As a small business owner the grind is real….the passion and motivation to keep on going has to be present. A Hawaiian value that we grew up with is Kāmau. Kāmau means to persevere, keep on and continue. During challenging times, we have to remind ourselves of our WHY. For every small business and individual its different. Our why was to share who we are, where we come from through our passion for food and to leave a positive legacy behind. At the beginning we had no expectations or idea where this journey of Koa Roots would go. But now, Koa Roots has turned into so much more than just a business it turned into a meaningful place of connection, networking and community for us. And if you ask us is all of this work, long days, sleepless nights worth it… without hesitations of course! 110% worth it!
Rough Start But We Made It
When we first started, we wanted to take a slow and steady approach. Make sure we got everything done prior to fully launching the business. One of our largest endeavors at the time was where is all the capital going to come from to start this crazy idea? Well... we decided to one hundred percent financially bootstrap our small business on our own with no loans or investors. Our mindset at the beginning of all this was to do things entirely on our own with no help and that if we failed it was on us and no one else would be negatively impacted.
We ended up working two fulltime jobs for a year, sleeping out of our car six days out of the week, running on maybe 2-3 hrs of sleep each night, showering at the gym, living off of coffee and anything we could quickly make into a on the go meal. There were those rare occasions when we were able to get off of our night shift early to catch a few more hours of shut eye and rest. During the winter while the wind was howling outside and you could see your breath in the car, you best believe it was freezing! When you feel your partner shivering beside you because it is so cold even with several layers of blankets not helping to keep you both warm, serious doubt would start to creep in. When you're so mentally and physically exhausted, it makes you wonder if this was all worth it. But deep in our na'au (gut instinct) we knew we were on the right path and we had faith things would work out by reminding ourselves to kāmau and WHY this was so important. When it got too cold we decided to take the car to our work parking structure and sleep there till our day shift would start. Luckily, the kindhearted security guards knew one of us worked there and they would let us sleep and make sure no one would bother us.
It was rough but we got through it. Remember when we said we wanted to do things on our own with no help, we quickly realized that notion was not entirely true. That in reality we had help maybe not financially but we received help in ways that was more meaningful. The encouraging support from family, friends, coworkers, fellow peers, community and mentors that believed in us, in our dream motivated and humbled us.
Give A Little Aloha
Our hope by sharing a small portion of our start up struggle is that our story will inspire you as well as others to follow your dreams or to be a support for someone that needs some aloha. Through our years with Koa Roots our WHY has turned into so much more than what we initially thought it to be. As our way to pay it forward for all the support and aloha we received we do our best to give back and uplift others when we can. Through panel talks, fundraisers, donations, and even speaking one on one with others about business, their dream, aspirations or just to be a safe space for them to share what they need to get off their chests at the moment is our small way of showing aloha. Sometimes taking that time to show a little aloha and be present is all another human being needs to help them get through whatever struggles they may be facing.
When times get hard remember to kāmau. Things will get better and sometimes be more than what you initially thought it would be. What is your WHY? What is that reason that keeps you going?
Before you leave always remember no be shame for come talk story if you see us around. Until we meet again take care and a hui hou!