We had the good fortune of connecting with Akima Kai and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Akima, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
1, I am not a customer. 2, Always need other brain to ask.
3, Forgive yourself at some point.

Since I opened my own gallery in 2019 in North Shore, Oahu Hawaii. I am learning so much from a lot of people. (Special thank you for my coworker Kit and Leina.)

1, I only choose BEST photography for me to display in the gallery, but sales associates always asked me “let us choose your photography for sale” and they always surprise me, I won’t to choose these images but when I print what I don’t like sometimes that the print sold really quick, so I am not a customer, if you don’t like something, somebody likes it. I was too stubborn to listen someone’s advice but now I try to listen other people’s opinion.

2, Two brains are always better than one brain.
When you come up some good idea, you think it’s good but before you do, ask somebody first. It will blow your mind.
I used to do the business myself, no employee or no people who I can talk about but now I have very trust two employee I can ask that helps me to be successful. If I didn’t find them, I don’t think I am at where I am now.

3, Don’t work too hard, one point you need to stop.
I do wood and epoxy work too. When I don’t like it I try to fix it but as much as I try, I will fail. As much as I try it gets worse. One point I need to forgive myself, stop and just finish the art at that point. Remember what I said “1” above? If you don’t like it still somebody will like it.
This is not for only making art. Forgive yourself before you burn out

When I was writing these, I realize these are talking about same thing. How important your friends, coworkers or family who wants to help you, who want to see you to be successful.

I really appreciate who helps me to bring where I am right now includes our customers.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an underwater photographer for 20 years. Was it easy? I would say no. I mean It wasn’t easy to keep the dream for many years. I didn’t want all my photography goes to grave without publicity. I wanted to be a “professional photographer” what is it? For me, professional photographer is who is able to make a life with photography.
I was earning money from photography but I was far from make a life with it.
After I traveled and lived in a lot of countries I moved to Hawaii and finally I opened my own gallery in 2019. When I open, to be honest with you, I didn’t expect anything. I was thinking “if my dept goes un-manageable I close it and I will quit photography. I just wanted try otherwise I will regret 5 or 10 years later.
Open in March 2019, you know what happen in 2020, it was still hard in 2021, unstable in 2022 but my gallery Waimea Blue Gallery is still surviving 🙂

Now we have return customers and local people loves us 🙂
Mhalo nui loa to all our customers!!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Kit, artists and a sales associate at Waimea Blue Gallery Leina, artist and an ex-sales associate at Waimea Blue Gallery.
Brian, who gave me very useful information to make woodwork
Our ohana (family in Hawaiian), all local artists in Waimea Blue Gallery.

Website: www.waimeablue.com

Instagram: akima_kai_photo and waimeablue

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaimeaBlueGallery

Other: other Instagram photo: akima_kai_photo wood art: akima_kai_art

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