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Today’s episode is brought to you by our partners at Shaka Guide. Shaka Guide has 21 GPS audio tours across the Hawaiian Islands. They are available on their apps for Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu. Each audio tour offers you turn-by-turn directions to popular sites with stories and music along the way. So, you aren’t just seeing the sites — you’re learning about them too. Shaka Guide’s main goal is to connect you with places, enriching your travel experience.
 
In today’s travel environment in Hawaii, Shaka Guide gives you all the benefits of a tour guide but from an app giving you the freedom to explore and to socially distance. So, to change the way you see Hawaii go to HERE to download today!
 
On this week’s episode of Hawaii’s Best, Bryan talks with Jessica Polk of The Hawaiian Box — and why supporting local is important more than ever. In this episode, you’ll also learn how you can bring a piece of Hawaii home to your doorstep.
 

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Bryan Murphy 0:00

This episode is brought to you by Shaka guide with Shaka guide you can experience Hawaii with a tour guide right on your phone. Shaka guide uses your GPS to guide you to interesting places along your way. Automatic audio tours with turn by turn directions means all you need to do is turn on the tour and Dr. Shaka guys self guided tours give you the freedom to explore the beautiful Hawaiian islands and know where to stop and what to do. This is a great alternative to your traditional tours because in this new normal of social distancing, Shaka guide right on your phone is a great way to explore Hawaii, so go to Hawaii's Best travel.com slash Shaka.

Hawaii's Best 0:48

Welcome to Hawaii's Best travel podcast where we help you prepare for your next trip to Hawaii. Discover the experiences businesses and stories that make Hawaii the Aloha state. And now your host, Brian Murphy.

Bryan Murphy 1:03

Hello Hi and welcome to Episode 44 of Hawaii's Best here at Hawaii's Best we help prepare you for your next trip to Hawaii. And I'm your host Brian Murphy, the owner of Hawaii's Best we give you the behind the scenes look at some of Hawaii's best experiences, businesses and influencers. And on today's show, we have Jessica pulk, who was born and raised on the island of Hawaii. Jessica is the founder and owner of the Hawaiian box, a subscription box service that proudly features small businesses in Hawaii, all the products that they feature are products that are made in Hawaii, that are just so important, as you know, especially during this whole year of 2020. I think the idea of buying locally, no matter where you're at has been such an important facet into getting through this Corona era. Not sure what to call it but you know what I mean, buying local has never been more important. And the same can be said for Hawaii local businesses. And if you love Hawaii, which I'm sure you do, because you're tuning into this podcast, at Hawaii's Best, it is really the heart behind what we do at Hawaii's Best is featuring local businesses in Jessica from the Hawaiian box. That is all that she does. And I just think that is really cool. So before we even get into the interview, I just want to let you know about a promotion she is doing that is starting on Black Friday. So if you enter the code Black Friday 15 one five at checkout, you will get 15% off your order from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. So go to the Hawaiian box.com. And go ahead and order right there. Now the white box is a subscription service. So be sure to read everything that that entails. But I gotta tell you, when we got our first box, it was such a cool experience. We have three girls, my wife, Eileen and I. And it was just amazing. They were so excited to see a box featuring all these amazing local products. Right in Hawaii. that excitement I want you to experience as well. It was just so cool. So again, go to the Hawaiian box calm after this episode and enter the code if you're listening to this on Black Friday through Cyber Monday into the code Black Friday 15 one five at checkout for 15% off. Well hey, enough of my yakking let's go ahead and we're going to talk story with Jessica from the Hawaii inbox on kawaii

Jessica, thank you so much for coming on Hawaii's Best today. How is life on Courtney right now?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 4:01

Oh, Brian, thank you for having me. kawaii is starting to pick up the pace just a little bit. We're starting to see a little bit more visitors on the road. So it's exciting to see them at the same time. It's a little scary, but sure, you know, gotta get back into it.

