It has always been a dream for Jess Wilson to be a part of the beauty ecosystem. Growing up in a tightly knit, female-dominated family with strong personalities of their own, it was only natural for Jess to share her family’s interest in beauty and love for makeup. But little did Jess know, her fondest memories of childhood sleepovers, that mostly consisted of beauty experiments and makeup sessions, would one day actualize into a real-life, adulting version—this time with the title Co-Founder and Brand Manager plus nine beauty branches (and counting!) to boot.
Like any other teenage girl, Jess had her own share of exploratory, trial-and-error stage before finally finding her own style in beauty, “When I was younger, I used to really love dirty makeup. I loved black eyeliner, black eye shadow, and super smoky makeup—that was my go-to look forever.” Definitely a complete 180 turnaround from the fresh, barely there makeup look selfies you’d catch on her Instagram feed, “Now it’s a lot more colorful and more fresh. I try to avoid any black on my face, except for mascara. No more eyeliners, no more black eye shadow—I don’t own any of that anymore. Plus, lighter hands! (laughs).”
But for those who have yet to find their own approach and techniques to beauty, Jess says to “Just have fun with it, try things out, go through your smoky-eyes phase, do your red lips—just see what works for you, and sooner or later, you’ll get the hang of it. But I think it’s a rite of passage, you have to go through all these to find what works for you.”
For a beauty girl whose dream is to someday run her own beauty brand, it still feels surreal for Jess now that it’s finally here. Sunnies Face has surely made itself a household name in the local beauty scene (slowly getting international, Hollywood-level recognition as well!), and continues to disrupt the game since it first launched last August 2018 with every surprise product they launch.
Asked what her favorite part about running her own beauty brand is, she says, “I get to own the makeup I want. Makeup can be so expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes I see something that I really love and I’m just like, ‘This doesn’t have to be that expensive, and it can be better, and it can be in cuter packaging (laughs), why don’t we make it?’ And then you can create a whole range out of it and give it to people—that’s the best part for me. Making beauty accessible and affordable.”
All the glitz and glamour aside, the biggest challenge now is how to keep this machine moving all together, “Trying to juggle my personal life and this life, which is running our own company. Making sure that we’re able to come up with products that people like and not just for the sake of launching and meeting timelines, or just sales. It’s coming up with products that we’re so excited and proud of.” Jess also shares how you have to constantly change the game to keep everything exciting, “Once you think you’ve found the formula and figured out the rhythm, you need to change it again, because then it gets boring—that for me is the biggest challenge for the team.”
They say that when you’re doing what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life; and when we asked Jess if this feels true now that she’s finally living the dream she says, “Somehow? Like I’m always tired. (laughs) But it’s never work, work. I never clock in, clock out—so I guess, in that sense, yeah. Because even now, I was asking Mac [Igarta], ‘What brands do you like? What should we be doing? What do you want to see from us?’ That’s considered work if I didn’t love the brand or what I’m doing; but it’s never work because I’m genuinely interested to know, and I can do it all day, every day. So, I think there is a lot of truth to it.”
Working with family—especially her older sister, Georgina Wilson; and close cousin, Martine Ho—Jess says it’s impossible to separate business and family, “You can’t, and you don’t. But there are pros and cons to it. I love that I get to hang out with my family seven days a week, and I also love being apart. (laughs) I love my breaks from them as well, but you can’t really separate it. It’ll always mix. But I don’t get special favors just because I’m family. They call me out (laughs), they do. And I’ll call them out as well.”
Just almost a year into officially joining the Sunnies team, what she’s learned so far when it comes to building your own brand from the ground up is, that “You have to define your goal and truly understand what you want your brand to be. You have to be so sure about it, you have to be 200% sure about what you’re doing. As you go along, people will tell you there’s no need for a new makeup brand, the market’s already saturated, and so on. But when you know exactly what you stand for and what you’re going to offer, then go for it and put your whole heart into it. But if you’re unsure about it and you have doubts, then I wouldn’t suggest it—or else, you’ll get eaten alive.”
When asked if she can give us clues as to what the next big thing for Sunnies Face is—let’s just say, her lips are sealed.