May 22, 2020

Press Release

(Honolulu, May 22, 2020) — Hawai‘i based product accelerator Mana Up’s fifth cohort contains a diverse mix of companies. From locally-sourced and brewed kombucha to non-toxic nail polish that leverages a patented formula, the cohort offers a wide range of authentic Hawai‘i consumer-packaged goods. The ten companies are spread across O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. 

“We’re excited for Cohort 5, as there is an incredible mix of founders, products, and industries that have a lot of potential to grow while being based in Hawaii,” says Meli James, co-founder of Mana Up. 

This cohort will be different for Mana Up, as all workshops will be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future. “We are adjusting our program so that all of our workshop sessions will be conducted over video chat. The goal is to accomplish the magic of the community that comes together in person by facilitating creative ways for our founders to build that camaraderie and trust, as well as be able to absorb the content-filled workshops that are typical of a Mana Up program.”

The content programming will also look a little different. “E-commerce and direct to consumer marketing is more important than ever in our current environment,” James notes, “so we have increased the amount of content on digital strategies for cohort 5 companies to build their audiences and gain exposure to broader audiences.”

Mana Up provides a six-month accelerator program for Hawai‘i based product companies. Through addressing production, operation, and marketing challenges and helping to build leadership skills, Mana Up aims to elevate businesses to the next level. 

Cohort 5 includes:

  • Aloha Elixir (O‘ahu), a healing company that offers candles and sprays handmade with high vibrational oils, crystals and herbs, founded by globally-renowned Spiritual Guide and Intention Coach, Keoki Tavares, as a way to share his passion for helping others become their best selves. 

  • Aloha Modern (O‘ahu), an ocean lifestyle company that exhibits deeply rooted designs that uniquely reflect the authentic mo’olelo (stories) of Hawai’i, founded by Malia Ka’aihue and Reyn Mukawa.

  • Ao Organics (Hawai‘i Island), a beauty and skincare company offering tanning oils, serums, and other products that utilize safe and natural ingredients, founded by Chelsa Davis.

  • Haku Collective (O‘ahu)  started as a full-service music, audio, and talent production group, but has since expanded to create an extended product suite offering apparel, accessories, home goods and more, founded by grammy-nominated artist Kimie Miner and Scotty Wilks. 

  • Jules and Gem (O‘ahu), a local hand-crafted candle, diffuser, and freshener company featuring local fragrances and natural ingredients, founded by Lana Gromwald. 

  • Kapa Nui Nails (Hawai‘i Island), a line of clean, non-toxic and eco-conscious high-performance nail products for the conscious consumer, founded by Lyn and Terry Lam.  

  • Napili FLO Farm (Maui), a fresh local organic farm that produces artisanal kimchi and sauerkraut products with ingredients sourced 100% from local produce, founded by Monica Bogar.

  • Ua Body (Hawai‘i Island), a legacy Hawai’i skincare company offering lotions, soaps, and dry oils using local and natural ingredients, founded by Blaine and Leala Kusler.

  • Vitalitea (Maui), healthy and delicious kombucha and cold brew coffee brewed in Maui and sourced from local fruits, roots and herbs, founded by William Davis and Dante Valentino.

  • YIREH (O‘ahu), an ethically-made local resortwear apparel company that uses non-toxic low-impact dyes and empowers women, founded by Emily Yireh.

About Mana Up

Founded in 2017, Mana Up is an initiative to expand economic opportunity, business infrastructure, and higher wage jobs in Hawai’i. Its six-month accelerator program provides customized education and training to consumer product companies on how to scale globally through retail and e-commerce channels. Mana Up operates a retail business, House of Mana Up, to connect people to local brands. 

Mana Up’s title partner is Kamehameha Schools, founding partner DFS Hawaii and Castle & Cooke, exclusive airline partner is Hawaiian Airlines, joined by Voyager partners Ulupono Initiative, American Savings Bank, Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), Dole Plantation, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Kahala Hotel & Resort, Foodland, Shopify, Pineapple Tweed PR & Marketing, and INNOVATE Hawaii. For more information, please visit or