You know that Sunday morning “it still feels like the weekend” vibe you want to bottle and save… forever? Then once evening hits, thoughts about the week ahead, looming deadlines, and an imploding inbox cause the “Sunday Scaries” to creep in. A newer term for the “Sunday Blues,” the “Sunday Scaries” refer to the anxiety of Monday morning and the return to work or school.
The founder of lifestyle brand, Sunday Forever, knows this feeling all too well: after several years as an executive at a retail brand left her burnt out and facing the “Sunday Scaries,” Ashli Stockton decided to leave the comforts of her cushy job to launch her online venture in 2016.
Sunday Forever is all about “nice things”: It’s built around the concept of luxuriating at home in a kimono, lighting scented candles, and creating a self-care sanctuary or even an elevated workspace. This is an era where JOMO (“the joy of missing out,” or the kinder antithesis of FOMO) is making headlines and #SelfCareSunday consists of masking and soaking.
It’s about creating the rituals that help you not only cope with the Sunday Blues, but take on the week with confidence. It’s also about creating the morning or nighttime rituals that become your form of self-care.
Sunday Forever found a mass audience with bestsellers like the “11:11” candle and the “Good Vibes Set,” and now some exciting collaborations are underway: a recently launched line of candles with artist Nico Guilis of the website Find Your California, and a candle collab dropping in early September with yoga studio Y7, cofounded by Sarah Levey.
Learn how Stockton pivoted from corporate executive to hustling founder, how she went from burning the candle at both ends to launching a business based on candles and kimonos, and what Sunday means to her today.
Karin Eldor: How did you come up with the concept behind Sunday Forever?
Ashli Stockton: I traveled a lot for my corporate job, where I ran an “incubation tank” type team, and I would go to Asia quite a bit, specifically Japan. I fell in love with the lifestyle there: talk about rituals! That’s where I discovered the “yukata” (a lightweight cotton version of a “kimono”). I loved how it made me feel cozy yet glamorous. So I brought it home, and I always looked at it hanging on the back of my door and thought, I love how it makes me feel, but I don’t love the way it looks. So I was determined to remake it in a print that I loved.
Eldor: I love that it all started with this kimono!
Stockton: Yes, this seed was planted at just the right time. I had what people would call a “dream job” but on Sundays, the blues would start to hit and I would wrap myself up in my kimono and do all the things to self-soothe. And then I thought, I can’t be the only person feeling this way.
Eldor: How did you think of the name, Sunday Forever?
Stockton: I came to the conclusion that my measure of success will be when I don’t know what day of the week it is. When it’s Sunday Forever, and I don’t know if it’s Monday, Tuesday, or Sunday, that’s when I know I’ve achieved the life that I want. That’s the whole philosophy behind the brand.
Eldor: Take me through your launch story: how did you make it happen?
Stockton: It was a vulnerable time as I was leaving this big job, where I was making a very nice income, to jumping into the unknown. I started by saying, If I can remake this robe, then I’ll be good. I started to set little goals, so I never felt like I was failing. Starting from the ground up, especially when you don’t have investors, is a very grinding, gritty, scrappy process. So I invested $25K of my own money to start the company, and the great news is I haven’t invested any more of my own money since. Now I’m just reinvesting into the company: two years in, Sunday Forever is projecting half a million in sales this year.
Eldor: What did you do to “self-soothe” when the Sunday Blues kicked in?
Stockton: It was a full operation to calm myself down! On Sundays when I was working in the corporate world, I remember shutting down around 5pm or 6pm. I would definitely try to get super cozy, I would smudge with sage and that’s when I started meditating heavily. And that’s also when I got really into podcasts.
During that point of my life, “Sundays” forced me to put a mirror up and say, Something’s out of balance. What is it? And so the anxiety forced me to examine what it was.
Eldor: The concept of rituals is super important to Sunday Forever. How do you incorporate rituals into your daily routine?
Stockton: I have the same rituals every morning and if my morning starts off right, then my day is completely set up for success. So they’re really sacred to me. I don’t check my phone. I will post to Instagram in the morning but that’s it, I don’t reply to emails before 9am. It can throw my day off and I think that time to get ready, and mentally ready, is important. And I will look at my calendar the night before, just so I know what’s happening for the day. I don’t do anything after 9pm, except chill. Unless I’m out, which is usually not the case. Because who wants to be out, when you can be in?
Eldor: What are the 3 most important traits of a female entrepreneur?
1- Strength and tenacity.
3- A strong vision and conviction that you’re prepared to work so hard you want to cry. It has to be that, or else you’re just not going to do it.
Eldor: What’s your mantra? The quote that’s on your vision board and gives you life!
Stockton: I always say: “Fear is a liar.” I believe fear is at the root of a lot of the things we do and don’t do. A lot of the stories we tell ourselves aren’t even real. Just imagine what you could do if you weren’t afraid!
Eldor: I love that you believe in the power of content, with your blog, The Sunday Issue! Why is developing rich content so important to you?
Stockton: We get a lot of messages and DMs and emails from customers, and I think they’re hungry for more of the story. The blog’s mantra is “Visuals, rituals and other nice things,” and the stories about how people “Sunday” can help add some comfort and extra magic to people who might be going through something similar. It’s also important for me to have a platform to support other brands and entrepreneurs doing interesting things, which connect with our philosophy.
Eldor: What does “Sunday” mean to you now, today?
Stockton: It’s another lovely day of the week that has gotten a bad rap. I always think to myself that if someone is dreading Monday, then something isn’t right.
More Info: www.forbes.com