Maui start-up based on faith and fitness lands $25,000 grant for best business plan
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui’s Landa Ampong says being furloughed from her human resources job when the pandemic hit opened her eyes to new opportunities.
“It was definitely a blessing in disguise,” she said.
With time on their hands, the Lahaina woman and her husband started exercising more.
“We were also growing in our faith and maturing, so we wanted to wear loud and bold faith-based apparel but we couldn’t really find any,” she said. “That’s when God showed the need there and then.”
Ampong began designing her own workout clothes ― shirts, shorts and sweats emblazoned with Bible verses and positive messages. Then she took a bigger leap of faith.
“In March, we did beta tests and we exclusively pre-sold to people on our email list, which we call our ‘faithfuls,’ just to see if there was even a need,” she said.
Making sales encouraged Ampong that she was onto something.
She created a company called God’s Lanes and enrolled in a business course at the Maui Economic Opportunity Business Development Center.
Early this month, BDC’s director David Daly announced that Ampong won the organization’s contest for small business start-ups. A panel named her business plan as the best from among 30 submissions.
Ampong was stunned.
“I honestly didn’t think I would win. I really didn’t think so,” she said.
Daly said judges were impressed with her attention to detail.
“Her plan was spot on all the way through. Everything was very detailed, very thought out. It allowed the reader and our judges to believe in that business,” he said.
The grant money will help Ampong grow her new company .
“We’re planning to upgrade some of our equipment and create more storage space so we can hold all the future inventory,” she said.
It took more than a year to get her business off the ground and it’s still a work in progress.
“We’re learning who our target audience is and it’s all different, men, women, older, younger people that are really into working out, and people that aren’t,” she said.
The pandemic forced Ampong to get creative. She says her faith in God did the rest.
“We really wanted to encourage people with our clothing and our brand to move with Him. That’s our slogan. Move with Him in everything you do,” she said.
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