My guest today, Leslie Hsu, is an entrepreneur by background and happenstance through much of her career! She began working in the handbag industry which led her to become absolutely enthralled by the intersection of design and functionality. Now, she is the CEO and co-founder of SUNFLOW, a beach brand that is designing innovative products that will elevate your seaside experience.
What Leslie and I talk about today is how to go from an idea to actually creating a product that we can put out into the world that not only adds tremendous value but enables us to facilitate joy as entrepreneurs. Leslie shares about her personal journey from idea to execution, how she lives at the intersection of entrepreneurship and lifestyle, her advice around being married to your business partner, and her self-care tips and advice for maintaining a balanced life while working from home.
This was a truly amazing conversation where we really go deep on the lifestyle of entrepreneurship and everything that it has to offer. I cannot wait for you to hear all of Leslie’s insights!
[1:05] About today’s conversation with Leslie Hsu!
[2:32] Welcoming Leslie to the podcast!
[3:11] Leslie shares her background and her journey of becoming the co-founder and CEO of SUNFLOW, Inc.
[9:45] What SUNFLOW is all about and how it came to be!
[12:35] Are both Leslie and her husband entrepreneurs? What is her experience as an entrepreneur vs. working for other companies?
[13:38] How did Leslie transition from a career in manufacturing to creating her own product and company?
[16:24] How long did it take for Leslie to get to where she is today? How did she take that initial first step from idea to preliminary execution?
[19:00] Why it is not “what you know,” but “who you need to know,” in order to execute on your vision sooner than later.
[19:57] Leslie shares what her experience has been like running a business with her partner and shares some tips for other entrepreneurs on how they make it work!
[23:55] How Leslie creates time and space for her own self-care while running a business and taking care of her family.
[27:53] What is next for SUNFLOW? How is Leslie going to move the business forward in the coming years?
[29:11] Leslie’s key performance indicators!
[31:28] Where to learn more about Leslie and SUNFLOW.
[32:18] What I loved about this interview with Leslie Hsu.
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More About Leslie Hsu
Leslie Hsu is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of SUNFLOW, Inc.
Three years ago, while relaxing on the beach with her family, Leslie had the vision to reinvent beach products creating more comfortable, beautiful, and thoughtful solutions. She envisioned SUNFLOW as a modern brand focused on both function and fashion. Just in time for Summer 2020, the SUNFLOW brand was unveiled. It features beautiful chairs at the center of the collection, as well as an assortment of complementary accessories to create a full outdoor solution.
Leslie’s design career was launched more than two decades ago when she joined the Calvin Klein design team. In 2000, Leslie started her own namesake handbag brand, Leslie Hsu New York, which sold in hundreds of stores around the world including Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel, Fred Segal Melrose, Stanley Korshak, Intermix, and Takashimaya. Later she launched accessories collections for high-profile brands such as UGG®, True Religion Brand Jeans®, and Jonathan Adler.
Leslie attended Penn State University and earned a BS in International Business. For 21 years she has been happily married to Greg Besner, the co-founder of SUNFLOW. They have two teenage daughters Willa and Lana, both of whom helped bring SUNFLOW to the world.
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CALL TO ACTION
What I loved about Leslie’s story is her obsession with the detail of the product she was creating and releasing into the world. It wasn’t an idea that she was rushing to market. Rather, she was being as innovative and intentional as she could with the product she was creating.
As entrepreneurs, there’s a time and place to move quickly and to step back and know when to take our time. The details help distinguish us in the marketplace; be sure to slow down and be intentional.
If you are creating something that you want to put out into the world that is going to stand the test of time, join the conversation over on The Entrepology Collective and Instagram @DrMeghanWalker to learn how you can take this vision and mission to the next level!
“I think my husband and I are very similar in that, if we see a void [in the marketplace] … [we’d] like to fill it.” — Leslie Hsu
“SUNFLOW is what we like to think of as an elevated beach experience. Right now, we’ve started with a hero product, which is our beach chair. It opens big and comfortable but closes small and compact with a push of a button.” — Leslie Hsu
“It’s a key point to have a good team. And that team usually brings great connections and ideas. … No entrepreneur does it themselves.” — Leslie Hsu
“Do your research online. It’s so easy now that you can find everything online. Take advantage; do your research.” — Leslie Hsu
“Do [business] thoughtfully [and] treat people with respect.” — Leslie Hsu