Texan twins Amanda and Laura Ernst are on a mission to spread the good vibes associated with vacation through new lifestyle e-store Sunshine Tienda. “The peace you feel when traveling is pure bliss,” says Laura, who lives in Dallas.
“When you can take a little something from that oasis and bring it back into your everyday life, you keep a little of that peace with you,” she adds.
The sisters, both grads of New York Fashion School’s Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, had always wanted an online shop. But a remarkable and personally satisfying trip to Puerto Rico finally pushed them to sell the products they knew would make people’s post-vacation happiness linger.
With Amanda in Austin, the two spent many a Skype session brainstorming about the perfect merch. The result, thus far, has been beautiful baskets, vibrant blankets, embroidered clutches and jewelry. Although the items vary in function, they share one trait: the ability to transport the buyer to an exotic place, if only for a moment.
“All of our fair-trade products make you feel like you’ve just walked into a thatched-roof tienda on the coast in the Yucatan or into a bustling Bolivian market,” Laura says. “We carry a vibrant product mix, from straw bags and olivewood bowls to embroidered clutches and bright brass earrings and everything else in between.”
All of the goods are handmade by artisans around the world — whether they reside in Brooklyn or Africa. And each has a pretty cool story. Prices range from $15 to $100.
The goal for the girls’ business, which launched on Thanksgiving Day 2014, is simple: to sell products they love, but also to inspire others to search the world for treasures.
“We may not have the luxury to live our lives in ‘vacation mode’ all the time,” Laura says, “but we can sure try.”