Made in Hawaii Branding Workshop on March 29

Posted on Mar 14, 2023 in News

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2023

World-Class Speakers to Present on Building a Global Brand

HONOLULU—The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) announced today that the first-ever Made in Hawaii Branding Workshop will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center on Wednesday, March 29.

A line-up of world-class speakers has been assembled to share their knowledge with Hawaii companies on how to grow from local markets to reach global customers. Speakers include:

  • Harold Koda, co-founder of the Met Gala with Anna Wintour
  • Shep Gordon, super talent manager and promoter
  • Laurie Lang, founder of Disney’s global brand management
  • Dane Ambler, leader of Buy New Zealand’s successful program
  • Chris Schmicker, Shopify’s branding director

In addition, there will be updates about the Made in Hawaii program for local manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, as well as breakouts for them to provide feedback to help strengthen the brand and the program. Also featured will be government officials, private sector resources and success stories.

“This workshop provides us with a chance to bring brand experts and local entrepreneurs together to share ideas based on experiences to build a robust program,” said Chris Sadayasu, director of DBEDT. “The Made in Hawaii brand has high recognition but we need to position it so that our Hawaii companies can benefit from its value.”

Workshop participants will attend plenary sessions and panels, and breakout sessions focused on topics including brand communication, e-commerce strategies, and product marketing.

The plenary sessions include:

  • Re-positioning the Hawaii Fashion Brand – Harold Koda, former Metropolitan Museum of Arts costume curator and co-founder of the Met Gala, will share strategies on how Hawaii manufacturers in fashion and other industries can develop their brands in a changing world.
  • Taking Products to Market Successfully – Shep Gordon, an international brand developer and promoter who launched the Hawaii Regional Cuisine brand with famed local chefs and worked on Anthony Bourdain’s Hawaii show; Shopify’s Brand Marketing Director Chris Schmicker; and Tea Chest Hawaii President Byron Goo will explain the essentials local entrepreneurs need to achieve national and local success with their products.
  • Growing and Managing a Global Brand – Former Walt Disney Company Senior Vice President Laurie Lang will discuss what’s needed to develop, protect, and give value to a global brand across multiple products.
  • Best Practices from Place Branding – Dane Ambler, executive director of Buy New Zealand Made, will share the lessons learned in growing the New Zealand geographic branding program to record levels and how they apply to Hawaii.
  • Implementing Made in Hawaii – A panel of directors from DBEDT, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Department of Agriculture and leaders of both the State Senate and House economic development committees will share ideas to increase collaboration between product and destination marketing.

To learn more about the upcoming workshop and to register, please visit

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation-sector job growth.

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Laci Goshi
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-9006

Lyle Fujikawa
Made in Hawaii Program Manager
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
(808) 222-3498

Lyssa Fujie
iQ 360
(310) 346-4281