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Pualani Hawaii Beachwear—The Best Swimsuit Investment

Pualani Hawaii Beachwear owner, Kaz Flanagan

I love going to the beach when I’m in my childhood home state of Hawai`i when I can.

I also enjoy finding great swimsuits that are flattering, durable and pretty. So, when I learned my friend and franchise owner, Kazusa “Kaz” Flanagan opened up a swimsuit shop, I had to visit her.
While shopping for my amazing suit, I got to sit and talk story with her about how she opened up her store. Her story is, a few years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had double mastectomy.

Best seller surfer top with crisscross in the back

As you can imagine, this was devastating to her and she thought it meant that she would not go to the beach or wear bras. A friend took her to the Pualani Swimwear owner’s (Iwalani) home; while there, Iwalani faced her with the facts of living in Hawai’i: she will still need to wear a swimsuit to go to the beach. She helped Kaz find a suit that would help her not only look good, but also feel good about her post-surgery body.

Kaz loves the brand because she COULD wear some of the swimsuit styles even though she didn’t have any breasts. She then started promoting the brand to other women going through or had gone through breast cancer. Last year, when Iwalani invited Kaz to partner with her in her business, she offered her a franchise opportunity, which allows her to introduce more breast cancer survivors to Pualani Swimwear.

This awesome store opened January 8, 2018 and has been doing well. Her favorite bathing suit is the one with the top that Iwalani designed for breast cancer survivors based on their feedback. It looks like a bra, but has a twisted look in the front because it hides scars. (Which, coincidentally, is the one I purchased). Her best seller is the surfer top with crisscross straps in the back.

I had a small issue with my straps and Kaz worked with me to correct it and, when it was obvious that a fix wouldn’t work, my top was replaced and I got to enjoy using it for several beach trips. That’s tops in my book!

If you’re going to invest in an amazing swimsuit, and you’re in Honolulu, you must check out the store at the base of Diamond Head’s northwest side.

Pualani Hawaii Beachwear 3118 Monsarrat Avenue Honolulu, HI 96822

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Copies Done Right For A Great Price

I love a great price for a good product and I’m slightly picky. I do occasional print jobs that I want done at a higher quality level than my inkjet printer. I love using local service providers to get things done, but oftentimes, it costs quite a bit to have print work done this way…until I found 9 Cent Color Copies.

When I met Chris Fryer at a local networking group a few years ago, he ran the Thurston County branch of 9 Cent Color Copies. He regularly brought print jobs he’d done to deliver to customers at meetings. Sometimes he’d bring his two adorable daughters with him because he’s a great family man and always keeps his delivery promises. I decided to try out his services when I made a flier for my Hawaiian club’s festival event a couple of springs ago. Since then, he’s always helped me with quick-print business cards, fliers and even postcards at a good price. His costs are low because he runs his business from his house, which saves on leasing costs. Since I’m a solopreneur on a tight budget, he meets my printing needs and I know he’ll meet anyone else’s.

He also ships to customers (for a fee) anywhere! Check out his website, call him at 360-441-7517 or email him for more information.

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Lightening The Care Giving Load With FirstLight

FirstLight Home Care Owner Sarah Lane

I love small businesses that pursue excellence, especially the ones who have humble beginnings and are dedicated to providing a solution for life’s challenges. First Light Home Care does this by providing quality care-giving services to families who have members needing assistance. Their services range from companion, personal care and dementia care, to respite and travel companionship.

During my interview with owner Sarah Lane, who owns the business with her husband Greg, I learned that the passion to serve the elderly started early in her adult life and has brought much satisfaction today. Voted Best Of The South Sound 2015 and Best Of The South Sound 2016, with only three years running, the business helps families of the elderly have peace of mind by providing excellent care giving services with high standards. Sarah not only hires caregivers who meet above-Washington State standards, but also considers, before making the hiring decision, “would I trust this person with my own parents?” and makes it a practice to only hire people who are caring and compassionate. This to me speaks volumes about the care FirstLight provides to their clients. Her staff, which is the bread and butter of her business, is very important to her. She is proud of them and considers it a privilege to participate in helping people “put food on the table.”


What I like about Sarah, the heart of FirstLight, is that she is humble, high achieving and seeks to benefit her clients. I highly recommend anyone looking for quality care givers to let FirstLight help.

Downtown Wine Store – A Great Community Gathering Place

I enjoy tasting and drinking wine. I was not a fan of wine, just 8 years ago, but, over the years, have learned to appreciate the complexities of different wines. I used to say I’m a “wine-for-dummies” wine drinker, but I have surpassed that to the next stage: I am beginning to know what I like but am still not a snob. That’s why I enjoy going to the Wine Loft on 401 Columbia Street NW in Downtown Olympia.

Wine Loft Owner, Justin Wilkes

New owner Justin Wilkes is very knowledgeable about his inventory and seeks to educate customers to find a perfect match between wine drinker and wine. Oregon born and raised, he moved up to Washington to learn from one of the master sommeliers. When the opportunity came up, he acquired the little wine shop.