Bryan Murphy 4:19

So did you grow up on clay

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 4:23

born and raised. My father was born and raised here. His mom born and raised on the island. So

Bryan Murphy 4:30

now what about you how has as we're looking back on 2020 already? It's been you know, we're sitting in November right now and how has this year been for you personally and on the business side of things. For me.

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 4:45

I ended up getting laid off from my regular job. At the same time. It allowed me to put more time into the Hawaiian box. It did allow me to spend more time with my family. It said that I don't have Like a normal job right now, but at the same time, I think it's better for the box.

Bryan Murphy 5:06

Right? all that extra hours can be put into that. Yeah, let's talk about the why inbox. And how did that all start? What was the vision behind that?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 5:15

after time, before I even thought of it, I just had my son, and my daughter, who was four at the time, she was going to go into kindergarten.

Bryan Murphy 5:27

So what year was this around?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 5:29

beginning of last year, beginning of 2019? Yeah. So pretty recent, I just felt like with my work schedule, and with my daughter going to kindergarten, I wouldn't be able to see her at all. And so that was unacceptable for me being that I would work nights. And you know, she would go to school during the day, I know that I wanted to do something that was more on the e commerce, and that would allow me to spend more time with the family, especially having a newborn at home. And so I've started to look online to see what kind of e commerce businesses I could do. And so I came across the subscription boxes. And I did subscribe to one in the past and it was baby toys for my daughter when she was younger. And I really enjoyed it. I remember being more excited and surprised when the boxes would come in. But I looked into it. And I asked myself, you know, if I ever did a subscription box, what would it be? And so that's where my love for the islands came into play my love for Hawaii, the culture. And so it would be, you know, showcasing made in Hawaii products. And so did a little bit more research, found that there were a couple of Hawaii themed boxes out there that had more snacks. Another one was Hawaii coffee, but nothing yet touched on the product side. And so that's where I said, You know, I think they think this is something I should do. And so I took a stab at it. And you know, here I am.

Bryan Murphy 7:06

I love that you just went for it. Obviously, the whole inbox is a subscription base box. That's kind of a new type of delivery system, maybe someone who's not familiar with the subscription model maybe can unpack that a little bit.

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 7:19

Yeah, so a lot of people are familiar with a magazine subscription, they'll order and a magazine will be delivered to their home every month, every couple of weeks. And so the subscription box, it's the same concept, except, instead of ordering to a magazine, you are subscribing to a box of items. And so with our theme, the Hawaiian box theme, you would be subscribing to Hawaiian goodies, authentically made Hawaiian goodies.

Bryan Murphy 7:54

Very cool. So you, you delve into the subscription box. And that is really kind of I mean, when we got ours, obviously, all the goodies inside is like oh man, it's like, you know, having that low hardness, right, right at your doorstep, which is really cool. But it really is that kind of excitement of like, I wonder what's in it? Oh, It's here. It's here. So I think that is in itself. Something. You know, keep in mind, as you know, if you're doing so Tricia and Bach, you know, part of it is that surprise of you know, it's kind of like Christmas morning, right? Like when it's in the box? Yeah, so I think in all of us, we still have that kind of, you know, that youth like nature. And I think that's cool. For the products that you put in the box. How do you how do you source that? And, and, and and what's that, that like?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 8:41

I try to look through different programs in the state, for example, like made in Hawaii festival, made in Maui festival, you know, I take a look at all the vendors, I search on social media. And I see what's out there, I see what kind of unique things people create. And then I personally reach out to them. And they see if they want to be featured in the Hawaiian box. And so I the past boxes, I've been trying to offer a variety of different things, different items. And so I'm always looking for what's unique, what's out there. The great thing that I do want to point out is that the items that we put in, it's all made in Hawaii made in with by Hawaii locals, or at least designed or inspired by the islands. These are things that you would not find normally in the souvenir section in you know, like at Walmart or something. So I think that's what makes it really unique, really special.

