Downtown Q&A: Sunni Spencer

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SUNNI SPENCER A brand architect with 21 years of fashion industry experience. Founder of Aprés Sea Boutique, a curated lifestyle concept shop that combines home decor with ready-to-wear and accessories.

1. Name three women that inspire you, and tell us why.

Kelly Wearstler. I am a big fan of everything she has put her hands to from a creative and aesthetic standpoint. I also love seeing glimpses of her role as a mother and wife.

Tory Burch. I have seen a lot of brands in my time in the fashion industry, but I have always admired the steady growth and evolution of Tory B. In addition, she is a philanthropist and champion of women; I love that. 

My blood sisters: Lisa Apen, Tonya Hills, and Misty Akers. And my spirit sisters Laleh Harper, April Critchlow, and Gina Guercia. These women are all Moms and seem to do it with so much grace and love in addition to their careers and/or other life responsibilities. One of these Moms has an autistic son and another adopted her baby girl. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the things to be admired among these women. 

2. What has been the secret to your success?

I have always taken risks. I like to create “newness” and total experience for people to enjoy. I have stepped up to ask for every promotion and salary increase I’ve received. In a world where women are seen as less valuable in the marketplace traditionally, this has been a game changer in my career.

3. If you were going to pass on one piece of advice to a young woman, what would it be? 

Don’t choose anything you do for money or how it may look to others. Choose a career you love and the money will come. You want to be able to say Thank God it’s Monday. Take internships to get your foot in the door where necessary. My best employees have often started out as interns. Be willing to start at the bottom. Be willing to recreate yourself when something just isn’t working. 

4. In the fight for equality, what area do you think needs the most attention? 

Salary evaluations and increasing opportunity for women leaders with the title. Several times in my career the men were paid out when the company sells and/or promoted to President level titles for the business financial growth I’ve helped to create. This needs to change. I also believe this enables women to compete with other women more resulting in a completely unhealthy work atmosphere. 

5. What are you most proud of in your career?

The constant reinventing I’ve created resulting in growth in everything I put my hands and heart to. Also my transition out of fear and into boldness to follow my dreams as an entrepreneur. 

6. Where do you get your confidence?

My eternal father Jesus and my natural Father showing me who and whose I am.

7. What makes a woman beautiful?

Inner confidence, humor, and a great heart. 

8. What gives you joy? 

Laughter, my husband Andrew Matusik, my friends and family, anything tropical, and of course, God.