MEGA Associate Editor Angelo Ramirez De Cartagena and Monique Buensalido talk to the iconic women behind Sunnies Face, who have captivated their audiences ever since entering the limelight on their own individual terms.
For Georgina Wilson, there is no such thing as slowing down—completely. With a bouncing one-year old on her lap cooing at the sight of everything that moves, she manages to keep an elegant hold of our conversation, tend to her son, and even presumably map out the next few hours leading up to her 6:00 AM flight the next day.
“It’s definitely a dream come true. It doesn’t feel real—just yet,” she says, shedding light on Sunnies Face, the latest venture to come out of the desaturated retro-inspired lifestyle that they are now associated with. “We wanted to do makeup before we did Sunnies. We’ve been waiting for so long and we really had to reach the size that we are now to be able to do it in the way that we wanted to—to work with the right manufacturers, to have the right distribution and to do in a big, impactful way.”
A long time coming, this milestone of an effort is what Wilson feels has been her life’s true calling. Once she starts getting into the nitty-gritty of the business, you will be rooted on your perch, amazed at how much she is really into the fundamentals of makeup’s research and development as well. Clearly, Georgina knows her stuff. “It’s every girls dream, but I’ve always looked at products and have in-depth discussions about it. I don’t like putting on makeup on people, but I love talking about products,” she explains. “What also excites me about makeup is how can you put a price on feeling better about yourself? How can you put a price on the confidence that red lipstick gives you? That to me is priceless.” For Georgina and the rest of Sunnies Studios family, the goal was always to offer the best quality products without breaking the bank. These women just get you—point blank. “Beauty that gets you [the tagline of Sunnies Face] is beauty that makes you feel exactly the way you want to,” she reasons. An obvious tip of the iceberg, she cannot wait to get things cracking on the next phases of Sunnies Face, as well as the rest of the plans they have for Sunnies Studios and all its brands. While she is tightlipped about where they are headed next, she has this to tease us with: “I actually do not see the world with boundaries anymore. I’ve always seen Sunnies as at par with whatever is happening in the world. The key now is to make us live in different countries, too, because we’ve built the brand in a way that it was for the world and not just one place.” she says with a smile.—ARDC
Jess Wilson may be the new girl in the Sunnies team, but she has always been a beauty girl, working for a major beauty multinational here in the country for a handful of years. But that wasn’t enough for someone who obsessed about colors and palettes with her sister and cousins. “Once I got into beauty, it was then my dream to open my own makeup line!”
Now, the powerhouse foursome of Sunnies is officially a quintet with Jess, and being part-owner and brand manager of this newest beauty player is a welcome challenge for her. “I love being able to work with people I love so much,” she says. “It’s so amazing to create something together, to have one single vision, and to have everyone work so hard to get there. There’s a lot of risk but our hearts are 200% in it.”
Sunnies Face was born because the brand’s campaigns would always incite inquiries about the lipstick shades and looks for the models, aside from the eyewear. It was no surprise for the team, because they were always finding themselves mixing and matching their own colors to match the sunnies; it seemed that the perfect Sunnies colors didn’t exist yet, so it made perfect sense to finally make it themselves. But of course, starting a makeup line is more than just loving colors. “We all thought we knew makeup, and we thought we knew what we wanted, but it’s a lot of work,” she realizes. Despite her past stint in beauty, she had not been in development, as she was working on a brand that existed. This time, she was starting from absolutely zero. “No brand, no identity, no formula, no colors, no names, no models…everything was from the bottom up.” Culling together their collective know-how, the ladies behind Sunnies Face have crafted a collection that is universal to every skin type and tone. And this was something they had intended to tick off since day 1. “We have amazing formulas,” she reveals. “Formulas that we know are marketing abroad for US$40, and what’s exciting is that we are able to make it more affordable. What’s the point of having a great formula if no one can afford it?”
Inspired by her new “officemates,” who she has seen as absolutely perfectionists, she is determined to make it nothing less than perfect. “When it’s yours, you don’t settle. You don’t stop until it’s perfect. It’s about creating that kind of newness that what makes a makeup brand exciting.”—MB
Related: Sunnies Face Has Your Dream Lipstick
I always thought I was going to be a doctor,” muses Bea Soriano-Dee. While we have no doubt she would have made a great one, there would definitely be no Sunnies Studios had she decided to pursue the MD. After all, it was her experience (shared with business partner, then-boyfriend and now-husband Eric Dee) of putting up a fashion brand called Charlie Apparel back in 2011 that paved the way to creating Sunnies. Since that first eureka moment, Sunnies Studios has grown quickly into a multi-concept lifestyle brand of eyewear, food, and now, beauty.
