We had the good fortune of connecting with Amelia Butler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amelia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I wanted to start my own business but I wasn’t sure what kind of business to start so I began thinking about what I was good at. Something that came to mind was being able to speak the Māori language. (Māori is the indigenous language of New Zealand.) I decided to purse this idea and posted in a few Facebook groups of New Zealanders living in the US to see if anyone would be interested in learning Māori. From those posts I got 4 responses from people who were interested in learning so I created a Māori language curriculum and started teaching Māori via video chat. My first 1-on-1 student was a Kiwi guy living in Seattle, WA. My first group of students was 10 kiwis living in New York!
What should our readers know about your business?
Kia ora everyone! My name is Amelia and I share the Māori culture and language to learners living abroad. I offer Māori language courses, haka and poi workshops and Māori cultural classes. I also lead a traditional Māori performance group. The main thing that sets me apart from others is that I am the only Māori person teaching the language, haka and culture here in the USA. I am proud to be sharing my culture abroad and giving others the opportunity to connect with our culture. I am also grateful to give other Māori living overseas the opportunity to reclaim our cultural heritage and identity and heal from generational trauma by learning our language and our traditional dances. I got where I am today from building a network on Facebook and taking opportunities when they came to me. I am now expanding my business and bringing on a couple of new teachers to teach my classes so I can step back into more of a managerial role. It took a lot of hard work and effort in the beginning but now all the work is paying off and people reach out to me (instead of the other way around!). I’ve learned that consistency over time and providing a high quality service is the key to a successful businesses. I have also learned that niche businesses are the way to go! I want the world to know that it is possible to build the business of your dreams and that you can really create a business from whatever you are most passionate about.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting and we were not in a global pandemic I would take them for a trip up the California coast! California has so many great outdoor spots to explore as well as beach side locations. I would also take them to the museums here in LA and the botanical gardens. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my Shoutout to my mother, June Grace Wells, who is the reason I am doing what I am doing today, my Kapa haka group, Ngā Ānahera Māori and my te reo Māori (Māori language) students!