HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – You probably have seen the eye-catching logo on tee shirts and caps and wondered what it says. Ed Sugimoto is the man behind the apparel company that found a market for the word Aloha turned upside down.
“The word was actually where it started,” he said. “I thought if you put it on your shirt, it sits over your heart so when you look down it’s right-side up. It’s a daily reminder to keep aloha in your heart. It started from that point.”
That idea came out of a blog he wrote for the Advertiser. Now his VH07V: Aloha Revolution brand has about a hundred different designs and more are on the way.
“I think just the way my brain operates I’m always trying to think of things that are different, outside the box, things that people have never seen before. Or maybe they have seen it before and I put a different twist on it,” he said.
Ed markets his products through entertaining videos he produces and posts on his Instagram page. They show him changing shirts or caps like a magician, and his enthusiasm jumps off the screen.
“I actually thought I would be a standup comedian at some point, but then I realized I’m not that funny. I like to have fun and make people laugh, I guess.”
But there’s a serious side to his company’s reason for being in business. It’s fundraising. Aloha Revolution donated tens of thousands of dollars to organizations and groups that needed help like the Red Cross and Hawaii’s Little League Champions.
“One fundraiser in particular, the Love’s Bakery one that we did for the people losing their jobs, that one did $55,000 by itself. So over the years it’s probably well over $100,000,” he said.
The clothing company sells through pop ups and online orders, but it also has a store in the Waimalu Shopping Center.
This year, Aloha Revolution was honored by Hawaii Business Magazine.
“To be one of the twelve top small businesses of 2023 was a big honor. I’m very thankful for the staff there and for the public for helping support us all these years.”
Ed says it’s mind blowing that his signature shirts and caps are now being worn by people all over the world.
“In the beginning, I kinda knew everybody that had it. It was their brother or mother or whatever,” he said. “But once I started seeing strangers wearing it, I said, ‘Wow! This is getting there.’”
His is a small business success story. It’s nice to know the reasons why go beyond the bottom line.
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