“Solopreneurs” Hit Hard But Bouncing Back – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-07-02 05:46:26 –

Like many locals, Jennifer Chun had a full-time job as well as a side job as a mother and secretary to the Honolulu Fire Department.As the owner of Craving for sugar, She bake and sell decorative cookies.

Chun’s cookies sold well at the Oafcraft Fair and custom orders were made, but when the pandemic broke out in March 2020, she said, “everything stopped.”

“Craft fairs were a way for me to make connections for custom orders,” says Chun. “When COVID occurs and everything shuts down-when people try to start more reservations for graduation-it really hurts.”

“The Bus” cookie set designed by Jennifer Chun. | Photo: Courtesy of Craving Sugar

But instead of shutting down her business, she innovates by creating DIY cookie decoration kits with fun educational worksheets, and preschool to 7th grade kids learn in a delicious and hands-on way. I made it possible. She received an order from her website Instagram..

When the craft fair reopens, Chun will have a new TikTok account to sell cookies and DIY kits, book custom orders, and teach you how to decorate and bake cookies.

Chung was one of the thousands of locals who reinvented side businesses and full-time businesses as the pandemic closed craft fairs and other essential sales venues. These “lonely people” suffered from a pandemic, but created new products and services and found new buyers online. Now, as the venue continues to reopen, these solo planners say they are better prepared for everything in the future.

“How to live”

Mike McCartney, director of the Department of State’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, says small businesses are the catalysts that drive Hawaii’s economy. In 2018, there were an estimated 112,589 solo planners in the state. DBEDT..

“They aren’t just jobs in the statistics, they’re people’s way of life,” says McCartney.

Chris and Amanda Fried had opposite schedules early in their marriage. “Amanda got up early in the morning and worked in the dentist’s office all day. I worked in a restaurant late at night. I rarely meet each other,” says Chris Fried.

After joining the West Hawaii Wood Turners Club, they developed a passion for woodworking, paying attention to the wind, quitting their job and starting up. Freed Form Hawaii December 2019 – A full-time business that manufactures and sells core products. It was also a great way to spend more time together.

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Chris and Amanda were released at the Big Island Craft Fair. | Photo: Provided by Freedform Hawaii

At Kailua-Kona’s house, Freeze turns scraps of core into earrings, necklaces, chopping boards, journals, lamps, paddles, 3D artwork and more. Prior to the pandemic, they created the product and sold it at up to four craft trade fairs and markets a week in Kona. However, the pandemic has closed the trade fair.

“As the weeks go by, it’s becoming more and more clear that this won’t go away anytime soon, and of course bank accounts are starting to get slimmer. That’s where we started to panic.” Chris Fried says.

But they also innovated by developing new products that were partially inspired by timber workers around the world. “There were a lot of products that weren’t conceptualized yet in March last year, and we had a lot of time, so I think a lot of creativity has moved us,” he says. Freeds has also launched a website and built Etsy’s presence for online sales.


Vendors weren’t the only ones suffering from pandemics. Craft fairs and other market organizers and promoters had to innovate to support themselves and their clients. 808 Craft & Gift Fair Oahu typically hosts more than 50 events annually, attracting thousands of customers. Farmers markets were considered an integral business and could remain open throughout the pandemic, but the craft fair had to be closed and the 808 Craft and Gift Fair began in March 2020. Withstood the closure for only 5 months.

“75 vendors have been kicked out. To make this piece, we had to scramble to see how we were going,” he also sold a Korean custom-made product. Says Lauren Mori, owner of the 808 Craft and Gift Fairs. Her income has dropped by 80%. The 808 Craft and Gift Fair has moved to a virtual sale Facebook event. Mori says the online craft fair has reached people in all 50 states in Guam, Canada and Japan.

When the 2020 Merrie Monarch Festival was cancelled, Freeze introduced its products to Pop-Up Mākeke, an online marketplace that supported 400 local SMEs during a pandemic.

“If the first pop-up marketing hadn’t happened, we might have had to close the business,” says Chris Fried.

