HONOLULU (KHON2) – Right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of downtown Honolulu, Lora Nakai has truly found her perfect little slice of Heaven on Earth.
A place to both relax and enjoy. It’s everything she dreamed of and told her parents she was going to do as a teenage girl growing up in Oregon.
“I said I am moving to Hawaii, I want to get a little warmer. I came to UH” said Nakai. “And eventually I decided I wanted to go to Massage school and start a business”.
Once here in the islands, with her massage license in hand, Lora set out on a very strategic path.
“I wanted to focus on people who maybe had stress and I want to focus on areas where I could create relaxation” said Nakai. “I went into their office or created the location for them to come and relax and lounge and kind of re-coup. I tried to create small indulgences”.
That eventually led to a much larger place of indulgence. Thanks to an unplanned leap of faith.
“I came in to look at a piece of equipment on Alakea Street and they were moving out” said Nakai. “So I was offered to take over the lease and it was in a location I always dreamed of and I’ve been here for 20 something years and it’s been a really nice home we started years and years ago”.
But it’s a far cry from that original home that was less than 800 square feet.
“Within about a year and a half we decided to gain more space so we did five expansions in total and we grew about 28% per year for the first five years. Now we’re lucky enough to have 5000 ft.² and 13 treatment rooms. So it’s awesome”.
Today Lora has a huge list of clients of which about 30% are men. Heaven On Earth offers everything from basic facials an massage treatments to manicures, pedicures, a hair salon, make up application area, and even a couple of specialty rooms.
Nakai says her key to success is investing in the best equipment, product lines and employees.
“I think it’s the people you invest in” said Nakai. “Your employees, the people who give you business, keep them happy and give them a little bit more than they expect.”
Also key she says, the ability to learn and grow from the down times.
“Sometimes it’s the challenges that create the most growth. You just have to be open to bouncing back and saying what’s next and not giving up. Wearing a lot of hats.”
And her other NOT so secret ingredient for success? Treating her employees, her customers and even herself with something special.
“I think the people work really hard and as I have to always remind myself as well I need to take some time and take care of myself so I think we represent exactly what everybody should do”.