Aug 19, 2016
At Herbologie, Doing Business Comes Natural
West of Ward Avenue, neatly nestled next to a handful of other wellness businesses, stands Herbologie, a storefront specializing in Hawaiian teas, spices, and a medley of other natural products.
Only a year old, Herbologie has already attracted a substantial following of wellness enthusiasts looking for locally grown and sourced herbal remedies. In the interview below, Herbologie's founder Monika Tournis discusses how the store came to be, why it's important to source local, and how she created her new line of delicious teas meant to nourish the body and soul.
So let's start with a bit of your backstory. What led to you to start Herbologie?
I'm a professional herbalist with about 20 years of experience. I was actually first introduced to the practice [which consists of the using of plants for medicinal purposes] from my grandparents in India. It was a big part of who they were. From there, I went to the East West School of Herbology in California before moving back to Hawaii where I eventually opened up my own business, Herbologie. We have our storefront on Kamani street and carry a mix of spices, herbs, creams, teas and other products that can ease and heal health issues.
That's really interesting that your grandparents were herbalists as well.
Yeah, they were both very into it in their home in India, which was near Delhi. They were basically creating their own home remedies and making their own spices and selling them. Just being around all of that as a younger person really helped to shape me and expose me to this field. It was natural for me.
At what point did you realize there was an opportunity for you to start your own business?
I was actually working in the health-food industry for a while. I was doing sales, basically repping mainland wellness businesses in Hawaii. I was able to really learn the market and understand it through this time. From there, I saw an opportunity to expand my passion and create my own line of products. Someone came to me looking for noni juice, which if you don't know about it, can be a little obscure outside of Hawaii. It's a fruit loaded with vitamins that a lot of people swear by. Through my connections and understanding of herbology, I was able to source it and get her a bottle. That sort of kicked off the business and led to the store we have today. We now make, source, and sell our own products and lines. A lot of our ingredients are local and grown right here in Hawaii, which is something that I'm really proud of.
Can you expand on that a little? Why do you think it's important to support local?
Hawaii is so unique and such a wonderful place all around. It's also great for growing things. We produce some great things here. I also really believe in sustainability and sourcing your ingredients as close to home as possible. I also love to support the local economy. It's a win-win for me. Great products from great people…what's not to love?
Can you talk a bit more about your own products?
We make herbal probiotic beverages made with local, Hawaii-grown ingredients and it's all bottled in Hawaii. It just launched. It's a functional beverage that comes in different flavors. One beverage we sell is meant to help you focus and it includes some herbs that are meant to bring clarity. That tea we've dubbed "Mindful." Another one is for energy and includes a small amount of caffeine and other rejuvenation herbs. We also have one called "Serenity," which has been one of our more popular drinks, that's made of lavender. It's really relaxing and tastes great. They all sell for about $4 to $5 here at the shop.
In addition to the teas, what other items do you carry?
We carry a lot of spices that you won't find many other places. We also have bath and body products like lotions and shampoo. We have a kawa massage lotion that people absolutely love as well. It's been really popular.
I understand that you actually grow some of the ingredients that you use in your products right there at the store.
Yes, we actually have our own herb garden here at our factory that we use to grow a lot of these hard-to-find ingredients like Gotu kola, brahmi, and lemon balm. We had a hard time sourcing them early on, so we just decided to grow it ourselves! We share this space with a wellness center, so our location is really a one-stop shop where you can we find herbal medicine, massage therapy, and acupuncture.
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