The Launch of Oba and Co.

The Launch of Oba and Co.

My niece was born in early 2021 and I wanted to be the cool aunty that makes fun clothes for her. My first onesie for her was an iron on of a bao. I enjoyed the process so much and my family said to me, "why don't you just open up a business and sell onesies?" I thought it wasn't doable and it seemed way too hard of a task to handle. However, after receiving a ton of feedback and support, I took it one day and task at a time and Oba and Co. finally launched in August 2021! It is funny because the hardest part was coming up with a name to call my business. Fast forward to my first market....

There is something nerve-racking about putting yourself out there to be critiqued on products you have created. Spending endless hours perfecting that one line or starting from scratch on a design that you spent hours beforehand trying to piece together to only hope that customers out there will love what you make. I had a ton of anxiety and worry, yet feelings of excitement when first starting up Oba and Co. 

These are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind, “What if I fail?”, “Who will buy from me other than my friends?”, “I don’t have many friends with kids though?”, “What if people don’t think I am personable enough at markets?”, “I don’t want to let people down that believe in me”, “I am going to be investing so much into this, I hope I can make my money back”, “How am I going to set up my displays at these market pop-ups?”.

It is easy to fill your head with the negatives, because I feel like we are our worst critic, but there were a few good moments of positive thoughts like: “Aw, this one is really cute!”, “Yes, a successful trial and error!”, “This is really exciting!”, “I am having a lot of fun creating so many designs and prints”. 

Despite having those million thoughts constantly in the back of my head, I kept and keep pushing through. My first market that I did at the Lokahi Kailua Market was in November 2021, shortly after I officially created Oba and Co. and I shared a booth with my friend who so kindly helped me in this process of creating my own business. (Shoutout to her business: If you want really amazing ceramics, check out Norae Ceramics and you will not regret it! :) It was right around the holiday season and I was so nervous. I was nervous because of COVID and having to interact with a bunch of strangers, but also nervous thinking that I might go there and not sell a single item. I tried my best to advertise on social media and had some friends and family reposting it as well. (Honestly, social media is really difficult for me to keep up with. I struggle with getting the best picture to display my products and keeping up with the latest trends).

The day comes and I wake up really early and pick up my sister who volunteered to help me. The other vendors around me made it such a nice and warm feeling to be there so it helped ease some initial nerves I had. Once the market opened, the nerves came back. I had a bunch of my family and friends come out to support me and be my first customers, which honestly brought tears to my eyes feeling all the love. As much as I loved my family and friends’ support, the best feeling was having my first stranger transaction. I turned to my sister after that happened and said “wow, that was my first stranger transaction!” And I had all the feels. I had a few more strangers come by and comment how cute everything was. I know that I need to be satisfied with the products I produce, and I do, but getting customer validation also makes me feel validated.

This was the best start I could have imagined in starting a business and I cannot wait to see where it leads me in the upcoming years because I feel like this is just the beginning. Thank you for your endless support and love through this process! I appreciate you all and stay tuned for more!