Kekoa Collective – Impassioned Merchant

Today is Kekoa Collective’s birthday. We are officially 1 year old. I am going to take a few moments to reflect and to share with you our voyage in the last year.

To witness and be a part of the process of fulfilling an idea to reality is almost unfathomable. I feel like I have aged so much in the last 365 days. Without a doubt, I have learned more about myself than any other past experiences. Stress, fear, bliss, worrisome, exhaustion, joy, hopeful, freedom…these are just some of the emotions that went through my mind and my physical self.

Would you have believed me if I told you we launched this brand with: a part time designer that lives in California; two part-time graduates from the University of Nebraska; two part-time, home-schooled, aspiring movie maker and pro surfer high school seniors; a part time senior from UH; a purple belt jiujiteira from Dominican Republic; and a social media story teller who lives in Montana?

From the public eye, most people think we have this huge team with years of professional experience who have helped build this brand, but it is far from the truth. Together, we design and build the store, we develop the retail systems, we design and build a website, and we made short films. The most crazy about this is none of us have any real experiences in any of these area; however, we have one common denominator - passion for making a difference.

We opened our e-commerce doors on November 1, 2016 and our community store a few weeks later on November 20. Our main purpose is to help build a community of liked-mind humans sharing our passion for surf, jiu-jitsu, yoga and travel.

What we have hoped for is to “touch lives”, to connect with our customers on a deeper level, and to share our stories. Our intention is to inspire, to awaken their consciousness, to encourage them to live a courageous, kind, and a mindful life. This is our purpose.

Our e-commerce business is growing slowly but steadily.

Our community store is seeing fresh faces every day.

Our mat space is being shared with many jiujiteiros from local and visiting jiu-jitsu academies.

Our yoga space is being used 6 days a week.

I have never been this financially poor since college days. My partner and I have emptied our life savings and 401K accounts to pursue this dream. There are some nights I lay awake with intense fear, worrying if I made the right decisions. There are some months where we struggle to pay rent or payroll, but we somehow always find a way to make it work. And when I see the smiling faces in our space, or the occasional random email like the one below, it restores my faith in our purpose.

I am more excited about the future and the possibility of our mission. The biggest lessons I have learned revolves around fear. Fear is mostly derived from our head and it is always projected somewhere into the future.  I had to learn to bring my thoughts back to the present - visiting an isolation tank like the one at Dream Floats has helped immensely. I really feel fear is what keeps most of us from launching our dream life. I am learning to understand it now more than ever. Fear dissipates when consciousness appears! 

On the final note, there are simply too many of you to thank but you know who you are. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support, your love and patronage.

“So I just watched the first vlog and commented on it but I wanted to give you another thanks.
I really took to heart your “mindful living” message after coming to your space last December. To say I fell in love with the community you built would be an understatement.
 This year has been a year of change. I quit my sales management job and I now work for a charity that helps families that have lost members who served in the military. Having lost my brother in Iraq (he was stationed on Oahu, which is my primary connection to the island) I now make a difference in people’s lives by helping them in a number of ways, not the least of which is being able to give them the same sense that I felt walking in your space. That they belong somewhere and that there are people there that live a message instead of a mission statement.
 I became a minimalist, went vegan, started meditating, doing yoga, and I’m working on facing down many fears I’ve had, one of which is water. Next time I get out to Hawaii, I’m going to surf, damnit.
The time I spent in your store was an eye and world-opening experience for me, and was the moment that changed my life for the better. There’s not many stores in the world that can make a claim that they’ve made people’s lives better aside from simply clothing them.
You have a friend and a customer for life. I’m sure I’ll be hitting your store up soon, and I wish you all the best this holiday season. I hope to see you all very soon.
-Christopher S.”
- Dewey Doan

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