Samoan entrepreneur seeks to inspire

Photo Credit: 
Go Nuts Kukui Website

(BASED ON PRESS RELEASE)--When Willie Salave’a accidently received a shipment of kukui nuts instead of the flower leis he was expecting, he saw a vision of a business that would not only feed his family, but honor and support his heritage. On that day Go Nuts Kukui jewelry was born. Soon after Salave’a obtained unprecedented license agreements from all of the major US sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA colleges.

It was through these licenses that Salave’a got the attention of the sports fan base as a customer pool to grow his business. More importantly, the sports licenses – particularly the NFL and big NCAA football schools – got the attention of his fellow Pacific Islanders.

Although born in America, Salave’a identifies strongly with his Polynesian heritage and his family connections to Hawaii and Samoa.

Salave'a and his family are currently on O'ahu for Hawai'i's football season opener against the USC Trojans this evening at the Aloha Stadium.

For decades Salave'a says he watched his friends and family live in poverty with the only hope, it seemed, in achieving in college and professional football.

Polynesians have an extremely high number of players, for their population size, represented in college football and the NFL. This is especially true for the islands of Samoa and Tonga.

“I love the achievements we have made in football. It fits our culture in so many ways. But the truth of it is, there is still only a small percentage of us that will make a living at it,” says Salave’a. “I want to show that we can be just a successful – more successful as a whole – in business.”

In seven years Go Nuts has grown from Salave’a selling flowers from a bicycle to a world famous brand sold in and across the US and as far as Samoa.

In 2013, the company grew into a new warehouse and expanded its product line to Polynesian lines of ear leis, tatau-inspired t-shrits and lauhala beach bags. In these items, Salave’a sees opportunity to create new businesses that once again employ and promote Polynesians.

“If I can do, anyone can. That’s the point. Stay in school and educate yourself. We have the power and ability to be professionals and businessmen.”

Visit the Go Nuts tent during UH/USC pre-game tailgate festivities (1 to 4 p.m.) at Richardson Field across from the stadium.

(Source: Go Nuts Press Release)

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