With summer in full swing, wanderlust seeps in deep, with thoughts of sand between our toes, the sun kissing our skin, and the sound of waves crashing all day long. For Dallas twin sisters Laura and Amanda Ernst, global travel is their reality — as they peruse the best in artisan finds spanning the depths of Kenya to the markets in Bolivia, providing beautiful one-of-a-kind treasures for their travel-inspired boutique, Sunshine Tienda.
Inspired by the motto that “Not all who wander are lost,” both Laura and Amanda journey around the world, in search of the finest in artisan discoveries to inspire the “peace of vacation” within all. From vibrant table runners hand-picked from Guatemala to eloquently stitched backpack purses gathered from Kenya, read on as we go on the hunt with this sisterly duo in their land of eternal sunshine.
DFW Style Daily: So how did the concept of your travel-inspired boutique, Sunshine Tienda, come about?
Laura and Amanda Ernst: Sunshine Tienda was born from traveling! Our world is filled with the most incredible markets, artisans, colors, patterns and the people that create them. We only wanted to share that. Both Laura and I have lived our lives searching for things that surprise us. Following the trend isn’t exciting — building the trend is.
You two travel quite a bit and frankly we’re getting the travel bug! What is your most interesting travel story or inspiration?
Both of us enjoy finding secret spots, gems in the rough — the more off the beaten path the better. It makes you be on your toes. Laura is much more aware of her surroundings…cautious if you will. Amanda, on the other hand, gets in boats with strangers and is known to hitch-hike.
Out of all of the journeys and excursions, which have been your favorite places to wander?[We] feel like this is picking your favorite child. There are so many incredible places to travel. Inspiration is truly found everywhere you go. Our aesthetic is currently driven by South and Central American culture. Peru has colors and patterns that make us get out of bed in the morning. Well, that might be extreme, but we love it. It is just so exciting walking into a market filled with things that have no expectation except functionality, and turning that simple functionality into something beautiful.
For your boutique, where do you get most of the products?
Literally anywhere. From talented bowl makers in Rwanda, to creative South American designers on Etsy, or artisans in Southeast Asia. Our drive comes from bringing unfound [and] beautiful things to someone who is looking for something unique.
What are your current top sellers?
We have had a great range of top sellers. One thing that stands out is color; the brighter the better! Our top sellers have been one-of-a-kinds we have found while traveling — table runners from Guatemala, backpack purses from Kenya, and tapestries from Bolivia. In addition to that, designers right here in the U.S. have really impressed us, specifically the jewelry of Otra Vez, and the very unique, pom-pom baskets made by LA Based, Eliza Gran.
Specifically, what would be your Sunshine Tienda recommendation for the Dallas traveler?
I’d say our hats! We’re a little biased but those are our favorites, plus we put a lot of time in creating the uniqueness of each one. We import the hats from Mexico and add Peruvian fabrics and pom-poms to each!
The concept for Sunshine Tienda is pretty special and distinct. When you picture your ideal customer, who are they and what are they like?
The Sunny customer is someone who would be right there next to us in the markets. She is excited about being inspired when least expecting it, open to something she has never seen before, and excited about bringing foreign styles into her life.
Images used courtesy of Sunshine Tienda.