About the Entrepreneur
A tranquil oasis in the heart of downtown Honolulu, Heaven on Earth is a full-service salon and day spa owned by Lora Nakai. Open since 1997, Heaven on Earth is known for its charm, accessibility, and high standard of treatments.
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What is Heaven on Earth?
Heaven on Earth focuses on small, affordable indulgences for the busy, downtown professional. It gives you the opportunity to escape from your office desk during the work week.
What helped you when you were first getting started?
When I started the business in ‘97, there weren’t many successful female business owners. When I did meet one, I tried to get as much advice as possible. I look back now and consider myself very lucky to have met the people that helped me get here.
How do you manage your time?
I make a point to stop, refocus, and create a new timeline for what matters the most. I try not to let someone else’s emergency become my emergency. In terms of work-life balance, I’ve always enjoyed merging the two together. I brought my daughter to meetings, and now she’s in love with the industry herself. My son is actually working the front desk at one of our locations as we speak.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting a business?
Treat your business like a child. Feed it, nurture it. Keep investing in it to make it healthier and better. For parents starting a business: be patient, but absolutely go for it. Work harder during times that are convenient, so that you can take the time when needed to be with your child.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
I am most proud of the teamwork I see on a day-to-day basis, and the clientele that I’ve grown to know and care for year after year.
What should a business owner look for in a bank or financial institution?
Have a point person – someone who will directly take care of you, not only in making loans, but in simple day to day things too.
What do you love about Hawaii National Bank?
My family has banked there for the past 42 years. I see the same friendly faces and have gotten to know them. HNB also offers one-on-one counseling. They worked with me when Heaven on Earth was considering buying new equipment, and helped me gain the confidence to know it was the right time to move forward with the purchase.
What’s the hardest part about being an entrepreneur in Hawaii?
The challenging part of the business has always been staffing. If you can hire for fit, you can make it work. We look for people who are kind-hearted, have a sense of pride in what they do, and appreciate taking care of others. I want people who come to work and are happy to be there.
“Find people that have the same goals in mind as you. Find people who are willing to work as hard or as smart as you. And find people who care enough about each other that they’re willing to work together every day.”