Bryan Murphy 9:36

I think that's great. And I think a lot of people who've traveled to Hawaii quite a bit and are who are traveling back to the islands. I really think this past year, just seeing how the local economy maybe you can speak into it a little bit, especially on quite how it's been impacted. But I think there's a bit more of a conscientious in in travelers mindsets of the The importance of supporting local because in a sense, this past year, we've all had to have supported local, you know, BIA in Wisconsin or whatever across the world, that local economy truly matters. So I think whenever we travel or wherever we travel, being mindful of that local economy, and especially with Hawaii, I know you kind of talked a little bit personally about what 2020 has been for you, but just from your perspective, what has life like been on the island of Hawaii, this past year been like,

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 10:33

I've noticed a lot of people starting to open their own businesses, because there's just no tourism right now. And which is great. A lot of people are strongly supporting local businesses buying from each other. They're constantly reminding each other that Hawaii doesn't need to rely on tourism for the economy to grow. And so a lot of locals are buying from each other, supporting from each other. And just, you know, trying to stay strong. That's great.

Bryan Murphy 11:03

Yeah. Because with our backs against the wall, I mean, that's just something new. You have to you have to do. So, well, let's let's open up the box a little bit and kind of give people what the what can they expect maybe just some examples of some items and some products that you featured.

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 11:21

The first time I curated a box, put it together, I decided to do a theme of each island. So my first one was more kawaii products since since I'm from coffee. I had an artist with a notebook, she had her painting on a notebook printed on there, I had soaps in there, I had candles. I also had like a towel in there as well, a bag. And so that was just my first that was my first box. The second one, I hopped over to Big Island, and I featured only Big Island products. And so that one was fun, because I found people that made their own lotions. I found this one girl, she did her own handshakes. And I also featured coffee in that box as well. So yeah, just a real great variety. Most recently, I think the biggest hit was the Hawaiian sun candles from local kind things. And that one had the lilikoi like you said, a lot of people love that. There's no answer. Yeah, favorite.

Bryan Murphy 12:30

Yeah. super creative, upcycling with that as is cool. Are you gathering all the products? And then are you packaging? Or how does that and then shipping out? Are you doing all that in house?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 12:42

Yes, I am. The one that does everything this summer was when I finally asked for help with my social media. And I found someone in a wahoo she does a great job with my social media platforms. And then I did reach help for someone else to reach out to other vendors. But other than that I am the one that packages it together, puts it together decides what goes in the box. But for me, I don't mind that, like I feel like my boxes are going to a friend. And so when I packaged it, I packaged it carefully,

Bryan Murphy 13:17

right? And I bet from all of these, this product research and you're like, Oh, you know these people, they make their own lotion and and they're doing this and she's making these handbags. I'm I'm sure that has created so many new friendships and conversations too. Yeah,

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 13:34

yes, yes, definitely.

Bryan Murphy 13:36

Yeah, very good. Now, people are listening to this. This will air It is Wednesday, November 25. And we're a couple days away from Black Friday. And for people listening. If you're listening, you know, from Wednesday to Friday, basically right there. We there's a special deal, right?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 13:56

Yes, I am offering 15% off from that Friday till Cyber Monday. And if you decide to purchase the Hawaiian box as a gift, or for yourself, you can get 15% off. And we will also waive shipping. So you'll get free shipping if you live in the United States. And then the code for that is Black Friday. 15.

Bryan Murphy 14:21

Black Friday 15 one five. Yeah. Yes. Cool. From your perspective, I love to just I get a lot of messages a lot of emails to just about people who are concerned or or you know, dreaming of Hawaii they want to get back to Hawaii so bad and I know right now is a little little unique time to you know, actually do that. But, you know, say a little bit from now maybe you know, spring next year. Yeah, like what what advice would you give someone coming to the islands for the first time or they visit year after year and maybe they have like the tip Coco Waikiki experience and, and that's all cool. But like, as a local, someone born and raised, just from your experience, what would you want people traveling to the islands just to to know,

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 15:11

when you come to the islands, every Island is different. And so if you're trying to experience the culture, if you're trying to see different things and want to see everything, my recommendation is thing put on one island instead of island hopping, because then that way, you'll be able to see a lot more of that one island. CO is small, but there's lots to see. There's lots to do. And so same for the other bigger islands. That's the one thing I would recommend if you're going to come to the Kawaii I would say, you know, stay to one island and save the other islands for future visits.

