Sunday, August 30, 2009
Palm Palm over on Kauai has been selling my Kimono Keys like crazy. She said she sold 40 this week alone! So yesterday I whipped up another 37 to ship off to her tomorrow. Then she accidently sold a bag that had been special ordered, so I made a duplicate tonight to include in tomorrow's shipment.
I drove up mauka this week and bought a couple hundred coffee bags. It is a little over 60 miles round trip and makes for a long day. It is fun visiting the farms and chatting with the farmers to see what they are up to.
Dave and Trudy at Heavenly Hawaiian were nice enough to help me with sorting out 40 coffee bags. They are very supportive of my venture.
I also met some new friends at the Kona Pacific co-op. They had heard of my bags and were eager to sell me some of their to add to my collection of Kona Coffee Bags!
Karen and Lee over at Hula Daddy are becoming old friends! Their bag is very popular with my customers. It was nice seeing them again, too!
Tom Bong and Linda up at Bong Brothers are the furthest away on my route. They used to be married, once upon a time but now Linda has the store and Tom does the coffee. Linda's store is at Honaunau. She makes the best vegetarian wraps. I was getting hungry by the time I stopped in there and when I saw this vegie wrap I had to try it! It had tofu, shredded carrots, beets, lettuce and avocado wrapped in some sort of whole-grained tortilla or flatbread.
I also had to buy me some apple bananas and a great big mango from the front porch of the Bong Bros. store. If you are visiting the Big Island, head south, just past the Middle Keei Rd on the makai (ocean) side of the highway. Bong's store is a historic building where you will find some authentic aloha. Now, if I could just talk Tom into reordering his beautiful cardinal logo Bong Bros. coffee bag! I will keep working on him as I have for over a year now.
In the meantime, I think I have a better chance at having Linda print up her own logo of Bong Sistah's on some bags. That would be a fun one!
Something that some people don't know about my business plan is that I like that fact that I use authentic Kona Coffee bags. Yes, I could have my own printed up with "Sasaki Farms" or something similar on them as has been suggested, and in the long run it would save me some $$$...but that isn't my plan! I love the fact that I buy from working farms so that if someone buys one of my coffee sack totes or purses, they could actually come to Kona and go visit that coffee farm! And the variety of logos on the bags exemplifies the variety of people that own the farms. There are the lawyers who have moved over and bought land and became farmers. There are people who have grown up on this island and are doing what they know best. The one thing they all have in common is their enthusiasm for Kona coffee and love for this island that we all live on.
a hui hou
Friday, August 21, 2009
Todays events opened to the general public at 10 am. We arrived a little early and waited in line behind a pretty young mother and her little 7 month old baby girl. She shared with us that she had worked for the state for several years but with cutbacks was heading to the mainland to make her new home in Washington state. But she added, "we'll be back someday". She fed money to the Chinese Dragon to ensure her daughter's good luck and we bid aloha to her. Then we entered the main arena. WOW! So many booths.
Janet and I sort of drifted off in our own directions early on and reconnected later. She was looking for unique items for her gallery and I was looking at booth configuration, lighting, and displays. I also wanted to see if anyone else was selling items that would be competition to me. (no one was I am happy to report!)
At 11am, I meandered into the concert hall and had a bite to eat and listened to Makana. He is just an amazing young slack key guitarist. I have heard him live several times and always enjoy his musical talent.
I must admit something to you here that I am a bit ashamed of. I did not expect the Aloha on Oahu that we experienced today. When I did approach fellow artisans and tell them that I was considering a booth for next year, I was blown away by the responses. One gal I met, who makes beautiful sea glass wrapped jewelry, was so full of aloha that she told me she has extra tables and if I needed to borrow, just to let her know! Her name is Tanya Maiava Ochoa. She is still working on her website but her email address is BesosCreations@hawaii.rr.com
I stopped by my friend, Joan Blackshear's booth and was in awe of the beauty of her work. When you see her display of silk table runners and wall hangings, it is breath taking! I HAD to buy one of her runners for myself! And she is SO funny! I love how in love with her husband she is. He cracks her up and it is fun to watch them together. go to www.JoanBlackShear.com to see her work.
