This month I had the chance to catch up with Erin of EHA Culture and learn more about her process and journey of cultivating her business. Rooted in a love for creative and artistic outlets she has found the harmony of integrating her artwork into everyday items that soon become favorites. Listening to her share about each chapter of growth in her business reminded me of how seasons shape our work and our lives - and that patience with the process can be the best way to have grace with ourselves.
How did you end up doing what you are doing now?
In my twenties I was working in the entertainment industry as a sales rep for luaus as well as performing tahitian and fire dancing at whatever gigs I could get. I was looking to earn extra income because I wanted to get out of debt. I began to try different creative outlets - jewelry, beach bags, etc - exploring avenues of earning a side income. While I knew that I wanted to cultivate a creative business, it took me time to find the right niche or product that could be the cornerstone of my creative business. While looking at pareo design options I came across Turkish towels and loved the opportunity of art integrated into a useful everyday piece. This led to the true launch of EHA Culture. In the last few years I’ve focused more energy towards the business in order to scale and diversify offerings as this meets my desire to design beautiful items that are useful for the everyday life on Kauai.
What was a memorable insight or turning point in your journey?
I used to paint on canvases and scrap wood, draw in my drawing pads and spray paint a ton, but I knew that this way of creating was not what I truly wanted or even needed in order to get my artwork on Turkish towels or other products. I felt like I wanted cleaner lines, almost like a cartoon or something. It was so unclear at the time, but then I realized that I needed to make a power move and bought myself an iPad. Since I’ve gotten it, it’s like a light turned on and I’ve been able to expand my artwork and turn my ideas and visions into reality.
When do you feel most alive?
I feel most alive when I have “me” time. Waking up early to go for a run on the bike path or going to Tahitian dance practice with my halau really makes me feel like I’m Erin, an individual who likes to be healthy and get a workout, while at the same time spending time with God and nurturing my soul. When I get to have “me” time, it gives me time to think, feel inspired and reboot in order to take care of my family.
What matters most to you when it comes to running a business? I think having good morals, good relationships and positivity with each aspect of my business is pretty important to me. I also think that as I create the artwork and designs for my products, staying true to me is a big part of running my business too. Meaning, not veering towards just what others want to see on a product, but creating something that I feel is meaningful and that will hopefully touch a person’s heart and soul, like it does mine.
What advice do you have to offer other entrepreneurs and innovators?
Have a clear vision of what you want to do with your business. Set goals, take baby steps and don’t be intimidated by what you see on social media. Each business had to start somewhere, so instead, get inspired from what you see, learn while you scroll and make little changes and additions to your business as you grow and nurture it. What are you noticing right now, looking at more closely? I’ve been thinking a lot about timing. As we’ve just recently come out of the Christmas season, it’s almost been a down time with work to sit back and take a look at the year ahead. So, I’ve been looking at the different seasons coming up thinking of what types of fruits and flowers are in bloom and what activities we’re doing at the time too. I want to incorporate what’s really going on in people and nature and use it in my work, whether it’s on my towels or new products and even in my photoshoots. I’m excited to see what I come up with!
And looking forward - tell us more about the upcoming Wahine Made Market & Festival. Last year I had this idea to gather all the women creatives for a market to celebrate their businesses. The Wahine Made Market & Festival was originally set for July 18th of last year, but with the pandemic going on, I wanted to postpone the event. I recently confirmed with Anaina Hou Community Park that we will be having the Wahine Made Market & Festival this summer on June 19th, 2021 on the Porter Pavilion Lawn. This idea was sparked by the inspiration I find in so many of the women entrepreneurs around me. There are so many strong and creative women of all ages that I wanted a space that celebrates what we are all creating. Talking it over with my friend Marla, we landed on the idea of a Wahine Made Market. I am also thrilled to be partnering up with Shine With Her, a non profit by Leila Hurst, to host a silent auction that will benefit their mission of helping girls build confidence, self worth and positive lifestyle skills in order to thrive in today’s society. I'm excited to see it all come together and serve the community here on our island.