Since launching Sunflow in the spring of 2020, Leslie Hsu is constantly thinking of ways to improve the beach accessories line she founded with her husband, Greg Besner. Currently, the couple is working on perfecting a pillow that will have adjustable heights for their chairs. Hsu opens up to Kate Bock in SI Swimsuit’s “How She Built It” series, admitting that it is hard to shut off work discussions when her better half is also her business partner. She tells Bock about how the couple’s daughters, Lana and Willow, staged an intervention, telling their parents to actually enjoy the beach and not think 24/7 about ways to make their trips better. “We try to respect that,” Hsu says. “We try to have family dinners without talking about it.”
When it is time to have those important conversations about expanding their business, the duo plays off each other’s strengths. “My husband, he’s perfect with the numbers. I’ll stay on the creative side,” the former bag designer mentions. “I’ll touch on all the design and the function, the engineering. We’ve worked together on other businesses, so we have good synergy. We stay in our lane. We respect what each other does. I’m proud of what he does, and he’s proud of what I do.”
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Starting a new business can be a stressful endeavor. Hsu and Besner took a risk and launched Sunflow in May 2020 at the height of COVID-19 and everyone being quarantined. Earlier this spring they appeared on Shark Tank. “They were fans of the idea and the concept,” Hsu reveals. “And we had pretty good stats that first year, considering the pandemic.” (Spoiler alert: they struck a deal but ultimately went in a different direction.) Watch the video to learn what the most nerve-racking part of the show experience was and why you should be nice to everyone in business and life.