Mahalo Piha Kanaka Economy Development Alliance
YOU AND YOUR OHANA
What is your name?
Brooke Holt Pennell
Where were you raised?
I was raised between Honolulu and Mākaha.
Where is your ohana originally from?
On my dadʻs side, Hilo, Mākaha, Nuʻuanu, and Kāhala. On my motherʻs side, California.
Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs or have people close to you who have encouraged and supported your entrepreneurship?
My parents were both artists and entrepreneurs. My father was a glassblower and has a Masters Degree from UH in Fine Arts. He also had a small chain of gourmet deep dish pizza restaurants in the the Bay Area, as well as co-founding Mauna Kea Baking Company. My mother graduated from UH, was a fashion designer, and created many fashion brands over her long career in the garment industry.
What is the name of your business?
21 Degrees North Designs
What is the best way to contact you/your business?
Does your business have a website and/or social media presence? If so, please provide a link/s.
Native Hawaiian Business Directory: https://kanakaeconomy.com/listing/21-degrees-north-designs/
How long has your business been in operation?
Where is your business located today?
What products and/or services does your business provide?
We handcraft ocean inspired jewelry and accessories and apparel. Home decor is coming soon.
Please describe your business in 1-2 sentences.
21ºN is a brand looking to elevate the narrative of Hawaiiʻs contemporary fashion through handcrafted and ocean inspired jewelry and accessories.
Why do you do what you do?
My parents were both artists, and I was raised with art in my blood. Crafting jewelry is an outlet to quell the creative desire inside me. Itʻs my therapy, and it truly fulfills me to make beautiful things that other people also find appealing.
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
When did you first think of starting this business?
I had a side hustle jewelry business a decade ago, but deciding to really do this full time was in 2016 just before my father passed away.
What type of experiences (education, work, life) were most important in shaping the skills you use to run your business today?
I worked in retail/brand buying and management for over twenty years. I gained a wealth of experience over my career and learned about truly valuing my time and understanding margins.
YOUR BUSINESS TODAY
In what stage of development is your business: pre-formation, early stage, growing, or mature?
My business is growing.
Do you have employees? If so, how many?
Are you working to get your business to the next stage in development? If so, where are you in that development?
Iʻm definitely on the path to the next step. Iʻve taken many online workshops and courses on everything from web design to SEO tactics to social media marketing and am in the current CNHA Kūhana Business Cohort. Iʻm a lifelong learner and always ready and willing to take on the next task.
What is the greatest challenge you have experienced as an entrepreneur?
Probably just navigating my way through being a full time entrepreneur and the struggles of not having a steady paycheck and medical.
How did you overcome that challenge? (Or are you still working through it?)
Still working through it. But I think knowledge and having a “CAN” attitude is always the way through any obstacle.
THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
How do you envision your business in the future?
I plan to expand into other categories that fit my business plan and really want a retail studio space to showcase my vision. I also hope to lift other young Hawaiian entrepreneurs through various means.
IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT A HOBBY, INTEREST, OR TALENT YOU NURTURE OUTSIDE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Iʻm in love with the beauty that surrounds me and have a deep connection with the ocean. I enjoy diving, surfing (donʻt surf as much anymore though), paddling, Supʻing, and Iʻve been an avid shell collector my entire life. While living in Australia, I enjoyed sailing and gem fossicking. Iʻve always been a DIY kind of girl. If I canʻt find what I want, Iʻll make it. I enjoy restoring mid-century modern Hawaiian furniture and have been collecting 1940s-60s era nostalgia for thirty years. I dabble in many, many things that spark my interest, but making jewelry is probably the one constant that makes me tick.