Mar 15, 2018
These Women Mean Business
With more than half of all businesses in Ward Village owned by women, we're delighted to shine a light on the female merchants who are quite literally shaping the future of our city.
Their work, creativity, and drive inspires us each and every day. Whether they’re debuting their first boutique or opening another hit restaurant, it’s crystal clear that the female business owners of Ward Village mean business and they have big plans for the future. These ladies have made it happen in and we’re proud to call them members of the Ward ohana.
With an effortless elegance, Valerie Joseph makes running her own business look downright easy. While every entrepreneur will tell you that venturing out on your own often means long nights, lots of stress, and a seemingly endless stream of responsibilities, you wouldn't pick up on any of that by chatting with this business owner. Valerie's vibe is both relaxed, sophisticated, and fun, just like her boutique, POSHd, located in Ward Centre. For more than a decade, Valerie has tirelessly worked to not only create a thriving business and a sterling reputation, but she’s also been committed to bettering the lives of those in need through various initiatives at her store. Valerie is also a firm believer that work should be about more than bottom lines and profit margins. “My personal mantra is to inspire, motivate and make a difference in the community,” says Val with confidence. “I’m an advocate for programs and activities that ignite inspiration. Work should be rewarding, fulfilling, and filled with purpose, that’s why I’ve started a monthly women’s club. It’s called the Diamond Pearl Club and we have about 30 members. Once a month, we gather to help empower each other. We’ll sit down and go through creative exercises that help us build self-confidence and focus on how we can grow into our best selves. Seeing others become inspired to achieve their goals in work and life while being a part of the process of their success is the most satisfying elements of what I do.”
South Shore Market
As the owner of La Muse, a charming boutique located in South Shore Market, Julia Chu has built a following of loyal customers attracted to her elegant collection of apparel and home goods that she's collected from her international travels. Beyond her worldly experiences and keen eye for fashion, Julia is a huge supporter of more young women opening up their own businesses. “I’m so inspired by all of the other female business owners and entrepreneurs in Honolulu. It’s such an exciting time for women,” Julia says. When asked what advice she would give a new business owner, she’s adamant that experience has always been her best teacher. “I really believe that the best way to be successful is to learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to try, but always try and evaluate how you can progress. That’s the key to success.”
Maile's Thai Bistro
Maile Sengoura knows her way around the restaurant business. Having come of age in the family restaurant, Maile had learned more of the ins and outs of the game by her 20th birthday than others would hope to learn in an entire lifetime. With her pedigree, it should come as no surprise that Maile would venture out and launch her own business one day, hoping to spread her passion for the authentic Thai / Laos cuisine she grew up with. Nearly a decade ago, Maile opened her first namesake Thai Bistro and has been attracting throngs of hungry customers ever since. It’s no secret that the restaurant world can be incredibly demanding, but Maile’s passion, insight, and determination have led to her success. As a proud business owner, Maile is excited to see a growing amount of women joining the upper ranks of the business world. “I really believe that it’s important to have female leaders in our business community and I hope to see even more of them in the future,” says Maile. “My best advice to a young woman looking to start her own business would be to not spread yourself too thin. And don’t say yes to everything,” she adds with a laugh. “It can be easy to overcommit yourself in the beginning. I really do feel like there are a lot more women ready to take on the risk and take a shot at living out their dreams. And that’s really special.”
Tiki Wong and Jackie Chang
Taj Clubhouse has been playing an important role in the lives of young women in Honolulu for years. As female business owners, Tiki Wong and Jackie Chang have been outfitting Hawaii’s youth with the coolest tees, stamps, and adorable paper items and collectables for decades. As one of Ward Village’s oldest tenants, countless young women have been inspired by this boutique, so much so that they’ve continued shop here their entire lives. “We love seeing our customers return over the years and it’s heartwarming to see them mature into such impressive young women doing such amazing things. It feels great to think that we’ve inspired other women,” says Tiki. “We’ve been doing this a long time and it’s so exciting to see so many young women entering the business world and making their dreams come true.”
Nā Mea Hawai'i
For more than three decades Maile Meyer has been pursuing her passion. As an entrepreneur, curator, and leading advocate for native arts, Maile's been able to channel her true passion into a successful business via Nā Mea Hawai'i. Specializing in native art, merchandise, and interactive classes, Nā Mea Hawai‘i is redefining the modern business model and serves as a beacon in the community. Maile remains inspired by the future and believes that having more women in business could lead to a brighter future for all. “I see lots and lots of women and feminine energy, collaboration, inclusiveness and consideration of other happening today. And that’s what the world needs now.” According to Maile, the keys to success are often forged in resilience. Her advice to aspiring female business owners? “As a woman, don’t accept what you’re told you can’t do, just holomua (to progress), put your head down, and solve your own needs by being creative, resourceful, and resilient.”
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