It isn’t end of the road for this Homer business
Abigail Kokai had a dream of creating a “Wishing Whale” for the Homer Spit after being inspired by whale watching around Kachemak Bay. When a friend gave her a pair of jeans to repurpose, her dream became a reality as she began creating unique, soft-form, decor whales by hand. Incorporating recycled materials and delightful local touches showcase an underlying dedication to small businesses in the region and a commitment to being Made in Alaska. Though Homer is famously referred to as the “End of the Road,” with a spark of inspiration and creativity, HomerWhales is a business just getting started.
Abigail began working with her business advisor, Mr. Bryan Zak, in Homer to better understand the process of starting a business. About her journey so far she shared, “I began work on a business plan and obtained information about crowdfunding and marketing. I attended an online course written by an SBDC Advisor through “crowd funding university” and then successfully launched my first crowd funding campaign. I continued to work on my business plan as well as the integrated financial model and participated in the 2016 InnovateHER Challenge hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the 2016 American Dreams product pitch challenge hosted by the Home Shopping Network, where I met with a regional SCORE mentor. Having a business advisor in my rural location to share my ideas with has greatly assisted me in my business growth and the challenges that I have faced. My next step is international marketing and through my SBDC Advisor I have been introduced to the U.S. Commercial Services.”
In April, HomerWhales received national recognition as an American Small Business Champion by SCORE Mentors and has continued to grow and make an impact. As a business inspired by natural beauty and wildlife, it comes as no surprise that 5% of annual profits are donated to the North Gulf Oceanic Society to protect the whales of Alaska. To connect with Abigail and take home a Homer Whale of your own, visit the website, Etsy shop, and Facebook. Also, don’t miss out on #whalecrushwednesday on the Homer Whales Instagram!