While many would argue that it’s the brand’s effortlessly cool, SoCal vibe and perfectly pastel social media aesthetics that has launched it to its success, Sunnies would definitely not be the empire it is today if not for the careful and deft strategic business moves that laid the foundations for it. As Operations Director, Bea has played a major role in ensuring the steady growth of the company, from ensuring their day-to-day operations run smoothly to strengthening the backbone of their business. Martine and Georgina deal with the more creative side, while Bea and Eric focus on operations and finance. “We all have different strengths,” she agrees, but this works because they share in one vision for Sunnies: beautiful things at the right price, whether it’s a stylish pair of eyeglasses, a delicious brunch with your girlfriends, or a coral lipstick.
With all their hard work combined, they have built such a strong brand essence that when they launched Sunnies Face, everybody knew what this makeup line was going to be about even before seeing the line. “We’re in the middle of personal and pro,” she says. “We’re color-driven, but it’s not about having a full, made-up face.” It’s exactly what everyone imagines, that nonchalant but on-point style that their eyewear and cafés exude—only this time, it’s in the form of makeup. And just like any Sunnies experience, the beauty line is aspirational but definitely affordable. Sunnies Face is definitely going to propel the brand into new heights, and while the makeup fan in Bea is excited, (“Who wouldn’t want an unlimited supply of makeup?” she chirps) the operations director in her is focused on making sure that they execute brilliantly and flawlessly in each and every concept. Her attention and eye-for-detail remains on all their products. “The brand is growing so fast! I just want to focus on the four concepts and ensure each has an identity of its own,” she marvels. Bea is excited to grow Sunnies Studios even more, and continue growing together with her friends and family. “This is a vision that I share with people I love,” she says. “I’m so happy where I am right now.”—MB
“Personally, I couldn’t think of any makeup brand that spoke to me completely, entirely and holistically. There are some brands where we love the visuals and messaging, but we don’t really love the product. It’s not a holistic love for the brand,” Martine Cajucom says as we start to dissect the big and small of the latest adventure that they are embarking on with her brand’s makeup line, Sunnies Face. “We wanted to create a brand that obviously had the best formula available; We wanted to create a brand that spoke to women like us and we wanted it to be accessible, because what’s the point if you cannot afford it? So, we wanted to create a product that is universal for everyone, something that we wanted ourselves. Our tagline is: Beauty that gets you. A big part of that is, we are you. We create products that we love and we think you will love, too.”
Right then and there, she already gets us, as she has already probably understood the ins and outs of a rabid Millennial’s mind. With Sunnies Face, they aren’t setting out to change you. What they intend to do, however, is to change the game—as they have done for the past 5 years and counting. Sunnies Studios, more than the Wes Anderson daydream that they have been exhibiting since its inception, is a lifestyle that capitalizes on democratizing the aspiration for everyone. Making the visual appeal attainable to the widest scope possible, people gravitate to it even in theoretical form (as was the case of the possibility of a makeup line then). Now, products aside, people gravitate to their experience, whether it’s eyewear or food or makeup, which people will buy into it because people just get it already. “It is a big thing of what we do because people have access to the internet and they see things online and it’s so important for us to bring that home to people.”
Taking off from this, the general idea of Sunnies Face boils down to something pretty simple: Beauty being the best version of yourself, and not anything else. “It isn’t about transformation,” she says. “Sunnies Face is not about wearing a mask. It’s about feeling good about you.” Martine looks back at the entire summation of her foray into the deeper end of business with Sunnies Studios. “It never gets old. You know, you think that 5 years into it, I’d be numb,” she ruminates. “But every time I see someone wearing Sunnies or seeing them at the store, it makes me just as happy as opening our first store. It’s the same with Sunnies Face. So, every time someone makes a purchase, I’m like, ‘Wow, they put their money and trust on us, and they use it.’ It is just as cool as it was 5 years ago.”—ARDC
For the whole cover story, see more on the August issue of MEGA Magazine.