The Nudge Series #21: Your Sunday Founder Sara Finney on Juggling a Career and Building Her Brand, Her Entrepreneurial Journey, and Her Advice to Women

More and more women are pursuing entrepreneurship while managing a demanding career. Many are still attempting to learn how to manage it all and strike a healthy balance. It is crucial to hear from women who are leading by example so that we can support other women who want to travel a similar path. This month, we are highlighting Sara Finney, the Director of Physical Production at Paramount and the founder of Your Sunday Shop, who is juggling both her professional and entrepreneurial endeavours. She discusses her entrepreneurial experience, how she manages a 9–5 job while building her brand, and advice for other women in business. Her insights were quite perceptive, and we are confident you will have many valuable takeaways. 

Tell us a little bit about your company and what inspired you to launch it? 

Your Sunday is an eco-luxe scent and home goods brand. Our mission is to provide diverse decor and aromatherapy enthusiasts with non-toxic, sustainable candles keeping high quality and luxury fragrances with an all natural approach. My mother was the queen of candles growing up, we had them all over the house and so it was a natural love for me that became a ritual. I would light a candle whenever I was stressed, doing some weekend deep cleaning or just needing some self care time. After doing some a lot of online research I realized the candles we loved were not from clean brands or made with sustainable materials. I began testing my own candles after six months of facebook group diving, youtube tutorials, instagram stalking and massive deliveries of equipment. 

How do you juggle your 9-5 and whilst building your business?

It takes a lot of work and time management but also I aim to give myself grace and rest when needed. Removing the pressure of perfectionism allows me to enjoy the process of building my brand; I can take the time to connect with my audience and make content. It's not always sunshine and rainbows, they're a lot of early mornings and late nights but I always remember my business is truly my passion and if I don't want it to grow it doesn't have to.  

What gap did you see in the industry that inspired you to launch Your Sunday? 
The lack of diversity in the leisure and wellness industry was truly my motivation. I wanted to provide content, and products that reflected the real every day and the people living them. The current displacement in luxury looking and feeling very traditional and uniformed left a large gap in wellness and leisure imagery, especially for BIPOC. My buyers can see themselves in a state of tranquility and joy without feeling like just a sell. Self care is for everyone, and the more I can emphasize that within my brand the better it will become. I wanted to approach aromatherapy and home goods with transparency and quality while taking an eco-friendly and cleaner approach to e-commerce as a whole.
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What is the most difficult thing about building a consumer brand from scratch?
Maintaining a work life balance and avoiding burnout. Burnout is rough and can happen very quickly, especially early on when you are going full speed into your new venture. You can start to miss the little things like quality control, connecting with your target audience...etc. 
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What would be the top 3 tips you would give to other startups? What are the three most important lessons you have learned while building your company?
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Tips:

A. Find your people - there are going to be customers that love your products and brand, reach out to them and build that trust

B. Build a team - being a one person show can only last so long, find experts in areas you lack

C. Don't miss the party - make time for the things you love outside of work

 
Lessons: 
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A. Overly communicate - send customer updates, tracking information, welcome emails, out of offices / keep your buyers in the know, early on I assumed everyone trusted their orders would be on the way with no updates. I received so many questions that could have been avoided had I sent details post order
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B. Adding new products - take it slow, and master your first few products before adding new ones. Early on I was thinking of products I wanted to add in a year but I would buy the inventory right then and it would sit on my shelves for months
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C. Rollout + Campaigns - you need a rollout for everything! From small to big you need to start to build familiarity as a new brand, I tried a few random drops and they didn't compare to those I took the time to curate  
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What do you think is the biggest challenge to female entrepreneurship to date?
Funding! Women owned businesses have the hardest time receiving funding and grants from the big financial leaders in comparison to men. 
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How can women-owned businesses differentiate themselves in the marketplace? 
Your brand pillars and voice are essential to standing out in any marketplace. Who you are and what your team represents value wise are important to showcasing what makes your business so unique and worth investing in. Invest in a trademark, and if you started a trend or made a product first let everyone know you're the original.
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Lastly, what is the future of Your Sunday?
New scents, more homeware options and becoming a destination for all things clean, aesthetic and cozy. Next year my fiancé and I are launching a tea company called Sunday Staples so overall I'm looking forward to more growth and more Sundays. 
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