Aloha. As the first entry, observing the Steemit community's growing pains over the last year and inspired by Defango's Understanding Digital Currency with Steemit.com presentation, one of the most informative talks on the mechanics of Steemit and digital currency concepts in general, we decided to join this community in April 2018. The intent is to start transferring over past, present and future content from our web domain to the Steemit blockchain to leave a permanent, unalterable record of important service, historical memories, in shop reviews information and related content in the event of a catastrophe that would compromise our domain or central host. It also made more sense to publish content here and open up to a larger base of eyes sharing similar interests who may want to read about us.
Critical Missions and Concepts
It is 10 years this September 2018 writing about Honua Therapy's humble beginnings. Honua Therapy started in late September 2008, as a response to witnessing many former coworkers at other spas being laid off due to the ripple affects of the Lehman 2007 to 2009 Events . The aftermath was devastating for many sectors here in Honolulu including tourism, much as the rest of the world. Contrary to popular news, to this day 10 years later, observing at the ground level, the local economy still feels like it is reeling and has not recovered to pre 2008 levels in terms of labor force and retail participation. Honua Therapy spawned seeing many friends and associates working as massage therapists and estheticians losing their livelihoods. Proactively, a way to be resilient by creating modest amounts of work for displaced therapists while getting back on their feet was the initial inspiration and motivation.
The vision was to take all the positive and negative first hand experiences over the years, from different establishment's technical capabilities, travelling to the distant homelands of various disciplines to perceive authentic versions of trade crafts in practice, actual work experience at various spas, taking into account a variety of relevant factors such as the treatment of their staff, minute details of customer service processes, adaptiveness etc. Coupling all the experiences assisted in creating a laid back, positive, relaxing work place conducive for therapists to stretch their imagination, creativity to solve the myriad of specific problems guests bring to our attention.
For the guests, we wished to offer a vibe mixed with Aloha, the hospitality and customer service of Japan "お持て成し" in addition to a private and quiet environment maximizing all our energies for specific one on one attention and care. The concept differs from traditional day and resort spas, as the entire studio is dedicated to each and every single, pair, and couple. Guests are serviced by appointment only. With return guests expressing their warm sentiments and desire for Honua Therapy to continue, we feel positive encouragement and inspiration to continue offering services at a reasonable cost within reach of the ordinary working person, for the improvement of their health, well being, and aid in recovery from stresses visitors from abroad shoulder.
History 100 Context
The impetus of writing about our history below in the context of relationships and rent/locations is that these two considerations have been the primary forces affecting us favorably and unfavorably from inception. Firstly we are not able to exist on our own. A deep gratitude is felt from the support of therapists, guests and the relationships with landlords, leaseholders, hotel management, staff, vendors and business partners providing the life blood to continue operating.
Secondly, observing at the date/time of this post, the rising costs of rent and spaces for lease over the last 10 years, has been our experience correlating with Asset Inflation stemming predominantly from two factors. Large capital flows pouring back into US equities, corporate debt, real estate etc., from International businesses and investments fleeing the Asia markets, Eurozone markets and emerging markets. The domestic shifting of US businesses, investments and net migrations out of unfavorable and unstable states such as Illinois, New Jersey, New York, California into Hawaii commercial leaseholds near tourist centers such as Waikiki and into even more competitive business states such as Texas and Florida. This type of inflation priced us and many local businesses relying on visitors from abroad out of finding a suitable and affordable location to work, without raising prices and passing on the burden of inflated costs to the end user and customer. The volatility of commercial leaseholds changing hands, and the constant fluctuating of tenant leases has been one of many difficult adversities for Honua Therapy testing the critical mission of keeping prices stable within reach of the ordinary working person. We are constantly reminded of what Martin Armstrong and his Socrates system indicated, regarding everyone and every nation truly interconnected in this world economy like a rain forest. That a set of events in motion occurring on the other side of the planet tend to stay in motion, creating an amplifying chain reaction domino effect globally. The feeling of humility ensues observing nations, policies, laws and regulations powerless to alter or change the direction of the world economy simply from their own country or state such as how Herbert Hoover clarified during the 1931 Austria sovereign debt collapse contagion.
In October 2008, Honua Therapy opened at the Waikiki Grand Hotel 2nd floor. The search for an adequate location was arduous being so green without any history. Nevertheless, a local landlord of one of the units of the Waikiki Grand Hotel granted a chance to operate at relatively low cost.
Operating was very difficult from the onset as guests were sparse, sporadic at best during the formative years of 2009 to 2011. The intention to create regular sustainable work from a startup was far from the reality of a newly formed small business. Days and weeks pass without a single request or booking for services. Every guest that graced their presence was actual work created of monumental importance. To this day we remember the guests and repeaters are one of the paramount reasons and purpose for our ability to stay alive and continue on. Although there were constant losses month after month barely hanging on, paying rent out of pocket, some traction was gained and reception of a few guests a week unfolded. Then the slow exhaustive increases, peaks and troughs in guests started to trickle through word of mouth, and positive reviews. If it were not for the timing of our entry into this sector during a period of decreasing retail, labor force participation, deflationary low rent, abundance of independent therapists and less competition, survivability may have been far more adverse. As rents started to inflate annually from 2010 onwards, the search for alternate locations commenced.
In February 2011, by sheer chance, the Queen Kapiolani Hotel located next to the Waikiki Grand Hotel, took notice of the positive reviews and nominated Honua Therapy to move into their location as an adjunct of the Hotel to provide therapy, relaxation base massage treatments and esthetics services to enhance their amenities offerings to lodging guests. It was quite an honor to join with a hotel of firm historic roots, and accepted their offer. We operated on their 3rd floor from February 2011 to September 11, 2015.
The hotel leaseholders initially were foreign investors. Their management and hotel staff were kind and very supportive, proactively assisting in promotions in and outside the hotel premises. Their support really made us feel as if we were an extension of them. The influx of guests from the hotel and guests passing by really assisted during this period to magnify the word of mouth and increase the amount of guests for the therapists to service. Our relations with the leaseholders started to grow as a family member of the investors started to book treatments during their visits from Seoul. Although rents continue to inflate during the 2011 thru 2015 period, the increase was within affordable limits.
Sadly in May of 2015 the Queen Kapiolani Hotel's leasehold was sold, assigned and transferred to a domestic lessor from out of state. In a span of a couple months, the lobby area tenants running their gift, coffee, ice cream shops and convenience stores started closing and vacating in June thru the beginning of September 2015 due to an upwards of 200% increase in rent, notice of future hotel renovations and temporary closures . Although we wished to stay to the end and tried to negotiate a lower lease, the result was unfruitful. The warm and supportive relations we grew accustomed to with the former leaseholders took a 180 degree turn with the new leaseholders from Chicago. Forced to decide on whether to increase prices of services drastically and burden guests, go out of business, or keep prices the same and scramble for another location, there was one choice. The latter was chosen. With the graces of another private landlord, they granted our ability to stay alive and continue at our present location at the Waikiki Banyan from September 15, 2015 to present.
Although saddened to part with the Queen Kapiolani staff and return guests from the hotel expressing their repeat visits as a necessary activity, we are still in close proximity just a few blocks away. Retention of a small fraction of guests that remember and grace us with their presence from Queen Kapiolani Hotel during their visits to Hawaii has been possible. We look forward to be granted a chance to be of service to you and all visitors.
Mahalo, For Your Love and Support