I also met two women who just cracked me up. One shared that she just didn't know what she would do if her husband died because she relies on him to set up her booth and cut out her wood products! We laughed! I am going through my collection of business cards and I am thinking that one of the gals was Charlotte Martin Del Campo - Retailer of Various Gift Items. (no web site)
Then I had the opportunity to meet an artist that I have admired for a very long time! She too has an Etsy site, which is where I discovered her. Her name is Holly Kitaura. This woman is amazing. Her art is whimsical and colorful. Much of it cracks me up, which may be why I purchased 3 pieces! And this woman who I admire, but who I just met, offered to let me crash at her house if I do the show next year! Did I mention how much I love Hawaii and the people here? Here is her link: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5183423
I had a highlight of the day that truly gave me "chicken skin" as we say here in Hawaii....or "goosebumps" as they say in Idaho! I was purchasing some spices from Kaiulani, the queen of spices on Oahu, and a woman next to me says, "Where did you get your Sasaki Bag?". Stunned, I replied, "I AM Sasaki Bags!". Little did she know that she just fulfilled one of my dreams! Someone recognized my bag without even seeing the tag! (its on the inside). She said that she had been looking at my website for quite awhile but hadn't made a purchase yet. She gave me her name and if she reads this, ....
when you are ready to purchase a Sasaki Bag, let me know it is you, and I will ship it to you for free because you really made my day!
On the flight home, Janet ended up sitting by a pretty girl named Dominique, who is my daughter's age, 28, who was coming to Hawaii because her grandpa just passed away and she wanted to support her parents at this time. We started chatting because I showed Janet the "feet" on Dominique's tote bag and told her I am looking for that kind of feet for my large totes. Then we realized that Janet and Dominique were dressed almost identically! Blue jeans, dark cowl top, greenish leather purse....it was uncanny! In the end, Janet offered to save Dominique the $25 cab fare to her parents and she drove both me and her home.
Maybe it was just all the aloha we had experienced today that we just had to share. That is what it is all about, right? Can you tell I had a wonderful day? Will I do the Made In Hawaii next year? I am not ready to decide yet. It is a bit overwhelming. But I will definately consider it.
a hui hou
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tomorrow, I am flying off to Oahu for the Made in Hawaii Festival. My friend and fellow artist, Joan Blackshear, is having a booth as she has for several years now and has been very successful. It is a huge event. I am going so I can check it out and see if it is something I could ever attempt. Joan makes gorgeous silk table runners and wall hangings, but it all folds quite flat....my bags wouldn't pack so nicely. I was putting together some numbers and trying to figure out how many jumbo rubbermaid containers it would take, full of Sasaki Bags, in order to do the show justice. And how would I transport all of those containers to the airport and then to the event? But that is why I am going....just to watch and learn.
Also tomorrow is the grand opening of Palm Palm on Kauai. I am so excited for Marjorie! Her other store was so beautiful, I can only imagine what she will do with this one. I shipped off 5 Big Kahuna Bags and 21 Kimono Keys today. She should have them by Saturday.
So all in all, I had a good week and am looking forward to my trip to Oahu. I will be flying over with Janet Lipps, the owner of Pacific Islands Design Gallery in Holualoa. She will be scoping out the festival for fresh artists to feature in her gallery. It sounds like a fun and exhausting day!
a hui hou
Thursday, August 13, 2009
(my daughter took this photo 10 years ago when we took a trip to Maui for her graduation. I was looking pretty reflective, which is how I've been feeling again lately)
It has all been a bit nerve racking! But even with all the stress, I am still doing well on my diet. I have lost 7.4lbs in the past 3 weeks. I do believe that weight watchers is probably the most healthy and supportive way to go. I get great tips from the others at the meetings. I have quite a ways to go...but I am headed in the right direction.
I keep telling myself that you have to spend money to make money. My daughter who is a bank auditor, reinforced that mantra the other day and assured me I am doing what I need to do. It's funny how the roles switch back and forth once your children are grown and become experts in their own fields and can offer you advice!
So even though the spending is stressful to me, I believe I need to follow this path and see where it leads me. Thanks for following my journey.
a hui hou