Products Inspired By Kauai
Debi Dill’s Products
Please tell us about your business. I sell a variety of different products, like monoi oil, which is infused coconut oil, jellies and syrups, and cowboy silhouettes. Because Kauai is so diverse, you need a variety of products.
What is monoi oil? It is a process of infusing fragrances like pikake flowers or vanilla beans into coconut oil and then aging it. You strain it afterward, and then it’s ready to be bottled. It’s a time-consuming process, but the scent’s incredible. When you’re using something on your body, you need something mild that isn’t an overpowering fragrance.
What is it used for? Your body and hair. It’s for various things, like sunburns, massage, dry skin or a hot-oil treatment for your hair. It will put so many nutrients back into your body. Coconut oil itself is very rich in nutrients.
How did you come up with this product idea? People in the tropics always have used coconut oil. I don’t like the smell of pure coconut oil, so I tried infusing it with other smells. I grow vanilla beans, and I started incorporating them into the oils. I’ve been working on this for several years because I didn’t want to just throw something out there into the marketplace — I wanted it to be a good product. And so I’ve been testing it to make sure the smell wasn’t too strong or mild.
Where can people purchase this product? Right now it’s in four stores: Pohaku T’s in Koloa, Puahina in Hanapepe, Fabric Art in Nawiliwili, and Earth and Sea Gallery in Kapaa. I only want to put this product in one store in each town; I think it’s a special product, and I want to keep it that way.
When did you start this business? Debi Dill’s Products started about three years ago, but I’ve been doing craft fairs for 25 years on Kauai.
Why did you start making crafts? Kauai is a very creative place. You can walk in your backyard and make something from nothing; all you have to do is open up to the experience. That’s how I come up with half of my products.
What was the first product you ever made? Strawberry with Lilikoi Seed Jelly and Surinam Cherry. Those went crazy, and I started making all kinds of jellies and syrups and sold them at craft fairs.
They always went so fast, and I began getting clients who wanted me to just sell them cases.
What’s been your favorite product throughout the years? Kauai Monoi Oil.
Why do you do what you do? I like interacting with people on something that interests me that I think they’ll enjoy also.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? The joy from knowing that people actually like my stuff. It’s kind of a nice feeling.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? Being nervous about how big you can get so fast and trying to be mentally prepared for things like that.
What makes you get up every day and go to work? I like to see what the day brings. Every day something is happening with the oil, people are really interested in it and that’s got me going. It’s an exciting adventure.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d be retired. My dream is to spend more time with my husband Odie, because all we do is work. We also have a road construction business, Kauai Seal Coating.