Kim Weaver says she maintains a thriving business by partnering with family and paying attention to the handcrafted soap and jewelry she designs and sells. “I make everything myself because I’m so particular about the quality and detail of each product. I don’t want to ever lose that,” said Weaver, the owner and operator of Hana Lima Designs.
She opened Hana Lima Soap Co. eight years ago after suffering a work-related injury at a private company. The business grew out of a hobby and love for handmade soaps. She supplemented the business soon after by establishing Hana Lima Designs, which features handcrafted jewelry and gifts. Weaver makes the soap and jewelry in separate home-based workshops and distributes them wholesale in small boutiques and galleries statewide, at craft fairs, the Made In Hawaii Festival, the Maui Fair, and the Maui Swap Meet. “When it comes to jewelry design, it is competitive. Each designer has her own style,” she said. Weaver said she tries to stand out “by giving a little something extra” or an unexpected surprise in the design. She’s most proud that her business has allowed her to raise two sons on her own. She’s succeeded in part because of support from her partner, Scott; her mom, Beverly, and relatives who assist at retail events. “I couldn’t do this without my family. We are all doing this together,” she said.
Operating Hana Lima Designs has had its challenges. “Shopping for supplies and shipping the products are big obstacles. The freight is high and very costly,” Weaver said. Her strategy in business has been to operate at a slow and steady pace. “Honestly, I think it’s because I didn’t try to grow quickly. The temptation to expand is there but I want to grow slow and steady,” she said. Hana Lima Designs has no regularly paid employees. “I’ve kept it to where I could do it all on my own if needed.”