Branding Workshop Attracts Over 200 Hawaii Entrepreneurs, Manufacturers and Business Owners

Posted on Mar 29, 2023 in News

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2023


  • Speaker headshots, logo, and attendees networking


  • Plenary sessions and interviews with:
    • Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke
    • Kyle Reutner, KoHana Distillers
    • Laurie Lang, Laurie Lang Consulting

HONOLULU—More than 200 attendees gathered at the Hawaii Convention Center for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) first-ever Made in Hawaii Branding Workshop today. During various sessions and panels, branding experts from Hawaii and around the world shared their knowledge on how Hawaii businesses can grow to reach global customers.

The sessions included:

  • Repositioning the Hawaii Fashion Brand – Harold Koda, born and raised in Hawaii and co-founder of the Met Gala, a fundraiser dedicated to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, shared 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; Shopify’s Brand Marketing Director Chris Schmicker; and Tea Chest Hawaii President Byron Goo explained the essentials local entrepreneurs need in order to achieve national and local success with their products.
  • Growing and Managing a Global Brand – Former Walt Disney Company Senior Vice President Laurie Lang discussed 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, shared the lessons learned in growing the New Zealand geographic branding program and how they apply to Hawaii.
  • Implementing Made in Hawaii – A panel of executives from DBEDT, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and the Department of Agriculture and leaders of both the State Senate and House economic development committees shared ideas to increase collaboration between product- and destination marketing.

Workshop participants also had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions to provide feedback to help strengthen the Made in Hawaii brand and program.

“This Branding Workshop was a great way to gather and engage with local entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses,” said Chris Sadayasu, director of DBEDT. “The Made in Hawaii program is committed to being a resource for Hawaii businesses so that they can thrive in our local economy and beyond.”

A free resource for Hawaii-based companies and online marketplaces, the Made in Hawaii program highlights brands and products that are exclusively Made in Hawaii. In order to be marketed, promoted or labeled as “Made in Hawaii,” at least 51 percent of a product’s wholesale value must originate or be added in Hawaii, whether through manufacture, assembly, fabrication or production.

To learn more about the Made in Hawaii program, 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