Small Kona company lands big national customer Howard Products
A SMALL Kailua-Kona company is now handling national sales and marketing for Howard Products Inc.
's "Howard Naturals" line of vegetable-based home cleaning products.
Avatar Marketing Inc. was established in Hawaii two years ago by Ann Driggs and Janet Schwartz. The company has two additional employees, one of them based in Las Vegas.
So how did such a small local company get national sales and marketing business from a 35-year-old home-and-furniture-care product maker?
The partners have a 24-year track record in sales and marketing of natural foods and other products, Schwartz said.
"Our main focus is building sales -- getting it on the shelf and getting it off the shelf," Schwartz said.
"We're going into Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware -- all over." Howard Naturals is also going into natural food stores Avatar works with, which Schwartz hopes will include some in Hawaii.
Driggs and Schwartz decided to move to Hawaii two years ago because "We'd been coming here for 10 years -- to this island -- and we just chose this island because it's the most spiritual and we needed a change," she said. With phone, fax and e-mail the partners knew they could do business from the Big Island. "There's always a plane to the mainland, but we like to stay here most of the time."
"Health and well-being," Schwartz said.
This is sort of an outgrowth of the businesses among their client base, which includes a natural foods line from Kellogg's, herbal teas and Mangoxan, a mangosteen product.
No local companies have signed on with Avatar, although their paths crossed briefly at the Natural Products Show Expo West earlier this year.
"Unfortunately I only got to see one lady, and the rest of the time we were so busy, walking the floor and taking care of our clients -- but we're always interested in Hawaii companies, absolutely," she said.
Avatar is in business to "increase sales for people who've been in the business or we'll help people new to the industry," Schwartz said.
"There may be a little company out there only making $30,000 to $40,000 to $50,000 a year and want to take it to the next level, that's when you hire Avatar."
Diners ono for their favorite dishes at Like Like Drive Inn Restaurant have only one more day to wait. The restaurant's remodeling apparently complete, its phone is answered with a recorded greeting, "Aloha! Like Like Drive Inn is happy to announce that we are reopening this Saturday morning, April 22 at 7 a.m. We look forward to seeing you."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org