Creative Design Hawai‘i Thrives Making Branded Merch for Local and Mainland Companies

2023 SmallBiz Editor’s Choice Award winner: Owner Tiana Gamble wants to keep breaking down “the barriers of expectations.”
05 23 Hb Best Of Small Business Hero 08 Creative Design Hawaii
Photo: Aaron Yoshino

While Tiana Gamble was applying for a loan to get a swimwear business started, “a tax guy introduced me to a company that was for sale.” After meeting the couple who founded Creative Design Hawai‘i, Gamble acquired the business in 2017.

CDH supplies modern promotional products; about 70% of its business comes from companies operating in Hawai‘i and the rest on the mainland. The businesses it supplies here include First Hawaiian Bank, Kaimana Beach Hotel and Howard Hughes Corp. – everybody from “construction to banks to retail,” Gamble says.

Its merchandise are often things that carry the client’s logo and are given away to the client’s customers: tote bags, umbrellas, towels, notepads, reusable water bottles and many other items.

Gamble says revenue from her business has grown to $4 million a year – far more than her forecast. “It is pretty phenomenal.”

Along the way, she says she’s loved working with her team members – now 14 women and two men – and watching them grow in the promotional products industry, which traditionally has been male-dominated.

“I love being able to run my own business and breaking down the barriers of expectations,” she says.

Gamble launched a sister company called Goodmerch Supply in 2021 that emphasizes environmentally conscious merchandise.

She says she strived to keep her companies innovative while providing flexible and happy places to work.

“This way, companies will continue to trust us to offer them new ideas and I can challenge myself in doing better,” Gamble says.