YOU AND YOUR OHANA
What is your name?
Robert G. Kealohapumehana Domingo
Where were you raised?
O’ahu ka mokupuni, Ko’olauloa ka moku, Kaʻaʻawa ke ‘ahupua’a
Where is your ohana originally from?
Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs or have people close to you who have encouraged and supported your entrepreneurship?
My maternal grandmother was an entrepreneur. Several of my family members, her children, are in the restaurant industry, one of whom is a restauranteur. During my childhood years, my mother and her sisters were partners in a small retail business. My paternal great-grandmother owned a small general store, and my paternal grandfather at one time was a store owner. None of these relatives in particular encouraged me to do what I am currently doing, but I am grateful that they are definitely willing to share experiences with me or give me advice when I need it.
What is the name of your business?
What is the best way to contact you/your business?
Email: NuiKealohahawaii@gmail.com or Call/Text: (808)753-3132
Do you have a website? If so, please provide a link.
It’s in construction.
How long has your business been in operation?
I’ve been doing it part time for approximately 10 years. In 2019 I made the decision to go full time and formalized NuiKealoha LLC in January 2020.
Where is your business located today?
I cater all over Oʻahu but have also catered events off island.
What products and/or services does your business provide?
NuiKealoha provides event catering, meal service, food preparation for private parties, meal services for conferences and fundraisers, and more.
Please describe your business in 1-2 sentences.
NuiKealoha is a value-aligned, culturally grounded catering service that serves food with intention.
Why do you do what you do?
I love putting smiles on people’s faces and connecting them to food in a deeper and more meaningful way. I believe a meal can be more than just something to hold you over to the next one.
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
When did you first think of starting this business?
I’ve always enjoyed cooking and thought about doing it as a career since I was a teen. Over the last ten years, I have been reevaluating and adjusting my life choices and career path.
What type of experiences (education, work, life) were most important in shaping the skills you use to run your business today?
Iʻve had many influential people in my life. Becoming a father, living the past 20 years in a time of cultural rediscovery, and being reintroduced to my kupuna, Hāloanakalaukapalili, has truly enhanced my appreciation for food and our ancestral beliefs that mea ‘ai is truly sacred to us, as our lives depend on it.
YOUR BUSINESS TODAY
In what stage of development is your business: pre-formation, early stage, growing, or mature?
Iʻd like to think that my business is in the early stage/growing. Though Iʻve technically been doing this for quite some time, I don’t think I’ve truly run it as a business until recently.
Do you have employees? If so, how many?
Mainly myself, however I’m blessed with a support system of dedicated family and friends who have helped me tremendously over the years. I do hire help time-to-time.
Are you working to get your business to the next stage in development? If so, where are you in that development?
I am working very hard with guidance and support from mentors and coaches that I now have access to since being accepted into the Hawai’i Investment Ready cohort. Together, we have totally gutted and are currently rebuilding my business, from pro forma, to business plan, to bookkeeping and financial management. One of the most valuable exercises I have been through is to re-evaluate, re-emphasize, and re-prioritize my impact in the community and where I fit into the circular economy. Another key piece was recognizing the areas of improvement my business needs and then doing it!
What is the greatest challenge you have experienced as an entrepreneur?
Managing time between working IN my business and working ON my business and balancing my life as a husband, father, son, community member and advocate, and entrepreneur. Thereʻs always something to do, including self-care!
How did you overcome that challenge? (Or are you still working through it?)
Definitely still working on this! I have found pockets of free time though to accomplish simple tasks that have been bogging me down for years. I’m challenging myself and at times feel like giving up, but the struggle makes us stronger.
THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
How do you envision your business in the future?
I am carrying onward and upward. Being resilient through these difficult times is priority number one, but finding ways to build, strengthen, scale-up, and create impact is what I am aiming for.