Sunday Riley | Founder and CEO of Sunday Riley

In episode eighty one of the Glow Journal podcast, host Gemma Watts talks to the founder and CEO of Sunday Riley, Sunday Riley. 

Sunday Riley is honest about failure- so much so that she credits several missteps with the success of her namesake brand. 

Sunday Riley was launched in 2009, in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis, with Sunday herself explaining to me that often perfect timing doesn’t come wrapped up neatly with a bow. The “right time” may well be disguised as chaos. 

The brand’s price point began somewhere significantly higher than where it sits now. Sunday pushed to have it lowered, and while many told her she was making a huge mistake, she explains that she’d rather go down doing what she feels is right. She allowed herself to be led by intuition which proved to be the right call, with Barneys opting to pick up the brand before its launch, despite a recession. A few years later the brand was picked up by Sephora, where it failed miserably (in Sunday’s words)- so much so that the retailer forgot the brand existed and left it off the store map.

A failure of such epic proportions was precisely the motivation Sunday needed. She made a promise to Sephora that Sunday Riley would become the number one skincare brand, in the number one store, within the season. At the time, they were sitting at number 55. Within a few months Sunday Riley did become the stores highest selling skincare brand, and despite absolutely no marketing budget, several of the brand’s products hit global cult status- which is where they remain today, 12 years later. 

In this conversation, Sunday shares the importance of removing ego in business and acknowledging where you’ve gone wrong, how intuition led to her pulling multiple best-sellers from the shelves and, in several cases, reformulating, and how she built her business from the corner of working car garage. 


Follow Sunday Riley on Instagram @sundayriley

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