We have the pleasure of getting social with the co-creators of Humble Hilo today! One of the first things we noticed about these entrepreneurs is that they are just that: humble. Their company spurred from their travels over the past nine years to South America. These two are filled with inspiring stories & beautiful insight into the lives of the Guatemalan women they work with, demonstrating that their business is much more than just a business–it's their passion. Today, we learn a bit about the philanthropic nature of their brand and contrast that with questions about their newest journey as co-owners of a wildly popular apparel company. Their hearts are fully invested in bringing high-quality, high-style pieces while creating change. Find out how they got their business off the ground & how they are making a difference–on bag at a time!
We’d love to hear more about Humble Hilo. What does your company specialize in & what is your motto or mantra?
We’d like to think we specialize in humanity-our products currently, are a variety of handmade Guatemalan products that serve two main purposes: 1. Provide employment to Guatemalan families that we have carefully selected and support. 2. The sale of each item goes toward one of three projects we are passionate about: Nutrition, Education for women and Micro-finance for women. We believe in the empowerment of women from birth into adulthood. You can read in more detail about each project on our website humblehilo.com. Our slogan is, “creating a common thread.” Our goal is to empower and unite all women, all over the world-Humble Hilo is our small part to show the world that it can be done.
How did you get started & when did you know this was what you wanted to make your career out of?
It really was a perfect storm. Lauren has been working in Guatemala for the NGO World Link Partners for more than 7 years, trying to raise awareness and created opportunities for impoverished families living in rural Guatemala. Erica, who has a Bachelor’s in Public Health, saw one of her Guatemalan bags from her trip and realized that there was a huge opportunity to create a business that both sold an incredible, unique product and helped a community/culture in need. It came together so quickly that it was really meant to be.
What are you most inspired by in your company?
Definitely the people we work with. The people in Guatemala, our customers, companies we get to collaborate with. There are so many wonderful and inspiring people in this world and we are so grateful to be able to rub shoulders with them.
In a creative field that is booming, how do you set yourself apart?
Authenticity. I truly believe our passion for helping these wonderful people sets us apart. We try to be as transparent as possible with all our customers. We want them to be on this mission with us, throughout all aspects. Products will come and go, but we want people to feel like they are part of Humble Hilo. All brands that have withstood the test of time is because they told a story and invited people to be part of it-we want to do the same.
What means the most about running Humble Hilo? What has surprised you most about owning Humble Hilo?
How good people truly are-I think that continues to shock us. When you start a company, it’s similar to having to raising a child, you put so much time and effort into it and then you feel so vulnerable, hoping the world sees it the way you see it. Our customers have helped us realize that the majority of people are still good-it has been amazing.
How do you get the word out about your company? What’s your favorite social media network and why?
Instagram-it has allowed us to truly talk to our customers and show them who we are and what we are doing. We get to respond in real time; ask them questions, receive feedback-it is such an incredible tool. We’re learning ourselves as well, and have been shocked to see the support on Pinterest, Facebook, etc.
If you could give other entrepreneurs one tip of advice, what would it be?
We wish we could add more to the large book of clichés that have been written, but they are all so true: Just do it! Stay honest, be authentic, work hard, be kind.
What exciting things does Humble Hilo have in store for us in 2015?
We will be working on an exciting new product that is a slight departure from our core product, but we think/hope our customers will LOVE it. That being said, I think there will be exciting opportunities that we don’t even know yet!