Biz Extra

Published: February 20, 2020 | Updated: February 20, 2020

20 Questions: Sunny Bird, Founder and MD of Sunny Bird PR and the Perfect Dress Company

What do I look for in a new employee? Someone with a can-do attitude. Positivity is also really important to me.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Each week we shine the spotlight on a member of Dorset’s business community and ask him, or her, for answers to our part fun/part serious questionnaire. This time…

Her favourite smell is vanilla, she gets angry at bad manners and people who can’t say they’re sorry, still remembers all the words to her first record – but cringes at the memory of it – and is only too happy to be told by her team if there’s a better way of doing something (but politely, please!).

Sunny Bird, Founder and MD of Sunny Bird PR and the Perfect Dress Company takes the 20 Questions’ hotseat.

Question: What is your favourite TV show?

Answer: I loved The Good Wife. Also Suits and Madam Secretary.

Q: Who would you like to share a car with?

A: Michelle Mone (Baroness Mone, OBE) so I could pick her brains about a few exciting ideas I have.

Q: The best bit of my job is…?

A: Without a doubt the team I work with! I see them like a family and I really enjoy coming into work each day and seeing them. The other part is helping businesses reach their potential. You can have a great product or business but if no one knows about you, you are not going to go that far. That’s what I love about my job. We step in and make sure that everyone knows about you.

Q: And the worst…?

A:  Working with suppliers or partners who do not have the same work ethos as us. We go above and beyond for our clients and add as much value where we can. We like to see ourselves as an extension of their team. I find it really short sighted when you work with difficult suppliers as you just won’t use them again.

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

A: Apart from She-Ra (fictional character in the 1980’s animated series She-Ra: Princesses of Power) it has to be my Mum. She managed to get out of a physically abusive relationship and bring up five children on her own. She would work two jobs or back to back shifts in a factory to make sure we had a roof over our head.

Q: What’s your favourite smell?

A: Vanilla.

Q: Where’s your favourite place in Dorset?

A: It has to be the beach, specifically Sandbanks, as it is a little quieter.  I also love Christchurch. Take me anywhere with a sea view and I’m a happy girl.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a career?

A: Find something you enjoy or are passionate about and that way the tough days won’t seem so tough. Also never give up on what you want. If you get knocked down dust yourself off and get right back up. There is no such thing as failure, it is what you do next that sets you apart from the rest.

Q: What was your first record/CD?

A: Vanilla Ice – Ice Baby. I’m cringing as I write this! I still know all the words.

Q: What gets you angry?

A: Bad manners and people who can’t say ‘I’m sorry’.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?

A: Des’ree – I’m Kissing You and I also love Andrea Bocelli, Céline Dion – The Prayer. Also who doesn’t love Happy by Pharrell Williams!

Q: What are the qualities you look for in a new employee?

A: Someone with a can-do attitude. Sounds simple but it is really important.  Positivity is also really important to me. I look for someone who is not afraid to challenge me on something. I want to ultimately work with employees who are better than me at things, so if they think there is a better way of doing something, I want them to be able to tell me, obviously in a polite way!

Q: What’s your favourite food or dish?

A: I like Pan-Asian food, Italian, Greek and Mexican…oh I just love food. I couldn’t choose just one thing!

Q: Steamed sponge pudding and custard or a plate of melon?

A: Well anything with custard but, sorry, I would want a crumble over a sponge.

Q: Name the best thing about living/working in Dorset?

A: For us it is literally being five minutes’ walk from the beach. Also being around so many creative businesses and people. Dorset really is a creative hub.

Q: If you were Prime Minister for the day what would be the first thing you do?

A: Increase NHS funding and increase all emergency staff salaries – nurses, police, firemen etc. Reduce tuition fees back down, ban single use plastics by 2030, reduce costs on fresh healthy food and increase costs on processed foods. Increase the drinking age limit in the UK to 21. Increase focus in education on creativity over academia. Grades in Maths and English are not the be-all of everything!

Q: What’s your biggest frustration?

A: When people let you down and when people are not honest. Integrity is really important to me.

Q:  Where’s your favourite holiday location?

A:  Ibiza. I have been going there every year since I was 17. My best friend lives there, I got married there and, every time I go there, I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I also love Austria in the summer and Greece.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

A: Running several successful businesses, having a workplace that incorporates childcare for my employees’ children and having a mentorship program for young women.

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: My integrity, not being afraid to do things differently and smashing people’s expectations of me!