Updated: Oct 4, 2021
CoWorkers to CoFounders, meet Tasha Rames and Haylee Kam, the creative team behind The Pua Bar - a build your own bouquet flower bar. After a year of doing local pop-ups across Kaua'i, these ladies recently opened their shop at Kilohana to bring more aloha through flowers to the community. Hear how their journey is driven by the desire to give and share love as well as expand the opportunities for the flower community here on Kauai. Stem by stem, piece by piece, they are putting together something special that celebrates life and lifts the spirits through nature and beauty.
Listen to the full interview or read below for selected highlights.
Tell us about who you were as a child?
HK: I was pretty crazy, full of energy. My grandmother's raised me, so I grew up between Oahu and Kauai. When I was in school, I was on Oahu. When I was out of school, I'd be with my dad's mom over here, hanging out with my big family on the north-shore. And it's funny because here I am now - back here.
What sparked your desire to become an entrepreneur?
HK: I've always had a desire to be my own boss. I enjoy being creative and have a passion for philanthropy. I wanted to create something that gives back. Honestly, if it wasn't for Tasha, I think I would be giving everything away and we'd be running this business into the ground. She's what keeps us afloat for sure. But anyway, the desire to create something beautiful that gives back and helps in some kind of a way. I think that's where this passion sprung from. And what better than flowers, whether it's for something celebratory or to lift ones spirits, flowers always bring happiness. So I think that's what sparked this for us.
Whats it like being Co-Founders and how did this idea take shape between the two of you?
HK: When Tasha and I first met each other, we were classmates at Hawaiian Airlines and I think that was an amazing place to start. We weren't quite friends before we became business partners - we were actually co-workers. I knew we worked really well with each other from working at Hawaiian - I think it was a great foundation just to instill some of our values and we have the same values as far as choosing the same company to work for. When the pandemic hit, like so many, I think we were pushed into a fight or flight moment and we decided to make the most of this situation. We decided to adapt and from that we grew this little business. We needed something that was just going to bring us pure joy.
Tell me about what its like to be a team, your roles and how it works together.
TR: Haylee is super creative. She's definitely the mastermind behind the flowers. She puts together a lot of our arrangements and like I said, I think that that's something that she's learned from when she was little. She's SO good at it. For me, I like Excel spreadsheets. I like to be organized. I think it's the business background in me. So I definitely take on more ordering and Haylee's definitely the creative fun side.
When do you feel most alive?
TR: Nature is definitely where we find a lot of our inspiration for the store. That's where a lot of our inspiration comes from. We love hiking, we love camping. We love paddle boarding in the river and Hanalei Bay. I feel like Kaua'i is such a beautiful place and we're so lucky to call it home.
Obviously flowers grow right outside and it's something that we just want to share with the community. To Haylee's point, she would tell you that when we were stuck inside during COVID and we weren't allow to leave the house, this idea came about as a way to bring the outside in and bring a bit of nature inside. Flowers make you so happy and make you feel better even in a dark time - it's something to look forward to.
How do you hope to impact Kauai with this business?
TR: During our time as a pop-up, we met so many amazing female entrepreneurs and got to know them, got to see their products. Its inspired a goal to use our store as a platform to impact as many women owned small businesses as possible and not just businesses, but also local lei makers. There's so few places you can get a specially made lei unless you know someone who makes them or someone's aunty that does it or sister. We want our store to be a place that people can go and support our community - to sell lei, buy lei and provide opportunities for other small businesses.
I also think Aloha would have to be up there because like Hailey said, literally Aloha means to love and to care for. When people come into the store to buy flowers, it's really that symbolism of giving a lei or giving a bouquet. You're literally telling them that you love them. You're proud of them. You care about them. That's definitely a value that our business embodies. Aloha has so many translations and meanings just like in our culture and our community. It's something that we feel when sharing our flowers with people - it's sharing our love and hopefully other people sharing their love. Flowers have the power to make people happy.
Need more flowers in your life? Go visit The Pua Bar
Open Mon-Sat 11-6
3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue, HI