Garces opens for business

NAWILIWILI — Jovita Garces has turned her love of elegant Balinese design into a business.

That part came pretty easily, if a bit unexpectedly.

The harder part will be making that business work.

“This is a whole new venture for me, my first business,” said Garces, born and raised on Kaua‘i.

“It was like a dream, far-fetched, to run a retail store,” said Garces.

Tropic Ease is located in the Aloha Center in Nawiliwili. Garces operates two stalls in the facility, and features a variety of Balinese textile products, such as beautiful “deco panels,” or wall or window coverings in rich earth tones, pillow covers, silks, hand bags, place mats as well as candle dishes and clothing, which bear Garces’ Petite in Style brand name.

Eventually, she plans on wholesaling her line of mu‘umu‘u and dresses.

Garces has set up JoRo International Trading Company as the umbrella organization for her different ventures.

She opened for business July 28, and said business has been slow.

Garces first envisioned opening a clothing store. Initially, she was having trouble getting stock from a facility in the Philippines as quickly as she wanted, in order to open a retail store.

She was told about a factory in Bali, and went to investigate it.

“I was just so impressed with the art,” she said. “It was a blessing, because I was so focused on the clothing aspect.”

She decided that bringing decorative and functional Balinese textiles here, as well gaining the ability to order custom-carved stone work and statuary from Indonesia, would give her a niche market.

She said she views her space at the Aloha Center as a showroom as well as a sales space.

“I want people to come down and see it. I think it’s very different and unique, and very attractive.”

Garces is trying to build her contacts, working with designers and those in the building and development industry who might want to use her home products when furnishing a new or second home.

She said she is working with leaders of an architectural firm to entice them to place orders for carved stones for a commercial building.

“I get a lot of people who watch Home and Garden TV and talk about designing their home,” she said. “I’m getting a feel for what they like, and how I might eventually redesign it.”

The deco panels, which are basically exotic curtains or window coverings, are made from natural fibers, and feature rich earth tones and classic designs, and range in price from $55 to $90.

Garces is working with her supplier in Bali to become that company’s exclusive distributor on Kaua‘i.

Garces said she originally considered setting up shop at the Kapa‘a craft fair, but preferred the indoor, air-conditioned facilities at the Aloha Center.

“I have fine things, and I want them to keep their value, and increase in value,” she said.

Garces, who is working on setting up a Web site, said she hoped for increased foot traffic to the Aloha Center and was encouraged by reports of possible road reconfigurations.

For more information on Tropic Ease, please contact Garces at 651-8172.

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