Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iron Thread Launch Party

We were asked to cater the Iron Thread Launch Party last week at I F + D. Iron Thread is a furniture line specializing in handcrafted ottomans manufactured in the USA right here in Austin, Tx.  Sheri Bingham is the creative director and craftsman behind the super unique ottoman line and I think her collection is super stylish and well made. Please check out her website and see her collection at    I F + D.

Our hors d'œuvre and cocktail offerings for the evening consisted of a savory vegetable/beef picadillo empanada option with a spicy aji creole sauce that was paired with an orange-mango fiz vodka cocktail. We also offered a sweet option of a chocolate raspberry empanada with a lemon coconut cream sauce paired with our lemon-lime ginger/raspberry fiz vodka cocktail. 

Morgan Zator of Teal Design Studios donated the floral design for my presentation. Her work is really understated, simplistic beauty. She designed these lovely pots with succulents that just took my presentation to another level. Please seek her out and support her small business. Besides being a wonderful human being, she's a talented designer. Check her out and give this single mom some business!

I'm super thankful to my staff for the night who are my good friends, Lesli Sadler (founder of Upstairs mens boutique and Swerve Cafe) and Alan Burrows (Austin man-about-town). We look forward to the next event and continue to appreciate all your support.

The reception was fabulous and the turn out was really good. There were many people who's faces were new to me, which is good when you're a small business or artisan wanting to reach new people. And there were some familiar faces there as well. It was just a really pleasant night.

The music was a great addition to the ambiance. Adrian Quesada, Grammy nominated artist/producer of Grupo Fantasma, Brownout fame and Ocote Soul Sounds was on hand to dj some great music as was DJ Chicken George of the Swed.u.s.h Connection and Solar Grooves. Both artist are in high demand and are some of the top exports in music that Austin has to offer.  If you don't know who they are or haven't heard of them, you better get with the program!

Please look up the folks and venues who participated in this awesome launch for Iron Thread Design. These are quality folks producing some quality products and services. Always support and shop local when you can. Be sure to visit our website and sign our guestbook to get on our mailing list and to keep abreast of our happenings and events. See you at the trailer or at our next event!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Leap and a net will appear...

I attended the Women's Luncheon Thursday afternoon hosted by the Small Business Development Program (SBDP). I had gone to the BCL of Texas seeking advice and resources for my business and one of their business counselors suggested that I attend the luncheon.

The moderator for the luncheon interviewed two Austin women entrepreneurs about the challenges and successes of starting their businesses. One of the women, Sharon Mays, is the owner of Baby Greens, a small franchise of healthy fast-food style restaurants in town. I was familiar with her from an article that I had read about her in a local Austin business magazine.

I was interested in hearing up close the challenges she'd faced and to get some inspiration if nothing else. Some of the things she said really resonated with me. And I was surprised at how emotional I got listening to her talk about her experiences. She spoke of the customers who really supported her early on. The one lady who would come into her restaurant and buy five salads at a time so that she wouldn't close. I definitely could relate to that story. I have my die hard customer, Eve Richter who has made it her mission to help me survive my first year of business. And I am so thankful to her and others like her for the support. It means so much to know that anyone would care to take a personal interest in me and my business.

I related to everything Sharon Mays was saying. Working impossible hours and doing EVERYTHING, becoming more resourceful than you ever thought you could be. Feeling like giving up just from pure exhaustion but realizing you couldn't even if you tried. Sometimes I just don't want to spend one more second in this trailer. But then I remember why I'm doing it...

I really believe in my product. I really think what I'm selling and making and doing here is good and it matters. I just KNOW that when someone new comes and tastes my syrups and other creations, they will LOVE them. I just know it. This whole process is a leap of faith. Sharon said you have to be your own biggest cheerleader. You have to believe in yourself. And I really know what she meant when she said that. Believing in yourself and trusting that when you jump off that cliff you will land on your feet. I can't remember who said it, but someone in the meeting said, "Leap and a net will appear."  I like the sound of that and understand it fully.

Needless to say, the luncheon was a nice and well deserved break from the trailer. I opened later for having attended, but it was really worth it. It was good to talk with other women and hear about the kinds of businesses they were doing. I really was inspired and came away from the meeting with a renewed sense of purpose for my business.

I am preparing for the fall transition. I'm introducing some hot food and drink items to the menu for the changing weather; just rolling with the flow this Aloha is creating. I am hunkering down in my little pocket of Manor Rd and looking forward to sharing my love of food with as many people as I can this winter.

If you are thinking about starting your own business or trying something new, chasing a dream or taking some sort of leap of faith of your own- don't hesitate, believe in you and just do it!

Your net will also appear.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hola Aloha, Ya'll!

I started this blog because to have a decent marketing reach you have to have a presence on the web. Websites and email lists sometimes aren't enough. But when I think about what to post here I'm kind of at a loss. Should I talk about syrups? Should I talk about shave ice? Should I talk about myself, my business? It would seem like a no-brainer to answer these questions. But to center this blog around myself and my business seems a bit...well, self-centered.

Part of what has become increasingly important to me as I've gotten older is the intent and purpose behind my actions. I mean, the purpose for me to start my own business was to maintain some sense of personal freedom and to make lots of money. But perhaps the most important reason that has come to light since setting up shop, would be that with setting up a business in this east Austin neighborhood comes a strong desire for community.

I had a retail business for a time in Dallas. And comparing that experience with the one I am now having, you just can't beat the support of people who care about local business. The warm reception I have had on Manor Road has been awesome. So I want this blog and my trailer to be a place where my neighbors can commune, get to know one another and get a good, wholesome treat.

Now for a little bit of background on Hola Aloha®...

My business was founded by myself and my dear friend, Jeremy Bailey. Jeremy and I have been friends for about 10 years. Jeremy is a computer engineer and UT graduate who moved to Austin in 1986 from Hawaii. He was the financial backer and quiet partner, the "aloha" of Hola Aloha®. Jeremy has since traded his "partner" title for that of "loyal customer" and continues to support me and the business through our friendship and by eating lots of shave ice!

I, with a very diverse background, grew up steeped in the west Texas Latino culture. I am the "hola" in Hola Aloha®. I had a tia (aunt) that was an excellent cook and she used to share her recipes and love of cooking with me. I now infuse that heritage into my syrups.

I have lived in Austin since 1995, having left and found my way back several times since then. Prior to developing the Hola Aloha® concept, I worked as a small business consultant specializing in retail boutique concepts and operations. During the Presidential primary and general election I served as a state and national Credentials Committee member for the Democratic party and worked as a state field organizer for Obama for America during the Presidential general election. I was the founder and publisher of my own magazine called PUSH. I had a progressive sneaker boutique called Passport Exhibit Gallery (P.E.G) in Dallas. And I toured the United States with the Moscow Ballet as their wardrobe mistress. I feel like my sensibilities and love of food, fashion, and urban culture have blended perfectly into this venture that is Hola Aloha®.

I look forward to hearing from all of you who care to contribute to this blog. Come by my trailer and share your happenings with me and ingest a fresh treat made with lots of love and goodness!

Send submissions to holaaloha78702@gmail.com