Applications now available for Kaua’i Made program

County officials recently announced the launching of the county-sponsored, Kaua’i Made program, and are inviting representatives of local businesses and individuals to participate in the program, they said in a press release.

Applications are available online at www.kauai.gov, or by calling Beth Tokioka, director of the Kaua’i County Office of Economic Development, at 241-6390.

“We’re very excited about this program,” said Tokioka.

“It offers a great opportunity for vendors and retailers to showcase their products, and it’ll also enrich the visitor experience.”

To be eligible for the Kaua’i Made program, applicants must demonstrate that their products are either made on Kaua’i or made with Kaua’i materials, or both.

This requirement applies to both manufacturers and retailers who sell these products.

A wide range of products in a number of categories will be accepted, including food, beauty, crafts, apparel, music, art jewelry, gifts and others.

According to Tokioka, when an application is submitted to OED officials, it will be screened, and the applicant will be notified if they qualify for the Kaua’i Made program.

“We will have a rigorous screening process to insure that the products we’re promoting are truly unique to Kaua’i, and meet the qualifications.”

Investment in the program on the part of the vendors and retailers is minimal, just $50 a year for vendors to list an individual item or product line, while retailers would pay an annual fee of $75 per establishment.

Tokioka pointed out that participants in the Kaua’i Made program will be supported by strong marketing efforts.

“We’ll start with a Web site and promotional brochures placed in racks throughout the island,” said Tokioka.

“Eventually, we hope to have the resources for a fully-developed marketing and advertising campaign.”

The creation of the “Kaua’i Made” program began as a challenge two years ago to Tokioka from Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste.

“The mayor wanted to have a program similar to the successful Mountain Apple brand of products found in KTA stores on the Big Island,” said Tokioka.

Initial research was provided by members of the Kauai Agriculture Advisory Committee in 2004. In early 2005, Hawaii Tourism Authority officials provided a grant to create the program, which was matched by OED leaders.

Through a request-for-proposals process, the advertising and marketing firm of Starr Seigle Communications was awarded the contract to create the logo and the corresponding marketing program.

Members of an advisory committee, made up of local product-makers, retailers and marketers, were organized to assist OED and Starr Seigle officials in the planning process, Tokioka concluded.

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