Mom Talk: Q&A With Merchandise Maven Tiana Gamble
This girl mom and bikini boss dishes about how starting a side hustle turned into owning three thriving businesses.
Motivated by the example her hard-working, single-mom set for her, Tiana Gamble somehow keeps up with her two girls, husband and 40 employees across her three companies – BikiniBird, Creative Design Hawai‘i and Goodmerch Supply.
“I value having my own career, and I knew I didn’t want to work for someone else, so here I am,” she explains. It all began as a passion project—a fashion blog called Bikini Bird—while maintaining her full-time retail sales job. The brand grew as her girls grew—in fact, she found out she was pregnant with her second daughter the same day she opened her first brick-and-mortar store in 2017. Now her four Bikini Bird stores (in Kailua, Ko Olina, Kapalua and Kona) are known as an authority for on-trend swimwear, beachy apparel and keiki gifts.
Always pushing herself, Tiana acquired Creative Design Hawai‘i that same year, crafting premium corporate gifts that are definitely not your average swag. Think cool school class t-shirts and fashionable reusable totes. Her newest project, Goodmerch Supply, creates promotional gifts with a sustainable angle, which she hopes to expand on the mainland.
How do you balance work and family?
I’m pretty good at turning work ‘on’ and ‘off.’ Yeah, I’m not the mom picking her kids up from school every day at 2:30 p.m., but I try to leave the office by 4 p.m. Plus, my husband is very supportive of my career and doesn’t mind making dinner or cleaning—and probably does a better job at it than I do.
What advice do you have for parents wanting to start their own business?
As a financially conservative person, I play things safe. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket at the get-go, I’d suggest starting a side hustle and waiting to see if the business takes off before quitting your day job.
What are your favorite activities to do with your girls?
We love to go surfing and do outdoor activities, such as hiking. We also like giving ourselves mani-pedis at home. Oh, and of course, my girls are obsessed with Kids City!
SEE ALSO: We Tried It: Kids City Adventure Honolulu
Do you have plans for Spring Break?
Yes! We’re going skiing in Hokkaido, Japan for the first time.
What are some of your favorite local businesses?
For food, Arvo. For shopping, T&C Designs.
You can keep up with Tiana and her companies on Instagram: @creativedesignhi , @bikinibird, @goodmerchsupplyco
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