Story by: Giana Mercado
As bands rocked out at the Seawalk Music Festival last month, vendors and food trucks set up camp to advertise what their unique businesses are all about. One of the vendors tabling was Sunny Life Hats with a display of dozens of colorful hats.
Not only is their mission to protect people getting active in the sun with their UV hats, but to create relationships with their workers.
Sunny Life Hats specializes in selling hand-made hemp hats made by a women’s crochet collective in Nepal. From fibers, spools, and looms, everything is sourced out of the Himalayan mountains in Nepal. Sunny Life Hats works with over 100 farmers, weavers, dyers, and artisans and ensures equitable trade and social services are provided.
The business has a huge impact on the community in Nepal by sponsoring healthcare assistance, school supplies, clothing, disaster recovery, and more for their workers.
Sunny Life Hats at the Seawalk Music Festival, Jacksonville Beach. Photo by Giana Mercado.
Sunny Stefan helped create the Sunny Life Project around seven years ago when he was traveling the world. He said met a family that had a concept of love for people and eco textiles that inspired it all.
“I found myself getting closer and closer and building relations with folks out there in Kathmandu, Nepal,” said Sunny Stefan.
Sunny Life Hats had humble beginnings bootstrapped out a backpack and a table at a farmers’ market. Now, Sunny Life continues to travel and make connections with different communities around the world. Sunny Life Hats regularly vendors at music festivals around the country, including ones in Jacksonville. The business also has plans to travel to other cities in Florida to vendor at and meet people.
Traveling and creating authentic connections with positive interactions is one of Stefan’s passions in life. “My favorite part about moving around and sharing the Sunny Life Hat project is meeting so many beautiful people. Being inspired and being inspiring; we all want to be doing the good stuff,” said Stefan.
Sunny Stefan helping a customer try on a hat. Photo by Giana Mercado.