Getting Creative With Cookies

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - May 31, 2006
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Tushar and Ana Dubey make a delivery on their ‘cupcakemobile’
Tushar and Ana Dubey make a delivery on
their ‘cupcakemobile’

The aroma of cookies fresh from the oven beckons customers to peer inside the Hokulani Bake Shop at Restaurant Row, where they can watch the sweet treats being decorated by hand. The cookies come in a variety of shapes including turtles, butterflies, hula dancers, flowers, aloha shirts, surf shorts, and high-heeled shoes.

Husband-and-wife team Tushar and Ana Dubey own the 450-square-foot shop, which produces about 200 cookies a day.

The Aina Haina couple notes that parents enjoy bringing their children into the shop to watch the decorators add their final artistic touches to the brightly colored, high-end cookies.

“It’s very creative,” says Tushar. Custom cookies can be created to include company logos. One client ordered a set of 25 cookies shaped like report cards complete with teachers’ names, and grades for kindness, fun and smiles. Patrons also order the cookies for weddings, baby showers and retirement parties.

“Tushar has the ambition and the vision,” Ana says enthusiastically, “and I pay attention to the details.”

She handles the production and human resources as the boutique’s general manager, overseeing four part-time employees. She previously worked as a sales executive for Time Warner in Colombia.

Tushar, an Iolani grad, does the marketing and public relations, negotiating with the vendors and suppliers, and administrative work. He got his idea for the shop when he lived in Manhattan. After noticing boutiques that specialized in one item, he started out to specialize in cookies in Hawaii. But the couple quickly adjusted their business plan to include more products, as they learned that offering a single product wasn’t working for them. To attract more business, they created cupcakes that come with free delivery to the downtown area on their two-wheeled “cupcakemobile”: a bicycle. They’ve also decided to sell bags of chocolate-dipped cookies. Birthday cookie- and cup-cake-decorating parties are also part of the company’s variety of products and services, and they hope to add brownies to the shop’s inventory in the future.

They opened up shop five months ago as Good Kine Cookie Company, but recently changed the name to Hokulani Bake Shop, in part to represent its upscale products. They opened a kiosk at Ala Moana during the Christmas holiday to help spread the word about the shop’s Restaurant Row location.

One of the challenges the new entrepreneurs have faced is forecasting the demand for their products. On Valentine’s Day, for example, they sold out very quickly, so learning from that experience they were more prepared for the next holiday. They’ve observed that if the holiday is on a weekday, their store does much better because people generally do things at the last minute.

Once a month they donate their product and two hours of their own and their employees’time to community service. And the bake shop recently conducted a cookie decorating party at Kapiolani Hospital.

Hokulani Bake Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 1-6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 587-7098.

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