She Sells Seashells — And More

Chandra Beechly
Co-owner, Under the Sea

Please tell us about your business. We are a whimsical, fun novelty store with unique gifts. We sell products like jewelry, clothing, accessories, collectibles and local artwork. We have everything; there’s something for everybody here.

Why is it called Under the Sea? Cherise Hansson, who is the business’ founder, picked the name. She is a beach girl and loves the ocean. She also likes Under the Sea, The Little Mermaid song from the Disney classic, and it just suits who we are.

Why did she open the business? She opened the business many years ago to help pay for her college tuition. She fell in love with the business and finding cool items and creating something that people also love. It became so successful that she continued doing it.

How did you become involved? Cherise started the store in California, and I had worked for her for a couple of years and loved everything she always put in her stores. I knew I was moving here and I knew she wanted to start a business on Kauai. We found a location and just made it happen. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and it’s great to have such an amazing partner. I’m learning a lot and she’s a great mentor. We officially opened in September.

Why did you move to Kauai? A change of lifestyle. I have a 3-year-old, Finn Gallagher, and I thought it would be great for him to grow up somewhere that’s as beautiful as Kauai.

Why do you do what you do? I’ve been in retail my whole working life, for more than 15 years. It’s a great pleasure to bring customer service and sell items; it makes me feel good to be a part of people’s shopping experience, and helping them find things that they will love and have for as long as they want. I love people and helping them, and customer service is natural for me.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? We built it from the ground up. The building used to be a community bank and to see the transformation and all the goodies in there now is rewarding. People love it. And to bring something into the community that’s different that people can appreciate is rewarding.

What’s the most challenging aspect? Learning all the legal aspects of business and also promoting a business. Kauai is not a difficult place to promote something, but we are in the back of Koloa Town and it’s not as easy for people to find us.

What are some of your plans for the future? We are working one day at a time right now, but we plan to keep it fresh and new.

And, hopefully, we’ll be able to work it into the community more.

Why Koloa Town? We like that the location isn’t far from most residents, so that they can find the perfect gift for themselves or someone else. It’s also great to bring something new to the town, and I felt like the shop could really stand out there.

What sets your business apart from others? The unique items that we carry.

What is your favorite item that you carry? There’s nothing at our store that I don’t like. I take something home all the time. I feel that the customers that keep returning for the new items are just as excited as I am.

Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.