A Divine ‘Kaua‘i Zenâ€™ StyleMichael and Sonja Mcginnis
Owners of Divine Planet
Please tell us about your business. Divine Planet sells everything from jewelry and women’s clothing to home dÃ©cor, crafting materials and gift items it’s a pretty wide gamut. The style is “Kaua’i Zen.” We focus on products that have some sort of significance, whether it’s a warm-andfuzzy feeling or whether it’s a spiritual significance. We carry a lot of Buddhistthemed products and Eastern religion-themed products it’s what appeals to people at the moment. People are into yoga and selfimprovement, so we have what appeals to that. The business opened in Kapa’a in 2004 and our location in Hanalei opened in 2007. Our other store in Hanalei is called Aloha from Hanalei. The theme of that store is Kaua’i-made and tropicalthemed products. We focus as much as we can on locally made products. We also carry items from Bali, Thailand and India that have the Kaua’i feel to them. A big focus out there is also on vintage Hawaiian shirts. That’s actually my passion, vintage Hawaiian shirts.
What is the difference between the two stores? The store in Hanalei has much higher traffic, but the sales are very similar in terms of dollar value. We focus a lot more on the visitor in Hanalei and tend to carry products that sell repeatedly, whereas in Kapa’a, since there are so many more locals, we tend to have more turnover, always bringing in new products and always trying to rearrange things and make them more exciting.
in this business? I moved to O’ahu in 1979 and in the mid-1980s graduated from the University of Hawai’i and majored in international business. I was a clothing sales rep for lines like Hawaiian Island Creations. I always had this idea that I wanted to be my own boss. I started selling silver jewelry from New Mexico, and by 1993 I started a wholesale silver jewelry business importing from India. We started online in 1996, and by 2000 we were doing big numbers. Around that time, we started talking about having kids and getting out of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, so we transported the Internet business to here and started selling things other than silver jewelry, like clothing and home dÃ©cor. The natural extension was to open a retail store.
What is your top seller?
Our top sellers are the bamboo clothing. It’s really environmentally friendly with a low carbon footprint and super, super comfortable with really nice styles. The company we carry has a good eye toward design, so it’s not just some frumpy, stiff and scratchy piece.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your business? What I enjoy is when something sells, because when it sells, that means people like it. That means I found something that people are interested in and excited about and willing to spend their money on. It’s really different between being in some dusty market in India and buying something you think is going to sell and getting it home and having people go crazy for. That’s a really cool feeling.
How often do you travel and purchase products for your stores? We go to Bali once a year. I usually go to India about once a year. I go to Thailand about four times a year. It’s a lot of traveling. About every six weeks I’m on a trip.
What sets your business apart? We’re really willing to put in the effort abroad. A lot of places, if they do import, specialize in one place like Bali. In my quests, I’ve been to Vietnam, Laos and China.
What’s your favorite place to visit?
Bali. It’s a lot like here it has good surf. But it has the appeal of that exotic feel of a foreign country different language, different currency, dirt roads, stuff you don’t see in the United States.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? It’s the travel. I get really bad jet lag coming home it’s like three days of zombie life. Honestly, when I go on a trip, that’s where my focus always ends up: It’s going to hurt at the end.
What makes you get up every day and go to work? The idea that we’re going to make our business even better. When I’m flying, I always get ideas. Currently, the idea is to do a face lift and so we’re going to be, over the next couple of months, upgrading the stores, changing the look a little bit. We’ve always got a project.
4-831 Kuhio Hwy., Kapa’a, 821-1835; Ching Young Village Shopping Center, Hanalei, 826-8970.