Pop-up Mākeke Created by the Native Hawaiians Progress Council to help local businesses sell their products online through programs like QVC, which airs weekly. Pop-Up Mākeke, which is currently dormant, says it has made over $ 2 million in sales in Hawaii’s business.

The pandemic has led hundreds of local businesses to step up their online efforts. Digital Commerce 360, a national media and research organization, Report Consumers shopped online with US merchants for $ 861,120 million, with e-commerce sales up 44% in 2020.

“The online shopping experience has been so heavily adopted,” said Meli James, co-founder of ManaUp, a small business accelerator.

“We had to do that, but now people say,’Hey, it’s not that bad. You can discover more,'” says James.

Safer shopping

Local craft trade fairs and markets operating under the CDC guidelines began to reappear on the island at the end of the summer of 2020.

Monthly artisan market in the parking lot Kona Commons Shopping Center It resumed in September in Kailua-Kona and has grown. Currently, each event has about 50-60 vendors, attracting up to 1,500 customers, needing masks, and vendors are half-spaced from the car stalls.

“This not only supported local businesses participating in the fair, but also benefited both sides by attracting new customers to shopping centers and tenants,” said Kona Commons Marketing Director. One Katie Kaanapu said.

Freeze says he enjoys returning to craft fairs and markets like the Kona Commons. “We started our business because we love the atmosphere around people and in the market. We are in the farmers market, so everyone is happy and everyone wants to be there,” Amanda Fried said. Says.

“It’s like our social scene,” adds Chris Fried.

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Farm Lovers Market in Kailua. | Photo: Melissa Chan

4 weekly markets on Oahu operated by FarmLovers Markets It was classified as an integral business and was never closed, but it still maintained 200 vendors and adapted to satisfy its customers.

“This is one of the normal feelings when (customers) come every week,” said Pamela Boyar, managing director of FarmLovers Markets. “They can go out to important businesses, go out into a safe environment, buy all the groceries and still get a little social.”

In addition to masks, social distances and signs, the market offers gloves that customers wear when shopping at produce vendors. You can also use a hand wash sink or a disinfection station.

“Since COVID, 350,000 people have visited our market (and) we have never had one case out of our market. It’s outdoors and there’s plenty of space to shop. I feel very safe, “says Boyar.

One adaptation by 808 Craft and Gift Fairs is # ConvoyCrafters. This will allow several craft fair vendors to sell from the vehicle. This includes vendors selling products from built-in freight vans with shelves.

“All we do is open the two side doors and the back. Do you know how people sell from raincoats in New York? So we just open And they buy like manapua trucks, “says Mori.

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Darci Deguzman sells products for # ConvoyCrafters pop-up vehicles. | Photo: David Croxford


Farmers markets and craft trade fairs have helped local SMEs during difficult times. Perhaps just as important, they help maintain a sense of community wherever they are, giving people the opportunity to meet their neighbors and interact outdoors in a safe environment.

“Hawaii, it’s really about the community,” says Chris Fried.

Boyar said: “When this first happened and there were no visitors, we were serving food to the community. They were buying local food and helping local farmers. Believe to witness. What you can’t … How did everyone shift to helping our neighbors?

“It only holds all the money in the local economy, which is very important.”

Freeds is now equipped with a new industrial laser machine to help create core products for sale in shops and galleries throughout the state.

In November 2020, Chun quit his job at the Honolulu Fire Department to support his son’s learning, but now sells cookies and DIY cookie decoration kits, fulfills custom orders and creates online baking videos. I also have time.

DBEDT’s McCartney said the rebounding state economy will be driven by community passion rather than what governments and businesses want to do. “Recovery will be slower, but I think it will be steadily stronger.” What is possible is not always easy and difficult. But what do you know? It creates life and purpose, “he adds.

McCartney proposes that Soloplanar pays attention to all financial support available primarily through the Federal Small and Medium Business Administration, as well as other federal, state, and county agencies.

It’s also important: to stay ahead of the curve with any product or service you offer, he says. Find out about trends by reading online, talking to other businesses, and asking your customers what they want. Business is constantly evolving, but “it’s always a balance.” Too much diversification can lead to loss of concentration, he says.

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