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What happened between these two competitors?
After years of conflict, it was time to combine strengths and join forces to conquer the market together. From competitors to colleagues. From acquaintances to friends. We actually found out we have so much in common, besides our passion for this niche product.
"A letter on the doormat from a lawyer suing you for trademark infringement, I think that is one of the biggest nightmares for any entrepreneur," says Florine Kemp, founder of Sunny Cords. "You are shocked because it comes totally unexpectedly, while you are building your business full of energy." In 2015, Florine started her business in Australia, where she lived for eight years and where her eyewear chains were quickly picked up as Bondi Beach's new jewellery fashion trend.
"I distinctly remember calling one of the founders of Mr Marvis, as they had experienced something similar when their company was in its infancy. It was totally unclear to us what the problem was, since Eva and Sophie's company was called 'Coco Bonito'. But they perceived it differently... I think this is one of the very few things that has given me sleepless nights during eight years of entrepreneurship," said Florine of Sunny Cords.
Always ahead of the trends
Meanwhile, Coco Bonito's founders, sisters Sophie and Eva Weijenberg, were also busy setting up their company, which they started in 2014. Besides eyewear chains, they launched a variety of other summer products, including colourful earrings, pouch bags and gilets with a South American look and feel. A characteristic of these two sisters is that they are always ahead of trends, so their designs are always creative and eye-catching.
Increasing confusion over who is who
"Suddenly, we discovered that another brand had been started that bore the name Sunny Cords. We decided to engage a lawyer, who sent a letter to the company in question in Australia," Sophie Weijenberg explains. "They totally disagreed with our view point since we were only using 'Sunny Cords' as a product name." As both companies grew, there was increasing confusion about who was who in the zoo. "I clearly remember how nervous I was when we first met. Our lawyers were trying to convince each other of their position in the case. The tension was palpable and emotions ran high. It was a stressful period," Sophie says.
It is easier to be angry with someone
Both graduated in Psychology, Florine (Sunny Cords) and Sophie (Coco Bonito) challenged each other to understand each other's points of view and think in solutions. "It is so much easier to be angry with someone than to put your pride aside," both entrepreneurs agreed afterwards. Despite the legal process lasting for three years, our mindset ensured that it never came to litigation.
Many common characteristics as entrepreneurs
In the process, the entrepreneurs found out that they had a lot in common. Besides having a similar product, both companies are run by women with a huge ambition to design beautiful products. Besides, they also got along well with each other so that's how the idea was born to join forces and conquer the market together.
The contracts have been signed
In April 2023, the time has finally come. The signatures are put under the purchase agreement and it is official: Sunny Cords is taking over the Coco Bonito company. This means that Sunny Cords and Coco Bonito will remain two separate brands with each maintaining their own identity, but we will be operating under the same roof to grow even faster together. Retailers and consumers will be able to place orders with both brands, which will then be shipped jointly from our flagship store in Amsterdam.
Perceive conflict as an opportunity to come up with innovative ideas
Our intention behind this video is to give you a tiny insight of what happened prior to this acquisition. For both of us, the experience of having opposing viewpoints with regards to the trade name taught us the lesson to perceive conflict as an opportunity to come up with innovative ideas to turn it around into something positive. Had it not been for this conflict, we would never signed the contract, which means we would have never joined forces and made this exciting announcement today.
This is something that makes us incredibly proud
Often people ask us while giggling: “Do you only sell glasses chains…?” It demonstrates the power of a focus strategy where we leverage our product knowledge to address our customer needs and a strong focus on the quality of this product. The fact that our designs are sold in over 40 countries (!) all over the world is something that makes us incredibly proud.
We can't wait to show you.
We cannot predict the future, but know that with a healthy bunch of enthusiasm and passion for this niche product, we will be continuing to grow the business for many years to come. Armed with full awareness that you cannot control everything in life, we are focused on enjoying the ride every day and if life throws us a different path then we will also be ready. We can’t wait to show you.
Disclaimer: It’s only because of the inspirational piano background song that this caption turned out to be rather philosophical.