COURTESY LANIKAI BEACH
The Lanikai Beach shop is designed to reflect a relaxing beach atmosphere.
Lanikai Beach: Hooked on a feeling
AFTER MAKING a career of helping clients develop brands, advertising and marketing strategies, it occurred to Brook Gramann and Gloria Garvey of the Brand Strategy Group that they might duplicate that kind of success for themselves.
They'd already noticed the way their peers were shopping for little luxuries such as manicures, pedicures, massages and aromatherapy products. Approaching the product development project as if they were their own clients, the two women, with Garvey's son Ian, developed a line of locally made bath and body products inspired by Lanikai Beach.
"It was a real opportunity to create a brand made in Hawaii completely, and we wanted to do that," Garvey said. "So many products on the shelves say 'Hawaii,' but they're not really made here.
They turned to Denise David of Maui to create the products -- body washes, scrubs, bath salts, body butter, lip balms, shampoos and conditioners and herbal skin salves -- with 15 different lines and 18 scents.
For men there is Pohaku, a body-care line featuring the scent of sandalwood. Lanikai Girl has the fragrance of "warm vanilla sugar and pure pearberry," designed for teens but already a hit with all ages.
Products are formulated from botanical extracts such as papaya, Pacific sea kelp and calendula and natural oils including macadamia and kukui nut, jojoba, avocado and vitamin E, plus essential oils, shea and cocoa butters, and Hawaiian sea salt. Prices range from $5 for a bar of handmade soap, up to about $32.
AT THIS POINT, most clients would be happy enough to have a product to show, but the trio didn't stop there. Their plan required their own storefront in the heart of Kailua.
"We could have gone into other stores, except if we did that, other people would control the display of our brand," Garvey said.
"We knew we wanted to re-create the feeling of Lanikai beach, and people really respond to that. Everyone says, 'This is so calm and relaxing,' and that's very important to us.
"We've kept our scents subtle, unlike some products that have overpowering scents. You can walk in our store, and if you have allergies it won't bother you. People tell us the store smells wonderful."
The boutique is not limited to Lanikai Bath & Body products. About 40 percent of what is carried comprises gift and household items imported from elsewhere, including items geared toward the family dog, plus manicure and pedicure products, and even lines that might be considered the competition, such as Vitry and Oils of Aloha skin lotions and creams.
THE PARTNERS see the holiday season as another opportunity for a firsthand case study.
"We have no idea what's going to happen," Garvey said. "We know what people like now, but we're wondering if their picks are going to change if they're buying for someone else versus buying for themselves."
She's certain they have enough stock to carry them through, but they're prepared to adjust as manufacturing and retailing reality take the place of theory.
If they've made any mistakes along the way, Garvey said it would have been regarding matters outside their area of expertise, such as understanding the speed at which building contractors do or do not work.
Otherwise, if she had to start a business from scratch again, she's certain of one thing: "Yes, we would highly recommend the Brand Strategy Group!"
Lanikai Bath and Body is in the Davis Building at the entrance to Kailua, at 767 Kailua Road. Call 262-3260.