The Sweet Scent Of Plumeria Rain

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - August 31, 2005
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Zachary and Tina Ortogero prove that
mother-and-son teams make good scents

The mother-and-son team of Tina and Zachary Ortogero mix, melt, pour and label their line of Plumeria Rain hand sanitizers, salt scrubs and body creams from a 15-by-25-foot room in their Kailua home.

With lots of help from friends and family, they’ve started up a cottage industry.

Richard, Zach’s dad, helps deliver the finished products in his truck. Zach’s younger brother Matthew, Grandma Virginia, Aunt Renee, and family friend Barbra also get their hands in there and help out in producing their line of more than 50 fragrant products, which debuted in 2003.

The products, which are seen mostly at trade shows, have generated a great response, they acknowledge.

“All we have to do at our demo station is let them try it on their skin,” Tina says. “First they love how it feels on their skin, then they love the smell, then they want to know where they can get more.”

Tina says their hand sanitizer, which comes in fresh ginger lime, puakenikeni and lemon grass scents, is flying off the shelves faster than they can keep up with the demand. Another one of their popular sellers is exotic shea butter body creme in tuberose, which can be used before bed or after taking a shower. The but- ter body moisturizing salt scrub in pikake can be used in the shower to exfoliate dead skin, refresh and moisturize. Also the jojoba lotion spray in pikake is requested often.

The mother-and-son team explain how they accomplish things when it gets tough.

“Grit your teeth, and move on,” Mom says.

“Yes, we’re both quite stubborn,” the 24-year-old agrees.

Time management is one of their biggest challenges because they’re both quite active. Zachary’s first business, which the UH Lab School graduate started when he was 19, is helping others with computers - and he’s still doing it. He is in his last semester of classes majoring in e-business and information technology at Kapiolani Community College, where he’s used everything he’s learned in his newest venture. The oldest of three siblings, Zachary also teaches spin classes at a local gym. For the Plumeria Rain business, he handles the website, art for the labels, and the marketing.

Tina, who works as a paralegal and office manager, handles the administrative end along with the oversight of the recipes for the scented products.

The younger entrepreneur’s first idea for this business was a website that sold locally made crafts.

“I didn’t think I’d be making the merchandise myself,” he admits.

Zachary dragged his reluctant mom with him to a class to learn to make glycerin soaps. The pair had so much fun, they launched their bar soaps. When they decided to create more items, they expanded their line through trial and error. There are some new products they are thinking of producing, too.

Plumeria Rain has a few trade shows and craft fairs coming up.

For more information, call 391-4443, 721-2245, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); log onto

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