We come across entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. The definition is becoming a little watered down making it more attainable for the average Joe but what does it take to truly make it? Dragging and dropping is literally all it takes to start a business but what sets you apart from the person who starts a business and the person who starts a long lasting brand?
The Pi Collection is starting a blog series to uncover inspirational stories from our heroines. We’re hoping they inspire you as much as they’ve inspired us.
This week, we sat down at Tobaccos of Hawaii with Elaine Dalistan, owner of Cigar Bar Hawaii. With close to 20k followers on Instagram and a feed booming with engagement, we had the chance to pick her brain. She has a great story and extraordinary business. Read on for the deets.
Team Pi: Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on cigars?
ED: Cigar Bar Hawaii is a mobile cigar bar. We provide the finest premium hand-rolled cigars to any private events such as golf tournaments, weddings, bachelor parties, corporate events etc., here in Hawaii.
I also throw fun cigar events for the public to enjoy, once every other month.
My first cigar, I wouldn’t say it was “love at first try” because it wasn’t. I won’t name the cigar brand but I got sick, threw up, and just felt like hell. So it was not a good experience at all.
Then a couple years later I got re-introduced to cigars by a friend who works for one of the largest cigar companies in the world and opened up my eyes to a whole new world of premium hand-rolled cigars.
Then one day I was watching this wedding show on TV and saw a cigar bar during the reception part. That’s when I came up with the idea. Since most of our weddings or events here in Hawaii are done outdoors, it would be a good idea to do a mobile cigar bar. So I linked up with my friend who worked for a cigar company and hooked me up with cigars to start my business. I emailed and called event planners to get my name out there.
Team Pi: As a woman, do you find it easier or more difficult to be successful in the cigar industry?
ED: Whether you’re a man or woman starting or having your own business is never easy — especially in the cigar business. For me, I kind of just found my strengths and network around them. I do believe for us women, it’s easier to network, and we all know that it’s networking that leads to opportunities. I also already knew people from the cigar industry and tried to learn as much as I could from them.
Team Pi: Where do you see Cigar Bar Hawaii in five years?
ED: I would love to actually have my own members only club (investors, if you’re reading this, holla!) where members could smoke cigars wearing their smoking jackets, where they could set up their business meetings there to entertain their clients, and enjoy some good libations and just have a good time. But with our strict smoking law here in Hawaii I don’t even know if thats possible. But then again EVERYTHING is possible.
Team Pi: You are a social media maven. How has this affected CBH?
ED: Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are cool platforms to promote everything you could think of and make money doing so. When I started my Instagram, it wasn’t to post selfies all the time, it was more to promote my business and create a brand, then my followers grew and people from different cigar companies would contact me and started sending me their cigars to try and I would promote it on social media, and those companies were willing to pay me to do that kind of stuff. It’s pretty awesome.
Team Pi: Where is your favorite place to bring in cigars from?
ED: For me I think most great cigars these days are coming out from Nicaragua. I would love to visit there someday.
Team Pi: As a lover of The Pi Collection, what are your favorite pieces?
ED: Can I say EVERYTHING??? Haha. It’s my everyday wear piece of jewelries. I love stacking my rings and I get compliments all the time especially when people see me wearing them while smoking a cigar.
Team Pi: What’s the best thing about being a female business owner?
ED: It gives me confidence and also a strong sense of independence.
Team Pi: Who do you draw inspiration from in terms of a role model?
ED: I’m inspired by young entrepreneurs, who actually use their talent to create something and make a living out of it. I love seeing passionate people in their element. It makes me want to work harder and do better.
Team Pi: What advice would you give to a woman who inspires to be as successful as you are as an entrepreneur?
ED: Do what you love. You have to set goals and focus on those goals. Find a strong mentor. Travel! Trust me it will change you.