Molokai in Business: Something for Everybody
By Jeannine Rossa
What: Something for Everybody, an upscale, second-hand clothing store.
Who: Wailani Tanaka
When: Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 pm and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Upstairs above American Savings Bank
How: 808-553-8149 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Answer: I own and operate the store Something for Everybody selling clothes, footwear, and accessories for men, women and teens in all sizes and styles. I also carry household goods and made on Molokai items such as jewelry, music, T-shirts, hats and accessories. We have been in business for a little over a year.
Q: What training or education did you need?
A: “I don’t have a college degree,” confesses Wailani, a Mana`e girl from Honouliwai, the daughter of Eddie and Vina Tanaka. “I went to Kamehameha Schools, then UH for a couple of years. I was dancing in Hula shows at night and the company I worked for opened another boat in Maui so I decided to take the infamous ‘semester off’ from college.”
When she wasn’t performing, Wailani was doing business paperwork and on-island marketing. “I liked the per diem and paycheck and I never went back!” She then moved to San Diego and worked for Kaiser Human Resources then moved back to Molokai as the events coordinator for Molokai Ranch and most recently for The Westin Maui in Sales/Marketing/Public Relations.
Q: How did you launch your business?
A: “Ever since I went away to board for high school, my dream was to move back successfully,” explains Wailani. She and her fiancé, Dave, moved to Molokai in 2007 with the idea they would start a lunch wagon. They quickly learned that they couldn‘t work full-time and start a business. When the Ranch closed in 2008, they moved back to Maui to work, but stayed focused on their Molokai business dream. On the weekends, they mapped out garage sales hunting for anything they could potentially use.
When they bought their first home on Molokai in 2011, they shipped everything over and decided to fill the rest of the shipping container with other used household goods to resell. “Every weekend, we would come home to work on our house and while doing that we would run Garage Sales!” She continued to work full-time on Maui and when a consignment store owned by a friend offered to sell them overstock, they jumped at that opportunity to add clothing to their garage sales. It was then they realized the business opportunity and need of those items on Molokai and Something for Everybody was born with the concept of clothes, household decor and more.
Q: What’s your advice for someone who wants to start a business on Molokai?
A: “Number one, take Aunty Ku`ulei’s business class [at MEO],” advises Wailani. “I opened up in August and didn’t take the class until December. I would have saved so much time! Before I opened, I had to go here and there and get all the right paperwork. The class has everything in a big, fat, textbook… and it’s free! Number two, look carefully for your space. I love my space because the utilities are paid.”
Wailani also explains that she would not try to start a business if she couldn’t dedicate100 percent of her time to it. Her advice: “You gotta plan!”
Final words? “Partnerships and cross promotions help you!!” affirms Wailani. “As with
everything, we are stronger working together.”
To suggest a business for this column, contact Jeannine Rossa at 808-567-6467 or