By Léo Azambuja


Crush Boutique — love at first sight

You’ll love Crush at first sight, or at least you’ll have a crush on it. This tiny little boutique in Waipouli represents everything positive about Kaua‘i, its people and doing business here.

Opened four years ago by a mother-daughter team, only a couple years after a worldwide economic crisis, Crush Boutique has carved its road to success by sourcing from several local artisans and designers.

“We just went head first, dive right in with no experience,” said Dorina San Augustine, who opened Crush along with her daughter, Dana Abell, in October 2011.

IMG_8788Dorina said Dana had been asking her to go together into a business venture for quite some time, but she was reluctant about it.

“One day, I said, ‘Why don’t we try?’” Dorina said.

Throughout the years, Crush has gradually increased its inventory of locally made products. Today, the store represents many Hawai‘i clothing companies such as Pint Sized by Gina Fern, Kimi and Li Bikini, Chez Chanterelle and others.

Almost all of the jewelry available at Crush is locally made. They also have several accessories by local artisans and designers, and even the famous Secret Sauce, a Hawaiian chili pepper water sauce made on O‘ahu by Rex Moribe, a Kaua‘i boy.

But it’s just not enough for Crush.


A cigar box ukulele by Koi Ukuleles

“We’re always looking for locally made merchandise,” said Dorina, adding the store’s doors are open to represent even more local products.

This mission to promote local entrepreneurs has another positive spin. From dealing directly with artisans and designers all these years, many of them became personal friends, said Dorina.

One of the biggest rewards of her business, she said, is owning it together with her daughter, which means getting closer to her family and having a trustworthy business partner at the same time.

IMG_8789However, a mother-daughter business endeavor also has its challenges.

“Having my daughter as my business partner means I’m no longer always right,” said Dorina, smiling but 100 percent serious about it.

Crush caters mostly to women and children. The store’s name may allude to love or passion, but it was actually suggested by one of Dorina’s grandkids who watched Finding Nemo and was amused by one of the characters, a turtle named Crush.

Through ups and downs of owning a business on Kaua‘i, Crush has remained loyal to its vendors and also their local clientele: Crush offers a 10 percent kama‘aina discount every day.

To anyone wanting to open a new business on Kaua‘i, Dorina has some sound advice.

IMG_8785“I say go for it, success is opening it,” she said. “You’ve done it, you’ve reach your goal by opening a business — that’s the hard part.”

Crush Boutique is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are at Kaua‘i Village Shopping Center in Waipouli, on the same commercial complex where Safeway is, directly across the parking lot from Starbucks.

Email or call 821-0000 for more information.

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