Why We Started Kaka'ako Kasuals

If you’ve read our About Us page on the website, you may be familiar with the general story about how we came to run Kaka’ako Kasuals, the former Kam Kasuals. Instead of rehashing the same information about the “how” of the acquisition came about, I’d like to focus more on the “why” we wanted to run a business in the first place. I think that oftentimes, the “why” is far more important than the “how”, anyway. Being an entrepreneur isn’t something everyone wants to do, but many of us know someone in our family who owns a small business. Think about how many of your parents or aunties sell makeup, clothes or own a restaurant. Small businesses are a main connector between everyone here in these islands and our family is proud to be able to be part of this small community. 

For me and my family, I think small business ownership was always in our blood. When I was younger, I saw my mom start and run her own successful small business. For some people, it’s hard to envision yourself doing anything as a career without someone in your life modeling it first. For me and my siblings, we saw my mom battle through some really tough spots as a small business owner, but eventually come out thriving. She was able to feed us, support us and put us through some expensive schools so that we could get a good education. I know that none of what we accomplished before the age of 18 would have been possible without her being able to supply the financial resources for us to do so. Sure, we had to do the work, but we had a strong network of support through her, our teachers and our coaches.  

When it came to acquiring Kam Kasuals, the motivation was always to be able to provide a solid place for our family to grow. So many cousins, aunties and other relatives have had no other choice other than to leave these islands due to the high cost of living. We wanted a way to be able to carve out a place here at home for family members who wanted to thrive here and for any others living on the continent to be able to return home, should they want to. Unfortunately, it hasn’t motivated either of my siblings living in California to move home just YET. But my fingers are still crossed that it happens.  

What this business has allowed us to do is to create an income stream for those family members here and to provide opportunities for other motivated employees to thrive. I’m lucky enough to be able to work with the people I love most every day. It’s kind of amazing to think about how we each chose different fields to pursue and eventually they all came together to be able to create something like Kaka’ako Kasuals. Shay has a background in Operations Management and Sales, Nicole is an expert in Marketing and Carleen is a Finance wizard. For me, Kaka’ako Kasuals is the way that we keep our family working together and building towards something that we can be proud of. We are really excited about the direction of our company, but thank you for allowing me to explain a little bit more about why we’re doing this in the first place. Plus, it gave me another avenue to pressure my siblings into moving home. 😂 

Mahalo nui! 

Written by Kiani Wong

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