The Sweet Smell Of Going Poof
Jamee Kunichika and Sherilyn Luke’s motto says it all: “Changing the way you do your business, one drop at a time.”
Their product is Poof - put a few drops of Poof in the toilet and it seals the odor in the water while releasing a pleasant Japanese mint scent.
“It’s such a sensitive issue to some people,” says Luke. “It’s funny the conversations that get started because of it.”
One person wished he had it when he went to his future in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner, and the food didn’t settle right in his stomach. Another customer desperately needed some because she was going on a trip with several people, and they were going to be sharing a hotel room.
Their product is different than a similar product on the market. It is packaged differently, has a different odor and is targeted to an upscale customer.
“Trade shows are the best way for us to get our product out there,” Luke reveals. “It’s also amazing what blogs can do.”
The partners noted that one marketing method that did not work out was a mass mailing with samples, which resulted in one response out of 300. The product, which has been featured in a couple of national publications, is presently available in catalogs, 15 stores across the nation, Salon Nanea (320 Ward Ave. Suite 220 in Honolulu), and online.
Kunichika, a Moanalua High School alum, and Luke, a Mililani High School graduate, were roommates during a one-year college exchange program in California. They spent lots of time dreaming up business ideas.
Finally, a couple of years ago, they found the right one. There was a product from Japan which they thought they could improve upon. So, after a year of research and development, they came up with “cuter” packaging and a different scent. They named their company Kstreet LLC - as they had lived together on Kinzie Street in California - and launched the product in Hawaii in November 2006.
Luke, a Mililani resident, put her Sherilyn Kusuda photography business, which she started in 2005, on hold to concentrate on their new venture. Together they fill orders and take care of the accounting and marketing.
Kunichika maintains her day job as an executive development coordinator with the University of Hawaii Foundation, and Luke continues her work as an associate for Booz Allen Hamilton.
“The bigger we get, the more organized we need to be,” admits Luke. “The challenge is to find that balance. Jamee and I both have day jobs. I just had a baby in September, and Jamee takes care of her parents. Jamee and I try to meet weekly, even if it is only a phone call.”
Luke says people urged them to think twice about going into business with a friend. But, she says, the relationship has worked out great.
“We always have to be on the same page,” Luke explains. “It’s good we are close friends because we are willing to pull this together. We always have each other to keep each other going.”
Kunichika and Luke gush with gratitude for their friends and family who have been supportive. Luke thanks especially her husband, Kylie, who travels to the trade shows, and their 4-month-old son Camden.
Kunichika acknowledges the encouragement of her parents, Miles and Priscilla.
Future plans for the friends in business include securing larger accounts and creating more scents.
For more information, call 838-1403 or log onto www.poofdrops.com
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