What do you see as Hawaii’s greatest challenge and how would you address it?Affordability is one of the greatest challenges we face in Hawaii. As a business, “more” often means “better.” But in Hawaii, we’ve added more people, tourists and development over the years, while our wages, schools, affordable housing and infrastructure fall behind. The more that Hawaii prioritizes investing in its people and their quality of life, the more we can keep Hawaii affordable, especially for those who have called it home for generations.
What was the biggest professional risk you ever took and what was the result?Starting a new business from scratch with nothing but an idea and a few credit cards for capital. One of our first challenges was also figuring out how to sustainably source organic cotton for our products, because it’s only grown internationally. There has been lots of trial and error along the way, but through continuing hard work and dedication, we have been able to grow a successful company with a loyal customer base and consistent growth over the years. Over the last year, we have doubled our staff, diversified and expanded to 11 new local retailers, introduced products into three new markets outside of Hawaii, and developed a community giveback program supporting our ocean and coastlines.
What steps will you be taking to grow the business over the next year?We are excited to be expanding our line to include a number of new products that focus on both function and style. We also plan to expand by growing our reach on the Mainland and in Japan. This year, we became Hawaii’s first Fairtrade-certified business, and we plan to continue to grow our involvement with the Fairtrade community and also be a resource to other local businesses interested in sourcing ethically. Last, we want to continue to grow our community outreach by partnering with organizations and causes that support local businessowners and our planet.