Onlookers are impressed. “It was a huge wow event,” says Elizabeth Hosking, in the audience.
“What stands out for me is the creativity and flair of our young entrepreneurial Cook Islands lady bosses, being bold and brave in bringing their dreams to reality.”
All 90 tickets for the show had sold out. People walk in off the street, asking for more tickets.
Afterwards, as the show finishes, organiser Ana File is still buzzing. She’d like to stay for a drink with the young entrepreneurs who’ve shown their wares – but she has to go home and relieve the babysitter.
“The intention was brand exposure for these six amazing women, to make them more known to the audience, friends and social media,” says the young businesswoman.
The brief required each brand to show it was environmentally conscious of the oceans and climate change.
File, a champion of women in business, is delighted with the “very well-received” evening.
In business for four years, she understands the need for more exposure on products.
“The evening was about embracing our women and their brands; an event the public can appreciate and be aware of our women in business, to give our women a platform to push and talk about their products.”
File is excited by the positive support from people: “No one said no, everyone offered to help out where they could, that’s the great thing about us, supporting each other.”
Agnes Parker Teiti, the owner of new business Cadeau, heard of the event and offered to create all 90 gift boxes for each guest on the evening.
Le Bon Vivant (LBV) provided the venue and meals; the Business Trade Invest Board jumped on to assist, as did the Business & Professional Women’s Association.
“We are here, if you can buy locally, buy it locally,” says File.
Some companies have directors. But Temanava Terito Macquarie designignated herself a “Mermaid” when she filled in the forms to register her business. She was inspired by Moana Nui O Kiva to create her brand Laylo, a surf/street apparel brand with island style. Also inspired by voyaging, she wants to create a brand that one day can be successful enough to create charitable foundation to give back to the oceans.
LuSantials was born out of a beautiful friendship and has slowly grown to take its place in the hearts of customers, says founder Sandrina Thondoo. Its signature bi-colored clutch is now paired with a handbag, a practical and pretty accessory to bring the vibrant Cook Islands touch to your day. Upcycling offcuts is key, making each product unique.
Maeva started with a gentle shove from the universe for Gillian Evans. After attending a jewellery course in March that she wasn’t keen on, she stumbled upon a secret passion. “I love our black pearls however most items I see don't particularly suit my lifestyle and apparently I'm not the only one with this view.” So in April, Maeva opened for business selling key rings, kimonos, cushions and jewellery at the Punanga Nui market.
Vatea was established in 2017 by Talissa Koteka and Alanna Smith. The women have a passion for adventure and a love for the ocean and the environment. These values brought about a range of uni-sex suited clothing; singlets, muscle tanks, t-shirts, jumpers and long sleeve tees, caps and children’s clothes.
Founded by husband and wife duo Ana File and Damien Heather, the clothing and accessories brand is designed to tell an urban Pacific story. Only fair trade factories are used when outsourcing garments, and the company is working on a new range with recycled plastic. “Living in the Pacific it is easy to see the impact on the environment that waste has,” says File. “Our ultimate goals are to clean up the Pacific by using plastic that has been brought into our islands and turning this into fabulous, comfortable fashion … one plastic bottle at a time.”
A high quality Cook Islands swimwear brand offering bright, bold prints coupled with sexy, flirty silhouettes, founded and designed by Miss Cook Islands 2018 Reihana Koteka-Wiki. “There is no greater feeling than to create something that can make other women feel sexy, confident and beautiful. That is what motivates me and what inspires this brand,” says Koteka-Wiki. “Liliko’i Bikini is a celebration of women, their bodies and everything that makes them goddesses.”