Smoothing over skin and spirit: Honua Hawaiian Skincare
February 12, 2020
Beauty building blocks
Nicole Lampsa started out her career as an investment banker. While she loved the work, Nicole was drawn to a career in consumer-retail, especially as it related to sustainability and environmental impact. As an investment banker, Nicole had the opportunity to work with businesses like these, but wanted to be part of one herself.
She found herself enamored with beauty and self-care. Eventually, Nicole had the opportunity to work for a company that combined her passion for environmental sustainability and beauty products. She nose-dived into the sector, where she helped a skincare business owner bring their brick-and-mortar stores online. She loved the experience, and knew this was the field for her.
Eventually, she met a very special entrepreneur.
Enter Kapua Browning.
Kapua is the founder of Honua Hawaiian Skincare, a one-of-a-kind beauty brand that creates handmade, Hawaiian-crafted products that minimize environmental impact.
Nicole instantly loved the idea of Kapua’s business and recognized Honua Hawaiian Skincare for its ability to grow. “I saw what Kapua had created and I really liked it. I’m also skin-care obsessed. It’s great to be able to contribute to a company and mission that I believe in and support.”
Nicole officially joined the Honua Hawaiian Skincare team in January of 2018 as COO. But, before her arrival, Kapua had done a ton of work to grow her business that led into what Honua Hawaiian Skincare is today.
Sharing selfcare creations
Nicole isn’t the only one who’s obsessed. “It’s easy to get obsessed with something that helps you look better and feel better,” and that’s part of what Nicole and Kapua have attributed their success to. In fact, Honua’s initial growth was based on pure demand for their unique products.
Flashback to a kind-hearted and crafty Hawaii native living in the Bay Area, making and sending unique products to customers in her home state. For free.
Kapua founded Honua Hawaiian Skincare in 2015. She was an aesthetician for over a decade before she realized the market for her product.
Spending time in the sun, which Kapua herself does a lot, leads to damaging effects, such as pigmentation and skin damage. By combining this with her interest in Hawaiian herbs and natural remedies, Kapua began experimenting with olena (turmeric), eventually sharing her techniques with others in Hawaii. Her handmade and personalized mixtures saw a steady rise in demand, which even followed her to California.
Browning is known to be extremely generous, which explains why she made and distributed her products from the Bay Area for free. But, soon enough, she began to feel the financial burden and realized the profound market available for her products. So she started to look for help with designing and packaging her products, and building the story of Honua Hawaiian Skincare.
Homegrown: Hawaiian at heart & by hand
Since then, Honua Hawaiian Skincare has only grown. And the timing could not be better. Honua’s products are organic, ethical, fresh, and effective, reflecting the increasing demand for ethical, organic products and practices.
But, some companies don’t see things that way, or are just trying to take advantage of a growing trend.
“There are a lot of brands and a lot of noise and a lot of companies that are just trying to make money. They’ll sell you anything they can.”
Most skincare products don’t need to be priced so highly. Honua offers high-quality, luxury products without the inflated prices you see attached to most skincare products.
We find that at Veem, too, as most payment options are extremely marked up and don’t need to be. But, that’s another story.
Honua Hawaiian Skincare uses quality, distinctively Hawaiian materials that match luxury beauty products, without luxury pricing.
“It used to be that you’d have to choose between effective and clean products. You couldn’t have both. But that’s not the case anymore. Our products are clean and effective. Customers can get efficacy in ways other than by using carcinogenic products that chemically burn your skin. Using natural Hawaiian ingredients is both clean and green.”
But, what’s inside the bottle, bar, or tube isn’t the only part of Honua Hawaiian Skincare’s green mission.
“All of our packaging is recyclable or compostable. Our bottles are glass, and we’re focused on building a reputable process to help sustain the environment. If we find newer, more eco-friendly solutions to packaging, we’re all over it.”
Hawaiians like Kapua realize the importance of connecting to nature, which isn’t hard once you’ve been immersed in the beauty of the Hawaiian landscape and flora.
To maintain their focus on sustainable practices, Honua Hawaiian
Skincare get their products right from the source. “We harvest from farmers in Hawaii. We know them, and we know exactly where all our products are coming from.”
Additionally, Kapua, Nicole, and the team also host events in support of the environment, like beach clean-ups and reforestation projects.
Honua Hawaii Skincare isn’t just about taking care of skin and body. They also invest in healing the spirit and mind, and appreciating the intimate connection between people and nature. After all, “Honua” means “the Earth,” so taking care of it is a main concern of the company.
“When you think Hawaii, you may think relaxation and shedding negativity. It’s a bodily, in-the-moment experience that’s both physical and mental. We try to infuse that experience, and that philosophy, into our products.”
Challenges: To expand, or not to expand
Spreading such a message is hard in a big world, but Honua manages to reach far and wide. Nicole notes that while their roots will always be Hawaiian, “Honua is a global company.”
Although Honua is a small company, their products are available around the world, with retailers in the US, Australia, Europe, Asia, Canada, and even on Réunion Island.
But of course, international business is a challenge for many entrepreneurs, and especially for small businesses like Honua.
