Cultural Roots and How it all started...and the "PI" in AAPI
Pictured: Me and my oldest daughter ...Honua is family owned & Operated and I want to highlight that its not just me =) We are a founding family and continue to operate Honua as a family
What was the inspiration that led you to start your brand?
The healing art of Lā'au Lapa'au (a Hawaiian healing practice that utilizes plants as medicine) inspired me to look at skincare differently. 20 yrs ago when I became an esthetician, there were not a lot of great plant-based skincare brands, and none that I could find that looked at skincare more traditionally. What I mean by "traditionally" is by treating the root cause of why conditions/issues were happening rather than masking them with numerous serums or treatments to combat each one. I decided to open a small apothecary spa offering facials using Hawaiian healing plants that have healed our families for generations to help simplify skincare by treating the root cause. I studied both traditional and modern formulation and began to create products for only my facial clients. It wasn't until economic hardships forced our family to close my spa and move away from our home, Hawaii, that Honua became a "skincare line/brand" available to all, worldwide. It was my clients, friends and family that had grown to depend on my creations, so I began formulating just for them and...it grew.
What are some things that you take into consideration when creating new products?
The first common question that I ask is this "is there a need for this product (both in the market and within our line)?" I don't create products that already exist (even within another line) because it is unnecessary. After that, I prioritize ingredient sourcing! One of Honua's biggest goals is to help our Hawaiian farms and eco-system to thrive, whether that means donating money to hire interns and farmers, reforesting and replanting native plants... or using their locally-farmed ingredients, when plentiful. We support farms that don't even grow our ingredients, because feeding the community and keeping our eco-system thriving always comes first - we never want to deplete or over use anything. So, I am regularly checking in first with our farmers and learning which ingredients are scarce and which are plentiful so I know when I start formulating which I can use and which I may have to source from elsewhere or cut from the list entirely. With the growth of green/plant based beauty, this should be something ALL brands do before assuming they are doing a good thing by sourcing the trending plants for their line. Deforestation and over-use is real.
What are some meaningful family traditions?
Spending days together at the beach, BBQing, swimming, surfing, playing music and enjoying each other's company is one we do as often as we can. We also love to spend time helping in the lo'i (Hawaiian Taro Patches), being knee deep in mud, planting or pulling Kalo is something we love doing together.
What are some interesting talents or hobbies people may not know about you?
I've been dancing hula since I was 4 yrs old. I dance for pure joy now, but did it competitively and professionally for years.
What is something that's bringing you happiness right now?
I am currently awaiting the birth of our first mo'opuna (grandchild) and I am beyond happy and excited to greet the newest member of our 'ohana.
What is a quote that keeps me going?
‘A’ohe Pu’u Ki’eki’e ke ho’a’o ‘ia e pi’i " No cliff is too tall to be climbed"
Its an 'Õlelo no'eau or Hawaiian proverb that reminds me of how many mountains I have already climbed and challenges that I have faced and conquered, and that I can keeping climping up no matter what comes my way.