This Honolulu Boutique Is Changing Its Business Style in 2022 After Learning From the Pandemic
We here at GOBankingRates want to help get our nation’s small businesses back on their feet after the COVID-19 pandemic. To do that, we’re highlighting readers’ favorite small businesses around the country, and shining a spotlight on what makes them special to their customers and their towns.
2021 Small Business Spotlight: Check Out Our Small Business Stories, Plus the Nominated Businesses Near You
In this edition of our Small Business Spotlight series, we’re featuring Eden in Love, a lifestyle boutique with locations in Honolulu and Las Vegas. Owners Tanna and Bryson Dang specialize in curating exclusive products that guarantee desk envy at the office, best gift giver status and a slew of compliments in the supermarket line. Here, we chat with Tanna about how her background in journalism informs her retail business, the craziest business ideas she’s had — that have panned out, and how the pandemic has permanently changed the direction of her business.
Was there a particular moment or experience that inspired you to start your business?
Before Eden in Love, we owned a wedding business called The Wedding Cafe. We hosted weekly workshops for couples and really engaged with our audience, all while talking about wedding woes, vendor selection and sharing stories from our big day. It was such a loyal group of customers that wanted to continue wedding planning even after their wedding day! We had couples who would still come to workshops and hang out at the shop, but now as newlyweds. It dawned on me as we started to dabble into retail that our brides were shoppers and our shoppers were brides! It was a lightbulb moment when our top retail shoppers were all former brides. We quickly realized the value of cross-pollinating our audiences and the magic of creating evangelists for our business.
What did you take from past experiences or jobs that you knew you wanted to be a part of your new business?
I’m a journalism major so I live and breathe for good content. I’m a firm believer that everything has a story and it’s our job as business owners to share these stories in our unique voice. I use retail as my platform to champion for causes and things I really love. Every email, social media post, subject line, web description and flyer gets Eden-fied so we can strive for a seamless omnichannel experience at all touchpoints.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner?
I remember seeing a notebook that said, “Trust your crazy ideas” on it. I laughed out loud because being a business owner grants me the ability to do just that. Trusting my crazy ideas led to us adopting a village in Sri Lanka, opening a store and starting a new community in Las Vegas, launching an obi belt company with a goal to sell in all 50 states, taking my team on a surprise trip to Disneyland and having ridiculous Black Friday sales with four-hour lines just to check out! Every time I think an idea is crazy, I listen to my gut. How many other people can say their gut serves as their board of directors? Creative capacity, by far, has been the ultimate reward for being a business owner.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
As a business owner, the ability to pivot quickly and cleanly can make or break you. So when the pandemic hit, we were already ready to shift into another gear. We went from brick-and-mortar shopkeepers to a robust online machine in a few days. Being shut down forced us to reimagine our business and how we wanted to connect with our community. We learned a lot, very fast, about how to adapt and thrive (not just survive!) in this new environment. This meant transparent messaging to our customers, team and each other at all times. We didn’t know what the future held, but we knew we were committed to figuring it out. A year and a half later, our team is leaner but stronger, we’ve grown our customer base by serving people all over the U.S. online and we ended up having the best year in 2020 despite all odds. With this said, the pandemic opened our eyes to the opportunities our online store holds and have decided to move 100% online come 2022.
How can people continue to support your business during this time?
Easy! 1) Shop online. We’d love to share our products with you! 2) Read our emails and be part of our community. 3) Follow us on Instagram and see how this little business in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is determined to change the world.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
During the pandemic, so much was taken away — our ability to open, our staff, how we connect, how we operate on a daily basis. And in that moment, I had to get scrappy and creative. In all honesty, the best ideas are born when we think outside of the box because of limited resources. So I’d tell anyone who wants to start a business to stay scrappy, and stay hungry. Dig deep, think big. Be bold and trust your crazy ideas.
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This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.