Photo from article back in 2012

Photo from article back in 2012

Running a small business is challenging, especially on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Small business owners work hard, and wear many hats.  We do it all!  There are times when everything is running smoothly, which are too quickly followed by hurdles, that once “jumped”, ultimately help grow the business.  I was reminded that every once in a while, it’s important to pause, reflect, and revisit your initial business plan to gain some perspective. Back in November of 2012, six months after we launched our business, Hawaiian Lenses was featured in a Business Round Table article in our local newspaper, The Garden Island.  I recently re-read this article and was happy to remember that back then our sunglasses with readers for men and women were only available in 12 stores here on Kauai.  Since that time we have expanded our retail into 26 stores on Kauai, and added a total of 43 locations throughout Hawaii.  It has been interesting and exhilarating to  grow our retail family, and we are grateful for all our new locations. Retailers like Ulupalakua (oo-loo-pa-la-koo-a!) Ranch Store, way up in beautiful Kula on the Big Island.  We continue to add new locations, and each have one of our unique hand made bamboo displays, featured in the Garden Island article.

Steve working on bamboo display.

Steve working on bamboo display.

But our biggest growth has come from internet sales, which is in keeping with our initial business plan.  We are happy that we have a chance to introduce our sunglasses to visitors here in Hawaii, and that ultimately customers buy additional pairs once they are back home.  They’re also telling their friends and co-workers, and as we all know, the best advertising is person to person testimonials.  We are thankful for the sales, but also for the feedback, which energizes us and helps us to move forward in the right direction. Our website sales now represent a giant portion of our business, even surpassing our expectations.  We’ve also added social media sites, like Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn, which were not an obvious direction at the time of our business plan. In July we added six new styles to our line, and the response has been great.

Keeping a focus on future growth of a small business in important, but revisiting your starting point can also be invigorating.  Yes, it’s challenging to run a small business in the middle of the Pacific ocean, but it’s also a great place to meet that challenge!

For more info, here is the link to the article mentioned:

http://www.midweekkauai.com/business/business-round-table/shades-for-sunny-reading/

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