I love celebrating milestones . . . for other people. I rarely take the time to give myself a pat on the back, much less a celebration of any kind. I blame my Sagittarius nature: farsighted, impulsive, impatient, and rebellious. I’m always focused on the next thing and rarely take a moment to be present. So, to ask me to celebrate a one-year anniversary of anything is strange. But it is valuable.
The one-year anniversary of Manoa marks a big milestone for me. Taking the leap to leave Ala Moana Center, going off the beaten path of typical retail and venturing out into what felt like uncharted waters at the time. When I made the difficult decision to move back to Manoa, it felt more like moving backward than forward. But I knew what I felt inside, and I knew what my goal was: to build a company that could do more than retail.
I wanted, and still want, this company to give me freedom (another Sagittarius trait). I want this company to support my life instead of my life supporting it. I realized the path I needed to take in order to achieve this freedom was to focus on growing the business online. I focused my efforts on advertising on Facebook and Instagram, revamping the website, and refreshing the brand's marketing strategy in order to reach a new customer while still keeping my current customers engaged. But what I didn't realize at the time was how big of an undertaking this was for myself and my team.
When we first moved to Manoa, I had a team of 2 + myself. Most of my staff left after we closed Ala Moana, and so a lot of my big dreams were put on hold. We just needed to keep afloat and keep the business running—the design, development, sourcing, production, inventory, emails, marketing, website, and social media—not to mention keeping the showroom open and packing orders. But every month, there was a deep need to keep growing, so I would hire one person here and then another to grow this team into the current 8 + myself. All women, all focused on a specific part of the brand: marketing, Instagram, Tiktok, emails, the website, inventory, production, and development.
The one-year anniversary of opening Manoa is about more than celebrating the Showroom; it's also about the team that I was able to grow alongside my dream. I am hopeful that this year has allowed us to create a solid foundation on which we can continue growing ourselves, as well as the business. This celebration is not only about me and this brand; it's also about this team that shows up for me every day. Allowing them the opportunity to grow themselves, follow their own dreams, and create meaningful connections with you, our customers, and friends. This is what we celebrate this month as we cross this milestone of one year. There will be many more shifts and changes, and I understand now that this is what growth always looks like for me: uncharted waters, rough seas, and wild winds ahead. Luckily, as a Sagittarius, that is exactly what excites me; this is my element of adventure that I step into with optimism and reckless abandon.- Allison