By Catherine Cluett Pactol
Tylor Tanaka has worked almost every job on the block – cashier, Macy’s sales representative, Hawaiian Airlines Lanai station manager, preschool educator, administrative assistant, State laborer and maintenance technician, bartender, auto parts store manager, County small business specialist and others. Now, the 2008 Molokai High alum has launched his own brand and opened a shop that offers both online and storefront sales to local entrepreneurs.
The Buji-fied Store is now open at Lanikeha Center in Ho’olehua. Though he didn’t plan to open a storefront, Tanaka said his expanding business, which started as a school assignment in January of this year, outgrew its original model.
“I’m always interested in learning. I took a class called Entrepreneur 101 with Harvard Business School online and one of the first assignments was we had to start a small business,” he said. “We had to research our market, do something that someone isn’t already doing in your area… One of my first products was these dry bags… no one sells them that I could find so I brought them in and they sold like that… it took off.”
Tanaka launched his own clothing line of surf shorts featuring Molokai sunsets, and brought in other local clothing brands, gifts, toys and more. Merchandise overtook his home and became too cumbersome for pop-up sales. Searching for an office space, he settled on Lanikeha under a temporary agreement with the Molokai Homestead Farmers Alliance that currently extends to February.
The business name comes from “Buji,” Tanaka’s nickname since childhood.
“Buji-fied pretty much means that you came to me looking for some product out of the ordinary, you couldn’t find anywhere, and it satisfied you, ‘Wow, this is cool.” You’ve been buji-fied,” he laughed.
Shop online at bujified.com or at the store, open Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more on Tanaka, look for a feature in the new year.