August 9th, 2011 / posted by paularath
Hana Nai’a’s lotions. Photos by Jerry Mayfield.

When I first interviewed Maryann Rose Broyles of Honoka’a, creator of Hana Nai’a Aromatherapy, in May, 2009, she was just starting out.

A purist, as well as a passionate advocate for the environment, Broyles was hand-blending her 100 percent organic ingredients with reverence for their origins.
Broyles was, and is, fortunate to have found John Steele, a world renowned anthropologist, archaeologist and aromatherapist, to source her oils from all over the world, from Kashmir to South Africa, Madagascar to Tahiti. “He’s my mentor, my supplier, my teacher. The soul of his oils is intact,” she said of Steele. 
Broyles uses no preservatives , no alcohol, no mineral oil, no petroleum, no parabens. Just pure essential oils.
While Broyles is a stellar aromatherapist, she is not a businesswoman, much less a marketer. Her packaging consisted of plain blue glass bottles which were good for maintaining the integrity of the oils but did nothing for their shelf appeal. Her catalogue read like a medical journal. With 40 product lines, it was, in a word, confusing.
Enter Matthew Williams, a long-time fan of Hana Nai’a, and a friend and neighbor of Broyles’. A software project manager for banks, Williams understood immediately that Broyles needed help with packaging and marketing Hana Nai’a.
“The whole product line was there. It just needed an identity. We needed to make it easier to read and understand,” Williams explained.
There were some graphics in the works already. After my story ran in 2009, Hagadone Printing offered to help Hana Nai’a with printing. Broyles told them she needed a designer first and they put her in touch with Wendy Hiraoka. “She gave the brand its identity,” Broyles said. “We described the company and the products and she gave it this elegant, clean look. She kept giving us gorgeous images. We wanted you to be able to understand the product without even having to read it.” They felt the simple, elegant images achieved that.
The bottles still protect the oils but are far prettier now.

As she prepares to launch Hana Nai’a to hotels and spas, Broyles said “It’s like birthing a baby. It’s still crawling and we’re bypassing the walking stage and starting to fly. I can handle the demand but there are a few oils that are so rare they may become unavailable.”
Take jojoba, for instance. “There’s a shortage in the Southwest right now,” Williams said. “There’s only 20,000 acres planted right now. Most of the shrubs are 100 years old and a lot of farmers can’t afford to plant it in the first place.”
While Hawaii is not a good place to grow jojoba, the Big Island is an ideal place to grow sandalwood, one of Hana Nai’a’s key oils. “Sandalwood forests are being raped now,” Broyles said. “People have to realize that on this planet we cannot be greedy. We have to sustainably harvest everything. People take. I don’t want what’s taken. I want things that are reverently harvested.” To this end, Broyles recently received a grant to grow sandalwood. She plans to plant five to eight acres of sandalwood on the Big Island.
Hana Nai’a is available online at hananaia.com. Prices range from $30 – $145.
– Paula Rath
Art by Wendy Hiraoka

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