“We want to be able to sell in different countries, but it’s an investment to expand. The issue is mostly about what to focus on. We can’t do everything, because if we do, that means we’re not doing some things well.”
As a small team, the company doesn’t have a need for a CFO. Therefore, the financial responsibilities fall to Nicole, including invoicing and dealing with late payments. But in order to expand the company’s reach, Nicole realized she needed to focus more on marketing and less on financials.
“Finance is my background, but I can’t spend all of my time on it. And while it is a critical business function, it’s not going to grow the company. It just needs to work. At this point, we need solid marketing to grow, and I need to focus my time on that.”
Nicole and Kapua were looking for solutions to scalability, international business relationships, and financials for Honua Hawaiian Skincare. Oddly, they found one in the most unlikely of places: their payments.
International payments and scalability with Veem
Nicole first discovered Veem as an alternative to the complicated and risky process of sending bank wires overseas.
“At the time, I thought it seemed too good to be true. I investigated Veem and found it to be a lot easier and more straightforward than other methods I’d previously used. The pricing was great, while international money wires and other companies can be very expensive. That’s what initially drew me in.”
Veem has become an integral part of Honua Hawaiian Skincare’s operations, and Nicole’s job.
“Now we use Veem for international and domestic payments. Even if someone isn’t familiar with Veem, I initiate a payment to our freelance writers, photographers, website developers, and especially our vendors and suppliers. I send it to them and they like it. Now they just request their payments through Veem.”
Before Veem, Nicole found the process of overseas payments daunting. Everything from getting bank accounts and IBAN numbers to confirming addresses made transferring money an overwhelming process. Now, she has nothing to worry about.
According to Nicole, the countries Honua Hawaiian Skincare sends products to have their own unique requirements. “It takes someone who’s done it 50 or 200 times to really explain the specifics. It applies to every country we sell in.”
When it comes to international payments, companies benefit by charging huge fees for their expertise and security. Between banks and consultants, small businesses get cornered by heavy fees, often without the comfort of a representative.
“We were sending a payment overseas and I talked to my Veem account manager and he said, ‘Don’t worry. Just put in the information, we have a country manager over there who contacts the company and makes sure everything is right.’ And that’s exactly what I wanted! It saved me from having to call the overseas bank to verify the information. It gives me peace of mind I simply didn’t get with any other payments processor.”
Bank wires’ lack of transparency makes sending payments stressful for all business owners. Honua Hawaiian Skincare is no different.
“With the bank, I have no idea where my transfer goes or if I’ve made a mistake. I think, ‘what if the money goes to the wrong place and I can’t ever get it back?’ I’d send the money and sit there on pins and needles, just hoping they would get it. That’s very unnerving.”
Nicole takes advantage of Veem’s tracking tool at no extra cost.
“I have a lot of trust in the process because it’s more visible and trackable. I can see when a payment is still processing on the other end, and whether the money has left my account.”
See how Veem can make your business payments simple. LEARN MORE
Grow now, Pay Later
For small businesses, cash is king. With it, business owners like Kapua can do anything. Without it, it can seem like all is lost.
Businesses like Honua Hawaiian Skincare can face challenges with cash flow, especially when their business partners fail to make payment on time. Honua doesn’t have a ton of leverage to force anyone to pay, so they’re stuck waiting, and waiting, feeling more and more unstable.
This is a story small business owners know all too well. Honua needed a solution for their cash flow woes. Since Veem released the Veem Capital program, Honua Hawaiian Skincare hasn’t had to worry about delayed payments.
“With Veem Capital, our customers are able to pay later, while we can rest assured that our cash flow won’t be disrupted.”
“Veem Capital is a breeze to use. I can lean on Veem Capital to help pay for working capital purchases, foreseen or unforeseen, rather than stressing about where the money will come from.”
Uncertainty can sink a business. By taking advantage of the Net 30 terms that Veem Capital provides, Nicole and Kapua never have to worry about being out of cash again.
The time it takes to prepare for a bank wire eats up the time necessary for other responsibilities. Now, Veem’s simple dashboard, quick processes, and invoicing makes financial tasks easy,simple so Nicole can focus on marketing and growing the business.
“I don’t have time for standard bank wire transfers. There’s no team, it’s just me. With Veem, I can send all of my payments in a minute, opposed to wasting time going to the bank to fill out an international wire transfer form. Veem has reduced the amount of time I spend on routine money transfers by around 75%.”
Oh, and those “other things” Nicole can now focus on have done some pretty remarkable things for the business.
“We’ve done a lot more with marketing this year. We doubled our revenue and we wouldn’t have been possible if I were knee-deep in finance. I can definitely attribute at least part of that growth to Veem and the time it has helped me save.”
Nicole is proud of herself, Kapua, and what the team at Honua Hawaiian Skincare have done.
“It’s amazing to be a part of a company that does something that matters. We’re very focused on that. This company incorporates the values that I’d pass on to my kids.”
Veem is proud to help further Nicole and Kapua’s journey to spread their message and bring Aloha to the world.
Need payments now? Find out how Veem can help with Paid Now. Learn More