On Wednesday, November 14th, RISEHI presents “RISE + DEFINE,” our third talk story breakfast event defining what it takes to make it in Hawaii. For this event, we’re capping off our “BECOME a Business Owner” series by featuring four kama`aina entrepreneurs in a panel discussion.
We’re pleased to have Zak Barry (Banán), Ryan Chun (Elite Parking), Tiana Gamble (BikiniBird), and Alex Le (The Pig & The Lady) as part of the panel discussion.
The panelists will share their stories of what inspired them to start a business, the challenges they faced, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Additional topics will cover startup capital, motivation, and brand building.
DATE AND TIME
Wed, November 14, 2018
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM HST
- 8:00 am – Doors Open – Breakfast begins
- 8:30 am – Opening Remarks & Panel Discussion
- 9:30 am – Event Ends
The Pig and The Lady
83 North King Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
Zak Barry, Co-Founder of Banán
After graduating from Babson College in 2014, Zak was living in Santa Cruz, working on a crowdfunding platform for nonprofits, and applying for tech start-ups jobs in San Francisco. His taste buds quickly took over after a friend’s cousin shared a yummy vegan recipe for ice cream by simply blending frozen bananas. Immediately, Zak and his friends knew it was a product they wanted to bring to the masses. Although business school had advised him not to go into business with friends and not to go into the food business, Zak trusted his instincts and moved back to Hawai’i where Banán was born with his three Punahou classmates. Originally, they planned to have a storefront, but found a food truck on Craigslist for $2,000 and parked it in a 4,000 square foot lot near on Monsarrat Ave. Today, Banán has four sites on O’ahu and one abroad. As a farm-to-table delicacy business, Banán hopes to close the food cycle by supporting local farmers and agriculture and create more “table-to-farm” benefits by providing compost resources back to the farmers.
Ryan Chun, President/Partner of Elite Parking Services
In 1992 while starting his valet business on Pier 7 of Aloha Tower, Ryan put a nearby payphone as the contact number on his business cards. He didn’t have an office and personal cell phones were merely a futuristic thought. When the payphone would ring, Ryan would sprint to it and answer, “Elite Car Care/Valet.” Fast forward 26 years later, his business has evolved into ELITE Parking – Hawai’i’s largest independent parking services provider. Approximately 1,000 employees work all around the state at hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and special events to provide the highest quality in valet services and parking management. However, the Kaiser High School grad still remains grounded and driven when he recalls the place where he honed his leadership skills: at the age of 16 as the weekend manager of his uncle’s 76 gas station in Hawaii Kai. As for the infamous payphone, he thinks it still stands on Pier 7, and Ryan asks you, “What are you willing to do to succeed?”
Tiana Becker Gamble, Bikini Bird Co-Founder and President of Creative Design Hawai’i
Tiana knew she wanted to be in the fashion industry at 14 years old. After attending Loyola Marymount, she worked as a sales representative for multiple clothing lines in Southern California and Hawai‘i including Billabong and Olukai. In 2010, she moved home and while still working full-time, started a lifestyle and swimwear blog, Bikini Bird. Calling it her “passion project,” Bikini Bird grew its online following (136k social media followers!) and transformed into an online store. Most recently, Bikini Bird opened its doors as a brick and mortar in Kailua. Tiana holds a firm belief that through work and life, one must be what they want to attract. She credits her years working for others in the various aspects of the fashion industry for helping her plan and start her own business. Always looking for the next project, Tiana acquired Creative Design Hawai’i in 2017 and quickly broadened its clientele to outer islands and California.
Alex Le, Co-Owner/General Manager of The Pig & The Lady, Piggy Smalls
In the early 80s, Alex spent every weekend helping his parents sell wares at the Aloha Stadium flea market. Swapping the swap meet for a small brick and mortar in Kaimuki, he spent 30 years perfecting his craft running operations and creating an enjoyable customer experience in his family’s business, Toys N’ Joys, until its doors closed in 2013. In search of another business opportunity, Alex decided to help his brother, Andrew, start a pop-up dinner experience in Kaka’ako. Using their mother’s Vietnamese recipes as culinary inspiration, he quickly fell in love with the endeavor and they found huge success and a loyal following at farmers’ markets. By leveraging what Alex learned in the family business, combined with his brother Andrew’s chef training, the Le brothers have converted their farmers’ market concept into two extremely popular restaurant locations in Chinatown and Kakaako.