Q&A with Sunchild
We’re mildly obsessed with Houston vendor Christina Sun.
Her style is killer. Her hair is the stuff Pantene commercial scouts dream of. And she’s an open book willing to dish anything from business mistakes to the best bars in town.
The Houston-based collector and online shopkeeper combs the world for unique lifestyle goods with clean lines, ethical business practices and a little edge that sets them apart from the pack. The entreprenuer is also a guru on all things cool in HTX.
From how to lure loyal customers to the best ice cream in town, here’s the scoop.
How and when did Sunchild come about? Sunchild started as a collaboration between my dad and me. My dad has an entrepreneurial mind and I had a dream. Sunchild’s name is a dedication from me to my dad who encourages me to follow my passion of inspiring others to love their style. We wanted a shop name that had personal significance and Sunchild felt right. We set up shop in the Summer of 2012 with the motto “treat our customers as our friends.” We’ve worked really hard since and have never looked back.
We love that you are dedicated to finding independent designers to host in your online shop. How do you find them and what do you look for? We find our designers various ways, but mainly through shows and social media. We look for designers who embody our similar aesthetic for clean, minimal, timeless styles that can be worn season to season.
There are so many wonderful staple wardrobe and lifestyle items in your shop. Do you have a favorite? That’s a hard question, I have so many favorites! I find myself reaching for my Skargorn Tees, UZI NYC & Saint James Tops, and Catbird Rings weekly.
What is your favorite thing about Houston’s fashion/lifestyle world? I love that Houston is a chill city and you can wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and no one judges you. There isn’t a stigma attached with Houston where people expect you to be hipster or flashy. Everyone fits in.
What has been your proudest moment so far in your business? We’ve been featured in magazines, pop ups with big players like Refinery29, collaborations with incredible bloggers like @designlovefest… But if I had to pick one it would be how we consistently take care of our customers. We realized from the beginning that if a lot of the same stores were selling the same type of things, we needed to differentiate ourselves. One way we do that is by making customer service a priority. We listen to our customers. We’ve adjusted our shipping prices and return policy based on feedback, not based on what stores like us are doing. We’ve implemented a notify me feature on each product listing in which you are notified once an item is back in stock. If your package is lost, we work tirelessly with you to figure out a solution. If you email us, we respond really fast. It’s the little things that make our customers happy and that’s what I’m most proud of.
What has been the hardest moment so far? About a half year after Sunchild started, we changed concepts. We were previously selling trendy clothes that were not made with our quality standards. I had a tough time relating stylistically to the pieces we were selling. We talked about the changes that needed to be made to get to where we wanted. We wanted to carry designers who were authentic and cared about their wares. It was an incredibly hard time, lots of tears and sweat went into Sunchild’s makeover. We came out on the other side with our current lifestyle shop, which I am now incredibly proud of. The more I built a shop I believed in, the more successful it was.
Any tips for new designers or small business owners? Build a cohesive brand and connect with your audience using social media. Make your posts and comments as honest as possible so your customers don’t feel like they’re constantly being advertised to.
Sunchild’s Instagram feed is so lovely. Can you share any secrets for creating an eye-catching feed? Afterlight App! I use it on almost every photo. It makes photos really bright and has so many other features.
Share some fun highlights of a normal Saturday. What would we find you up to? I typically wake up early, respond to emails and pack orders (online shops don’t get weekends!). Then I’m on my way to grab brunch with friends and then probably posting it on Instagram (@lovesunchild) right after. My husband works in the restaurant industry so we are really into food. Sometimes my Instagram is more food than fashion and I’m okay with that. Houston has tons of new restaurants and it’s really hard to keep up!
Tell us some faves, please! Coltivare, Uchi, Provisions, Mala Sichuan, Hugo’s, Killens BBQ, Thai Gourmet, Jinya Ramen and Original Ninfas. For dessert we love Fat Cat Creamery for ice cream, Common Bond and Paulies for cookies, and Tout Suite/SWEET for cupcakes. Our favorite coffee shops are Catalina, Blacksmith, and Tout Suite. Our favorite bars are Julep, Anvil, PSA, Pastry War, Nightingale, The Commoner, and Barbarella if we’re ready to turn it up a notch.
Find Sunchild online at shopsunchild.com and at our May 7th show at Silver Street Studios May 7th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photos by Brooke Schwab.