Going into the little 30’x40’ brick building is like walking into an adult candy shop full of wines and spirits. Thought small, he has a nice selection of wines that may or may not be found in big box stores. He greets you and genuinely cares about what your palate desires, what your price point is and what you have an affinity for…then offers you something you may not have tried before. His occasional wine tastings are a must-do on a Saturday afternoon. On a recent visit to the Labor Day Saturday tasting, my friend and I met someone I knew, which is generally the standard for a neat community venue of like kind.

I recommend that part of your Downtown Olympia tour should include (or just make it a point to go) a stop at the Wine Loft. You will be treated like you’re important and not an ignoramus.

Just Like Family!

The world is full great businesses. Before I got into business, I didn’t pay much attention except when the business provided bad service or the prices were unreasonable. (I still pay attention to that) However, I love finding businesses that provide either a unique product or service, or have amazing staff that treats customers like family. Sandstone Distillery is one of those kinds of businesses that treat you like family the moment you walk in. The business is run by husband and wife, John and Jenni Bourdon, along with their son, Justin, and makes all of their spirits (including bacon whiskey) onsite. John tells the story, Jenni serves you up some samples and Justin explains the distilling process. Heck, you may even see the other family members pitching in, here and there.

They offer their local products in establishments around Thurston County, Washington, but are gaining visibility at various festivals, networking groups and Total Wine in Western Washington. They’ll even set you up with gift packs! If you’re ever in Tenino, Washington, you’ve got to check them out at 842 Wright Rd SE Tenino, WA, 98589, email them or call (360) 239-7272. They’re definitely special people!

South Sound Entrepreneur Showcases Talent In Many Ways

Many techies like to play with systems. Trevor Altman is no exception. But how many of them actually has a stage presence as well? Trevor Altman does. His one and a half year old business is increasing in service offerings and can meet the needs of wedding and event planners throughout the South Puget Sound region of  Western Washington. I spoke with him this summer to learn more about how he’s evolved into a thriving small business owner.

thumb_img_2232_1024As a teen, Trevor was involved in sound and audio technical activities at church, eventually completing the audio technician program at Berklee College. When someone asked him to DJ for a wedding, the rest was history; he embarked on owning and running his own business. At first he offered his services as a DJ for weddings, then marketed at wedding shows and to event planners. Now, he has a robust offering and has a lighting tech, audio tech, videographer and a staff of 4 DJ’s. Not only does he offer quality entertainment, he also serves as a master of ceremonies for venues in need of one and has a recording studio too! I have witnessed him in action–he’s a natural! He is a unique business owner who works hands on with customers, is not a franchise, customizes services to fit each client’s needs and he’s also a very genuine individual. Anyone with a small or large-scale event in need of quality audio technical, emceeing, entertainment and recording services in the South Puget Sound area of Western Washington should contact Altman Audio.

Little Town That Boasts A Big Brew

The tech industry has been good to Kit Larimer. He’s worked for big companies, including Microsoft, as well as some electronics companies. But his small hometown of Cle Elum was calling him back. However, after making a decent living, what could the small town offer him that would keep him gainfully employed?Roslyn Brew Company8

Roslyn Brewing Company had been in business for 14 years when Kit was evaluating his options. The craft brewery, located on 207 Pennsylvania Avenue in Roslyn, Washington, was just what he was looking for. That was in 2004. Kit’s now owned the brewery for 12 yrs, which, at that time, offered two brews: Brookside and Roslyn. Now, he’s added 4 more (Red Lager, Belgium Ale, India Pale Ale, Boomtown Ale) and is working on a 5th. Currently, Roslyn Brewing Company beers are sold at bottle shops and served at fine establishments around Washington State. Lucky for Washingtonians!Roslyn Brew Company2Roslyn Brew Company

Next time you’re in Washington State, stop by Gravity Beer in Olympia, Washington, 99 Bottles in Federal Way or the over 150+ locations around Washington State and try one of their brews.

Live Local.

If There’s No Job That Utilizes Your Skill Set, Create That Perfect Job

SmallBizYou’ve been working at a company long enough to know it with your eyes closed and you’ve been pursuing your passion that has produced another set of skills. Both allow you to be gainfully employed and then some, but you’re only working the one that guarantees to pay your bills. You aren’t being challenged at your current job and the jobs that would utilize your passion skill sets require years of experience to get hired. What do you do? Consider becoming a business owner.

Being a business owner is no easy feat, but is doable if you do some soul-searching, planning and development of your potential business idea/ideas. Write those ideas down to answer:

  • who is your target market
  • what will you provide
  • why you want provide your goods or services
  • how will you provide those goods or services
  • how much will you need to provide those goods or services
  • where will you provide your goods or services
  • when will you start your business

Visit your local Small Business Association, research your potential competition, interview businesses in the same industry you’re interested in.

You can do anything with careful contemplation, planning and motivation!

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