Business thrives despite weak economy

Liz Howard
Liz Howard

By Duane Shimogawa bio | email

KAIMUKI (KHNL) - Even with the bad economy, one East Oahu business manages to thrive.

Indige Designs is a clothing and interior furnishings store. The owner says he does well mostly because he adapts to his customers needs and his items are handmade and one of a kind.

Liz Howard has shopped at Indige Designs since it opened about two years ago.

"I think neighborhood places that are more personal, the owner works here, the owner selects the product, the owner does the displays, so it's a much more personal kind of store," she said.

She and many others have kept Indige Designs afloat in this recession.

One of the main reasons people shop there is because when they buy an item, they know they're supporting people who are less fortunate.

"I think people especially right now, like the lady who just left, she loves the idea that socially, her shopping is having an impact," Owner Ron Irwin said.

Most of Irwin's items are handmade by indigenous people from Thailand. He travels there frequently and personally knows the people who make his products.

"I keep making something new and I have developed a customer base who want something unique and new," he said.

He admits sales were tough to come by at the start, but he's managed to keep a personal relationship with his customers.

"If I completely listen and only react to what I'm seeing around me and on the news, I get depressed and I feel like I should just give up, I'm very fortunate, most of the people who shop here have very positive thinking," he said. "Everybody has a choice right now, what to do with their money, either not use it or go out and spend and they want to get more for their money."

Irwin says the name of his store came from the word, indigenous. That's because most of the items he sells there are made by indigenous people.