A Day in the Life: Sunshine Tienda

Laura and Amanda Ernst comb the world for fashion and home wares (we’re obsessed with their Peruvian rugs, African baskets and ikat tea towels) that ooze happy vacation vibes.

The Texas-based twin sisters graduated from New York’s Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. Post college, Laura was a fashion forecaster turned stylist while Amanda traveled the globe from Bolivia to Chile.

“Our hope is to arouse a sense of worldly curiosity in our shoppers,” says Amanda.  “If they love what they see, maybe they’ll be encouraged to search the world for their own treasures.”

Here’s a taste of what a typical day looks like for the stylish entrepreneurial sisters that run the company from their separate hometowns of Dallas and Austin.


6 a.m. Amanda: Rise and shine! I’m an early bird and enjoy a little exercise to start off my day. I love it all – spin classes, reformer pilates, barre.  My days are spent working with children with mobility challenges and would do anything to be able to move their legs and strengthen their body. I think about that when I’m exercising, and it keeps me motivated.

8 a.m. Laura: Wake up time for me. I’ll make some coffee and pet my dog Biscuit before I head to spin class (even though it’s against everything I want to do).

Between 9 and 10 a.m. Amanda: No one has ever described me as punctual!  I arrive at my day job where I plan activities for kids with special needs.


10 a.m. Laura: I set up shop at Starbucks (vente iced coffee with sugar free caramel and cream, please) and work on our online shop.  I like to work around other people.  I do everything at Starbucks other than ship orders from graphic design and new vendors research to website maintenance.

Noon Amanda: Even if I’m not hungry, I leave every day at lunch to stretch my legs around Austin. I like to break up my day with a little exploration – especially the vintage shops in my neck of the woods – around this wacky city.

12:30 p.m. Laura: Elotes for lunch! I’m obsessed with this Mexican street food that’s basically a corn salad.  It’s very unhealthy, but delicious.

2:30 p.m. Amanda: I get in the car and visit some shops around town or meet with other small business owners. I think it’s important to know other like-minded people in the community. They’re my co-workers in a way.


5 p.m. Amanda: Cocktail time with friends (whiskey, please!) or at home solo while sorting through online dating suitors (help me). Laura: Pouring myself some bourbon cocktail. I’m trying to master the old fashioned at the moment.

6:30 p.m. Laura: Making a pasta dish with my fiancé while we drink white wine.

7 p.m.: Amanda: Because I spend my days at my “day job,” I fill my evenings with Sunshine Tienda. I’m always researching new markets to show off our goods, developing fun new marketing ideas and researching items around the globe to bring to our online shop. You know you are doing something right, when at the end of a long day the thought of working on your “second job” is exciting.

8 p.m. Laura: Either on the back porch relaxing or on a Netflix binge (just completed Madame Secretary).

9:30pm: Amanda: Bedtime. Getting up early puts me to bed early.

10 p.m. Laura: Back to work – usually website stuff and coding – before bed. Since I have my own hours, I like to work late.

Find Sunshine & Tienda goods at sunshinetienda.com.