I have had the honor of living in Hawaii for eleven years. Recently I participated in a school project with my cousin Hattie who asked me why I liked living in Hawaii and what I missed about the mainland.
I grew up in Vermont, so the thing I miss the most about being on the mainland is the proximity to my family. I miss seeing my nieces and nephews on more than an annual basis (but I am grateful that all families have finally caught up with high speed internet and Facetime!).
It has always been difficult to explain to my family why I have stayed in Hawaii and why I continue to stay because it is none of the obvious things they would guess. Yes, it’s nice living in a consistent 75-85 degree temperature zone year round, but that’s not what drove me to living here and it’s certainly not what’s keeping me here. I wish it were the lovely beaches, but to tell you the truth we don’t get to the beach that often.
It Comes Down to the People, the Sense of Community and the Spirit of Aloha
I’m a planner by nature and do most things in my life with a lot of intention, but I didn’t plan Websites with Aloha into existence, it just kind of “happened.” I started designing sites for a number of my husband’s computer repair clients who needed help, and one day in 2009 I realized I should probably create a site for my web design business. My friend Matt has chosen acupuncturewithaloha.com for his acupuncture practice, so I casually chose websiteswithaloha.com and threw up a very simple site. I had no idea what it would become.
A quick side note: Our very first tagline was “Simple & quick design solutions for your first website… that won’t break the bank.” My husband Jim and I had had a site designed years before for a book we had written with all the bells and whistles for a really high price tag, plus a very high monthly fee. The idea behind starting the business in the first place was that I desperately wanted to be able to help other small businesses get started with a website inexpensively, so they had a fighting chance to get their businesses off the ground.
Websites with Aloha was just a domain name to me at the time, but it became a living entity breathed to life by the people in Hawaii. So what fuels my desire to stay in Hawaii is the enormous sense of gratitude and appreciation for my clients, colleagues and the wider community that have supported my business (and my husband’s, the Mobile Computer Doctor).
When you know where every dollar in your life comes from and you can picture the face of the person who shared it with you because they believed in you, it gives you such a sense of appreciation for a place, it creates a tie to a place, a sense of gratitude that is hard to break. I truly believe the community has built Websites with Aloha, and it is my privilege to continue to serve the businesses and nonprofits in the islands.
What is Aloha?
“Aloha” to me represents the energy that is exchanged everyday with the people we come in contact with, physically, over the phone, or even digitally. It’s the way we interact, understanding that we are all in this together, that it takes a team, a village to support a vision.
So building a website “with aloha” for me means that we honor you as a client. We honor your vision. And we are honored that you would not only share your vision with us, but privileged to participate in sharing and growing it in the online world. I take being a business owner in Hawaii very seriously which is demonstrated best by sharing our commitments and values:
Commitment to the Aina
We have a commitment to the aina or land by being a green friendly business. Last year Websites with Aloha went solar to offset the power use in our home office. We participate in recycling and composting and we encourage our clients to use hosting companies that have a low carbon footprint. We regularly donate extra development time to nonprofit websites that promote watershed restoration, invasive species control, native species preservation, and environmental education. This year alone we donated over 40 hours to a group of invasive species sites across the islands.
Commitment to the People
We have a commitment to the people who have supported us, not only our clients but the community at large. We feel it is our responsibility to support programs and businesses that are supporting our communities by buying local and by providing in-kind donations whenever possible. This year we offered our first sponsorship of a local nonprofit called We Empower Youth founded by an amazing 15 year old young woman named Heather Campbell whose mission is to prevent childhood obesity.
We honor the relationships we have with past clients and we strive to make these lasting relationships. We don’t create new sites and then leave our clients to fend for themselves.
We find beauty in sites that are people-friendly and we build our sites with this people-first approach. What will be the easiest to navigate, the most readable, the easiest for the client to manage. Not the most showy, complicated, or most recurring income for us.
We value honesty, integrity and transparency. We strive to be clear about our pricing and we value your money and the time it takes to earn it, so we always seek out the most cost effective solutions possible.
Commitment to Inspiration, Passion, Potential
We are strong believers in doing work that inspires you, that you are passionate about. We seek out team members who are equally enthusiastic about our work and we match people to tasks that will keep them thriving on a weekly basis. We also seek out clients who are passionate about what they do, which is why we love working with entrepreneurs and nonprofits so much.
Hawaii represents for us an incubator of change, a seed of potential. It is where we took a leap of faith and rebuilt our lives 11 years ago. It is a place that attracts many people seeking a change in their lives. I am honored that we get to be at the forefront of that potential every time we develop a new site for a brand new business, new idea or new vision of the world. It’s thrilling to be a part of someone’s evolution into a new life for themselves.
Commitment to Freedom & Flexibility in Technology
In relation to this potential we believe everyone deserves the freedom and flexibility to grow. This is why we build our sites in WordPress allowing easy scalability and it is why we help our clients host their sites on their own accounts, so they are always free to make a change. We value technology and the ways it can make our visions come to life. We strive to choose the best technology solutions we can find and are truthful about what you need or don’t need.
One Final Mahalo
It is amazing to think of how much Websites with Aloha has grown up in the past 5 years, from a very casual side business, to building over 35 new sites last year, working with close to 100 customers, with multiple team members. We are really grateful for all that you have done as a client, colleague or community member to support us in that growth. We look forward to continue serving the people, businesses, and organizations in Hawaii and beyond with a spirit of aloha.