia but for all women. I’d love to empower more women to stand tall. The only way to achieve it is by staying true to myself and the brand.
What areas are you looking at to continue the growth throughout 2018?
Many more collaborations. When we work together we can achieve anything!
Lastly, what does it mean to you to truly #BEYOUROWN?
Just be you.