Small Business/Big Challenges: Lana Penaroza, Owner, Tag Aloha Co.
What has been Tag Aloha’s latest pivot or innovation?
Just before the crisis hit, we had started working on expanding our product line beyond the beach bags that we are known for. We recently launched a few new products, like lunch bags for our Whole Foods Hawaii line, and we are taking this down time to sink our teeth into our other exciting new products (which we are keeping a surprise for now). We are also spending time soaking up inspiration and creating new designs.
What has been your company’s latest opportunity or opportunities?
I think the best thing we can do is look at this time and find the silver lining by spending more time with family. As small business owners, we rarely get the time to slow down! We are using these moments to tie up loose ends to make sure we are well positioned to return to normalcy.
How has your company’s experience been with any level of government during this crisis?
Just like many companies here in Hawai‘i, we applied for federal assistance as soon as portals opened online. When the PPP (Payroll Protection Plan) opened we worked with our local American Savings Bank and they have been really great in letting us know the status of things and what paperwork is needed, and when. As business owners in Hawai‘i, our community goes above and beyond in customer service, and it’s at the heart of how we built Tag Aloha. So, to have some local support there has been crucial in this crazy time.
In what ways do you think your business will be different at the end of this year?
I think everyone will take this experience and grow from it to some degree. 2019 was a huge year of growth for us, and that came after years of planning and laying down the steps to get there. So, we’ll continue to look at ways to diversify and expand our product lines. 2020 may be a year of planning and laying down new steps, but we are excited to see what the future holds.
In what ways have you been able to support the broader community beyond your employees and customers?
We partner with the Surfrider Foundation to donate a portion of our sales to protecting Hawai‘i’s ocean and coastlines. This year, we also added a nonprofit partnership with AccesSurf, an amazing organization dedicated to connecting people with disabilities as well as veterans to the healing power of the ocean. Creating a business model that has allowed us to give back to worthy causes and protect the places we love is the most fulfilling part of our business, and even though things have slowed down, we will continue to support these great organizations and the many people and resources they serve.