When You Can’t Capsulate, Innovate!

One of the major hazards confronting companies based in Hawaii is location. If you need something, and no one else on the island has it, it can take weeks to get it shipped in— weeks that can result in lost sales and business opportunities. Luckily, if you have been around for a while and have a loyal (and local) customer base, they’ll understand. Local customers will wait. But for a company just starting to make a name for itself, with customers around the world, not having the necessary items to fill orders can be disastrous. The Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative found itself without a necessary item when their new encapsulating machine was detained in Honolulu (learn more about it here).

Ordering a new machine was not an option, since one would have to assume that if Customs and the DEA had detained the first machine, a second one would be detained as well. Putting the company in the precarious position of not being able to fill orders. Once the current inventory of their Sp02 and Foundation products are exhausted, they will not have the means to produce more (at least not to Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative’s high standards).

Luckily (thank God for silver linings) there are alternative ways to package and sell their main product: 100% pure noni powder. “We recently had a new customer ask for 1-kilo bags of our pure noni product,” Don Gleason (Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative’s CEO) said. “It’s a retail business on Oahu. They sell the Hawaii grown noni powder to tourists. The timing could not have been better. With no way to encapsulate, putting the noni powder into foil bags was a win-win for us and our client.”

Don, in a matter of days, had procured some stand-up foil pouches, had labels designed and printed and had begun producing 1 pound and 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) bags for sale.

Don took this opportunity to show me one of the 1 pound bags. What he showed me was not at all what I was expecting. Having grown up in the 70s, my mental image of a “baggie” was quite different from the gold foil stand-up bag he held in his hand. With my brain still wrestling to remove the mental image of a “baggie” from my conscious, all I could manage to say was, “Nice.”

Don went on to say that the 1 pound bags of pure noni powder were selling better than expected and that a shipment of the 1 kilo bags would soon be on their way to Oahu. “We also just made a deal with a local retailer to carry both Sp02 and Foundation. But that means, the last of our inventory will be going to them. So for now—until we get our new encapsulating machine—pure noni powder will be our focus. It has to be.”

When I asked Don how people could get the noni powder, he said that they planned to have it available on their website by the middle of the month.

Uncle Herb, who has had to navigate through more than his fair share of government red tape over the years, took the conversation back to the things that matter. “Noni is loaded with antioxidants and is a superior immunity-booster. It improves the function of white blood cells in the immune system.”

On that positive note—Uncle’s reminder as to what Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative is all about—I saw my time was up. I had hoped to learn more about the corner of the warehouse that had been turned into a training facility, but everyone at the Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative had more urgent matters on their minds, which is understandable.

Oh, and by the way, their encapsulating machine is still being detained in Honolulu with no release date in sight. Seems it is now in the hands of yet another government office.

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/ Talk Story