Meet Steve Porcaro, Co-Founder of Sunshine. From a background in marketing and film to a chance meeting with the HempConnex founders, Steve walks us through how Sunshine came to be, and what he hopes the company accomplishes—like bringing a bit of sunshine to the world.
From a professional standpoint, I come from an advertising, marketing and film background. While all three overlap, each one gave me a different perspective on what makes a brand successful. After almost 20 years of helping other brands, I wanted to try and make my own brand succeed—and Sunshine just so happened to be that brand.
From a personal standpoint, I’ve been a bit of a nomad. Being in the advertising industry, I had opportunities to travel and live in a lot of different places. From ages 22 to 30, I lived in Miami, Amsterdam, Prague, NYC, Montana and San Francisco/Bay Area. At around 30, I settled on Los Angeles as home. It’s where I was born—and while I was raised outside of Minneapolis, it didn’t take too many winter breaks visiting family in SoCal to decide it was the right place for me. After my wife and I had our first child, we wanted to get out of LA, and settled on a job that took us to Boulder, CO.
This is a funny story…I met Matt and Courtney Chandler when they moved to Boulder because they ended up renting my house! My wife and I were moving to Fort Collins to be a little closer to the job I had at the time. The more I learned about HempConnex, and what Matt and Courtney were doing, I was very intrigued. Matt started picking my brain on some marketing help. The more we talked, the more we realized we were developing something bigger than HempConnex—and Sunshine was born.
Originally, we saw a problem that almost all hemp companies were having; everyone was trying to do everything! This meant that a lot of things were slipping through the cracks. We thought that if we opened up a marketplace for like-minded hemp companies, we could help market and sell their products so they could focus on other things. It didn’t take long to see that the industry wasn’t quite ready for this. As we vetted companies to highlight on our site, we noticed a lack of diversity in products so we were going to end up selling a lot similar products without much differentiation. This is when we had the notion of merging HempConnex and Sunshine together.
There were a couple things I wanted to achieve with Sunshine, considering my background in branding. One was to have our mission backed right into our name. From the start, we agreed that our mission was to spread sunshine to as many people as possible. That started with the actual hemp/CBD products (one look at the reviews and you could see people were getting some sunshine back into their lives). As we worked through it, we realized the idea of “Sunshine” should be in everything we do; from products to customer service to events and day-to-day interaction, our hope is to make other people’s lives better. That’s what we strive for, which isn’t always easy as a new company in a crazy new industry.
The lightbulb moment for the actual name came when I noticed my dog Emmitt laying in the tiniest sliver of sun in our house. This was something he’d done his entire life—he always sought out the sun. And it clicked: We are all trying to find our own Sunshine in life; whether it’s actual sunshine or anything else that makes us feel happy, safe and warm. To honor Emmitt for this unintentional burst of inspiration, we named the original Pet Connex after him—hence Emmitt’s Pet Hemp.
As we saw the lack of diversity in the hemp/CBD industry, we realized that if we really wanted to help people, we needed to be hyperfocused. And since getting a new business off the ground is hard enough, we decided it was best to put our energy behind one company, instead of two.
We decided on a pretty simple formula; we’ll keep the same quality and ingredients people had come to trust from HempConnex, but wrap it in the branding of Sunshine. We did this for a couple reasons; the first being that we saw the limitations of having a company with the word Hemp in it. The main problem was that we felt it would limit us in the future if we wanted to make any products that didn’t feature hemp. The other reason was that the concept and name of Sunshine would open the doors for more opportunity down the road.
Of course, for those who know, the original HempConnex ingredients did change a little. We added Vitamin D3 into things; which was something we wanted to carry over from the original Sunshine blends.
Our goal is to spread Sunshine in whatever way we can! It seems like that’s something the world can use a little more of.
This is a tough one, but I’ll try….
Personally, I take Funk capsules before bed every night. This has changed everything for me! I sleep like a rock. I take a tincture in the morning for daily maintenance. As the mother of 2 little kids, my wife swears by the vapes—especially right before the gauntlet of dinner, bath and bed time. And of course, we give Emmitt’s Pet Hemp to Emmitt with his dinner and night-time snack.