An online and mobile business that sells Pasifika-themed and created merchandise.
Many handicrafts from the South Pacific are not even sold online, I believe an e-commerce marketplace for Indigenous and Pasifika artisans will become a catalyst to creating new economic opportunities that will help Pasifika and Indigenous communities thrive.
I started an e-commerce business centered around selling Pasifika-themed attire to provide an income opportunity for my mother who is an immigrant from the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. My mother who very proudly and graciously works 6 days a week at a very physically laborious job is getting older in age, the older she gets the less sustainable her line of work becomes for her.
In my mother’s very limited spare time she loves to volunteer with the ladies from her church group, they often gather to make various handicrafts, beautiful handwoven fans, intricate cultural floor mats handmade by pounding tree bark, they create beautiful indigenous works of art for weddings, funerals, birthday’s and graduations. What they aren’t able to create themselves due to lack of material from their island, they often reach out to family members overseas and commission them to either make the items or acquire the raw materials so that they can create it themselves.
In this, I saw a potential economic initiative to not only help my mother and women like her in the US, but also indigenous artisans from back in Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and all over the South Pacific as well. In the Pacific, very few artisans actually formally export their handicrafts overseas, when they do it’s often done as a favor for family and does not result in any real financial incentive.
Now, I am successfully running a very small e-commerce business that receives orders from around the world and allows my mother to put her cultural talents to use. My dream is to expand and create a marketplace where Pasifika artisans both in the diaspora and back home in the islands can create a source of revenue for themselves and enter the global marketplace.