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Business // Entrepreneurs
Christina O’Connor

A Day At The Beach — Online

Growing up in Hawaii Kai, Carla Capone loved nothing more than spending a day at the beach.

“I just love the water,” she says. “There is this calmness and happiness and tranquility that it can bring.”

As an adult, Carla took her own children to the beach, and it’s those memories that inspired her to launch Beach Wahine, an online boutique, which she runs with daughter Sasha.

“We love the beach; we love the lifestyle,” says Carla. “I just wanted to start a business around that.”

Beach Wahine features accessories, swimwear and clothing that range from dresses and rompers to T-shirts and shorts. There’s a small “for him” section that carries men’s Aloha shirts and T-shirts. It’s got delicate, ocean-inspired jewelry, such as sunrise shell necklaces and Tahitian pearl bracelets.

There’s also everything you could need to decorate your day at the beach — from trucker hats that read “Aloha” or “Mahalo” to beach towels adorned with visions of old Hawaii.

Many of the products are created by local designers, which is something that Carla aimed to do from the start. This not only helps local business owners, but also provides national and international customers with products they might otherwise only have access to if they visit Hawaii. Designers include Ava Sky, Get Salty, Florencia Arias, Indah, Tiare Hawaii and about 40 more.

“I always just thought that local products were so unique from what anybody else carries. And I always wanted to bring that for the world to see,” Carla says.

Beach Wahine, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, has a wide mix of customers — from locals to international buyers who span from Switzerland to Canada. In building up that customer base, social media was a crucial component. Initially, Beach Wahine turned primarily to SEO marketing. But they have found that their customers respond well to Facebook and Instagram.

“That is really huge, and it really works for us,” Carla says. “If you do the right photo, you will get a sale that day … It is a matter of knowing what your customers respond to. We do notice that there are certain pictures that they respond to better.”

The key, Carla reveals, is to keep the brand and image of your company consistent throughout. In addition to product shots, their social media accounts also display photos of the ocean and a bit of a personal flair (like sharing vacation photos and greetings to their customers).

“I give my daughter all the props for (social media),” she adds.

And although it’s online, Carla says that providing quality customer service is the other way that Beach Wahine has been able to attract shoppers — and keep them coming back.

“We make sure that we respond very quickly to any questions,” she says. “We’re just an email or phone call away.”

In the future, the pair would like to continue to expand their reach — and you may be able to catch them at more pop-up shop events.

“I am just very happy to be running (Beach Wahine),” Carla says. “The most rewarding part is when you hear so many people saying they love it … That, to me, means we’re doing something right.”

For more information and to start shopping, visit beachwahine.com.

coconnor@midweek.com

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