Introducing: House of Mana Up
Aloha Waiakea ʻohana!
At House of Mana Up, we share some of Hawaii's best-kept secrets.
From ocean-safe sunscreens, Kalo (taro) bars to espresso bites, our online store hosts products made by local Hawaii visionaries with inspiring origin stories.
Our entrepreneurs headquartered across the islands create products that span various collections from beauty, fashion, home goods, and art. Our catalog includes Little Hands Hawaii’s made-in-Honolulu mineral sunscreen, Ao Organics’s tanning oil that is bottled on Big Island, and Vitalitea’s kombucha that is brewed on Maui.
Behind the House of Mana Up, our e-commerce and brick-and-mortar store, is our accelerator of the same name, where we mentor Hawaii-based companies through a 6-month program.
In 2017, Brittany Heyd and I teamed up to form the accelerator. We wanted to create a way to help our Hawaii businesses succeed—our goal was to not only help local entrepreneurs sell their products on a global stage but also to create meaningful job opportunities for the next generation.
We've seen the success of other brands making hundreds of millions of dollars with products utilizing the Hawaii brand but with no actual connection to Hawaii. To us, it’s a data point showing that Hawaii is much bigger and stronger than the confines of our island as a global brand.
Brittany and I are convinced consumers’ building curiosity for the story behind a business combined with the growth in online spending has created an opportune time for our Hawaii entrepreneurs to thrive.
People are curious now. Consumers are asking fundamental questions about a brand’s story and founder: ‘Who is this person?’ ‘Where are they from?’ ‘What is their mission?’ The neat part about that is our entrepreneurs have compelling answers to all of those questions— they all have a great story. They are authentically here in Hawaii. There is this great confluence of all of these things coming together.
We currently have 51 companies in our Mana Up ohana—41 alumni and 10 more in our current cohort.
One of our mission-driven innovators is Big Island Coffee Roasters. Along with Hawaii-grown coffee, the company produces Espresso Bites. Their espresso bars look and taste like chocolate, but contain no chocolate at all.
Their coffee bar with four espresso shots is a brand new product never seen before in the world. They are taking the cachet of Hawaii coffee and creating a whole new product.
Another member of our Mana Up family is Voyaging Foods, a company that develops gluten-free baked goods and dry mixes from Hawaii-grown heritage canoe plants such as Kalo, 'Uala and 'Ulu. Founder Brynn Foster is building on her businesses by creating solar dehydrators to turn her Hawaii-grown 'Ulu and Kalo into a nonperishable format and is doing so in a sustainable way.
Here at Mana Up, we are hoping to support sustainable tourism by integrating visitors with these local companies.
We look at this more as regenerative, a way to make tourism less extractive.
When visitors buy from our companies they are investing in Hawaii’s economic future—supporting Hawaii businesses and helping to build a program that is fostering future entrepreneurs.
Brittany and I are driven to make a positive impact and the companies in our cohorts create products that are designed to better our island community and the world.
Through the House of Mana Up, we hope to share the brand and the stories of Hawaii with all of our neighbors, our new friends who visit the islands, and those who miss the islands’ shores.
Meli, Brittany, and the rest of the House of Mana Up team