Social Media Helps Launch Clutch Line

Lil Coconut Hawaii owner Amanda Dela Cruz with her creations. Photo from Amanda Dela Cruz

Lil Coconut Hawaii owner Amanda Dela Cruz with her creations. Photo from Amanda Dela Cruz

Several months ago, Amanda Dela Cruz snapped a photo of a cup of coffee adorned with a design on the surface and posted it on Instagram. She didn’t have many followers and even considered using Upleap to help her get her platform started. Then, all of a sudden, the photo was bombarded with comments. But the target of everyone’s excitement was not Dela Cruz’s drink, but rather the clutch with a picture of the ocean and the phrase “Salt Water Heals Everything” that she accidentally included in the photo.

“No one cared about the latte art,” Dela Cruz recalls. “People wanted to know where I got that bag.”

Dela Cruz had made it herself. She had come up with the idea just a few weeks earlier as a gift for a friend. After the positive reception on Instagram, Dela Cruz made a few more bags. When those sold, she decided to run her clutch line, which she dubbed Lil Coconut Hawaii, in her free time from working as a manager at Cottage by the Sea.

Lil Coconut expanded faster than Dela Cruz anticipated. Now she has customers from throughout the world and multiple retail accounts in stores internationally. Locally, Lil Coconut can be found at Cottage by the Sea and SoHa Living.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Lil Coconut, and currently it stands on the precipice of even bigger things. Dela Cruz recently stepped down from her managerial position to focus on Lil Coconut full time. This week, Dela Cruz launches a tote bag line, and within the next few months, she hopes to introduce shirts, shorts and bikinis.

Lil Coconut products feature Hawaii scenes paired with quotes that she finds inspirational. One clutch, for example, reads “dream. love. repeat.” against a sunset backdrop. Another reads, “Seas The Day” with a photo of the North Shore. Dela Cruz, who creates all of the graphics from start to finish herself, hopes her products offer “pieces of paradise that inspire people and just gives them a little piece of love and light wherever they go.”

As concentrated as her images are, all of the photographs she takes are entirely spontaneous; when she sees something that strikes her, she simply snaps a photo with her iPhone.

“I think that is the beauty of it – I am just capturing things as they happen,” she says.

Dela Cruz credits her quick success in large part to social media. Not only did Instagram have an integral role in launching her line, but Instagram and Facebook have provided her with a platform to interact with her fans. Plus, the word of mouth and free marketing have allowed her to make valuable connections with buyers.

“Businesses are able to flourish now with social media. Whether you are for it or against it, you have to live with it,” she says, “because that is what makes things work.”

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