Bryan Murphy 15:49

What are some spots? If we're talking specifically about Hawaii? What are some spots that are kind of like you want to make sure you do that? Or do this?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 15:57

Cool. k for sure. up in my mail. Make sure you see the canyon that's the farthest most west of the United States. Yeah, it's

Unknown Speaker 16:05

pretty incredible.

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 16:06

And I would say the North Shore North Shore is my favorite place on Island. It's so green. They're so lush. Don't be afraid of the rain. We have warm rain. If you're in the beach, you're in the water don't getting wet anyway.

Bryan Murphy 16:23

Very true. Well, I'm curious, as you're looking at 2020 and assessing what's next for the wind box? What are some things that come to mind?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 16:32

Well, 2020, my main focus was exposure. And so I feel that I did accomplish that 2021 I want to gain more exposure, I want to also grow my customer base. And I feel that that's important, not just for me, but also because I work with a lot of local businesses. It's supporting them too,

Bryan Murphy 16:56

right? That's a huge heartbeat of what the why Hawaii's Best started is Yeah, you Everyone loves Hawaii and the experience of Hawaii. But it's it's all much more. I mean, Hawaii is a LAN Hawaii is a culture. Hawaii is the people. That's that's Hawaii. And I really think that what you're doing marries all that together, which is really cool. So way to go. Yeah, absolutely. Is there anything else? Jessica, we wanted to make sure.

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 17:24

So up until now my boxes were seasonal, meaning I would send or deliver the boxes every three months. And so listening to a lot of feedback from customers, they love the box, but they feel that it was you know, a little bit too expensive. I'm implementing changes starting January 2021. And so they can expect like a different variety, my mini box is going to be only foods. So if someone wants more foods from the island, then that's something that they could do. And then my current box now I'm downsizing it to have about five items in there. This one is going to be more products in the box non food items. And the beauty of this is that even though I do have the food box, now I have the product box, the items inside are going to be entirely different. So if someone wants to get I don't know, the ultimate Hawaiian box, they could combine both and get both. That's smart.

Bryan Murphy 18:31

Yeah. And just you know, hearing feedback, I love that, you know, being still still new in this and listening to feedback and making those adjustments. I think that that's awesome. So way to go. How can people follow you? How can people find you?

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 18:47

My tag on Instagram is the Hawaiian box. Okay, on Facebook facebook.com forward slash the Hawaiian box. All of my social platforms is the white box website, the Hawaiian box.com

Bryan Murphy 19:00

we're gonna go good job with branding. That's important. Well, cool. Jessica, thank you so much for coming on Hawaii's Best today to truly appreciate you and what you're doing.

Jessica Polk |

The Hawaiian Box 19:09

Thank you, Brian. Aloha. Aloha.

Bryan Murphy 19:13

Thank you Mahalo to Jessica, thank you so much for your time and what you are doing for the amazing local businesses on Hawaii. I just truly appreciate that. I know many people who are listening right now appreciate that, Jessica. So thank you so much for listening to this episode and it's Black Friday through Cyber Monday you can get 15% off by going to the Hawaiian box comm and entering Black Friday 15 one five at checkout. Well again, thank you so much for listening to this episode. truly appreciate your time. And as we go into this holiday season, I just want to say I am completely appreciative of you for not only listening to this episode, but caring So much about people of Hawaii and that's really why we exist here at Hawaii's Best. So, for my ohana to yours, I just want to say a big Aloha. And until next time, be well.

Hawaii's Best 20:15

Thanks for listening to Hawaii's Best travel podcast. To stay up to date on future episodes. Be sure to subscribe. For more information to help you plan your next trip to Hawaii visit Hawaii's Best travel.com

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Bryan Murphy
Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.