Just as you enter the charming town of Holualoa, you will see a quaint standalone building that seems to be overflowing with plants and charm. The Kona Treehouse is a botanical boutique where you can always find plants flowers, and the perfect gift for someone…or for yourself. We interviewed owner, Mandi Post, to find out more about the Treehouse!
What has been the best part of being involved in the local business scene on Big Island?
I was born and raised here on the Big Island, so coming back after attending college and working in the “real world” is a dream come true. Small town is my scene. After being gone for almost 14 years, I felt pretty disconnected from the Kona I used to know. Starting this business has reconnected me with so many people from the past and connected me with some amazing new friends and business associates. The local businesses have been unexpectedly supportive. We share and refer – it’s how a small-town business should be!
What has been the most rewarding part of the business so far?
The most rewarding part of the business has been the reaction from my customers. It’s the absolute best feeling to have them walk in and say “wow”. I know I can’t compete with the big box stores on many levels, but I do know I can create a unique experience for my customers that keeps them coming back. The community support has been far beyond anything I expected, and it motivates me to work harder and do more. Another unexpectedly rewarding aspect is that people want to work here! While I know other businesses are struggling to find help, I’ve been able to hire an incredible staff that work so hard and treat this business like their own. I don’t take that for granted!
In addition to sales, what other services do you have at the shop (customized floral arrangements, floral arrangements for events, workshops, etc..)?
We have offered a number of classes including lei po’o (head lei), wreath making during the holidays, paint and sips, and will be adding more to the calendar this year, including lauhala weaving and vase arranging. We have standard arrangements and bouquets on the website, but also accept custom orders and small weddings. We are also just starting to get into interiorscaping where we help customers find the perfect plants and vessels for their homes.
Where did the idea for Kona Treehouse come from?
After leaving my corporate job in 2010, with my husband’s help, we opened a coffee shop and coffee roasting business. We came up with the name Treehouse Coffee Company after a visit home and to the Royal Kona Museum and Coffee Mill. We were inspired by their treehouse in the midst of coffee country. The name has worked its way through every business since. My husband and I moved back to Kona in 2014, shortly after our first daughter was born and after selling our second business venture, a craft beer and wine bar in San Diego. We worked for my family’s coffee company once we got here (and still do), Hualalai Estate, but the entrepreneur in me was always nagging. Mid-COVID, I convinced my friend and fellow boss lady, Jada Holt, to rent me a little space under her boutique, Ginger and Koi. I didn’t have a business plan or even a solid idea of what I was doing with the space. I just knew Holualoa was where I wanted to be to get inspired and create something. I opened just weeks later, and the business has been evolving ever since. I made an immediate connection with a protea farm in Ocean View and have been lucky to get first pick of their farm’s offering ever since. I also started with a small plant selection, and learned very quickly that COVID had created so many avid plant enthusiasts! I spent a lot of time researching and sourcing rare and unique plants. I love finding (or propagating) that wishlist plant for my customers and the shop has, over time, morphed into the botanical boutique it is now.
Since we are a Real Estate firm – weʻd love to know, what are your top plant recommendations for inside homes (for both sunny and shaded spots)?
I am loving the burgundy ficus at the moment. It brings a bold and dramatic color to any space, while also being super hardy (can survive in low light and low water conditions – though will thrive best in bright, indirect light with weekly watering). Hoyas of any variety are another favorite because of their durability and magical blooms. They blush when “sun stressed”, but are also great indoors and can take a bit of neglect on the watering front – always a great quality in a plant!