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How a Student Made a Successful Business Through Soda

The Idea that Brought the Fizz (or the Carbonation)

Kalin Uluave and her wife picture

Kalin Uluave, an alumnus from Brigham Young University–Hawaii and 2016 Empower Your Dreams winner, had an idea fizz into his mind.

Quite actually.

With the goal of living in Hawaii permanently, with his beautiful local wife Kiana, he knew he needed to come up with a business to make this dream a reality.

Luckily, when they lived in Utah, they noticed mixed soda businesses everywhere. Not only were they everywhere, the businesses were über successful, too.

Why not bring that success to the #1 paid tourist attraction in Hawaii?

Well, they did.

With that dream in mind he came to the Willes Center for International Entrepreneurship and contacted his mentor Jason Earl–a professor of Entrepreneurship–and they went to work.

Kalin learned the not-so-easy behind the scenes work of starting a business. He learned how to create a business plan, how to properly price a product in order to make a profit (say that 10x fast), and principles of negotiation.

Kalin also learned how to navigate through and accomplish the tedious pains of paperwork like applying for a business license, a GE tax license, food handlers permit, employment papers, wholesale papers, and etc.

Kalin claims that was the most challenging part of the business creation process.

But, after countless hours of planning and paperwork, SoDa Bomb was born.

Sodabomb store picture

The Unexpected Happened in Only Seven Weeks

Shortly after SoDa Bomb opened in the Hukilau Marketplace at the Polynesian Cultural Center, customers came.

Well, that’s the humble way of saying it.

Let’s say, customers swarmed and gulped down soda, after soda, after soda.

But, SoDa Bomb also sells homemade banana bread.

Not only did customers drink, they treated themselves to fresh chocolatey banana goodness. Customers, ate, drank, and were definitely merry.

And SoDa Bomb was too.

At the start of their business, Kalin and Kiana expected to break even at 6 months.

Little did they know that their business would cut that time down by more than 50%!

In 7 weeks, SoDa Bomb broke even!

In 7 weeks.

How the Impossible Was Accomplished

Their placement was crucial for their success. Kalin knows that a large factor for their entrepreneurial success comes from their business being centered in a very touristy location. SoDa Bomb is also the only business allowed to sell mixed drinks, too.

Soda Bomb logo

Everyday, SoDa Bomb caters to roughly 300 guests! This can be attributed to the foot traffic that tourists bring, the loyalty that comes from students, and the love that comes from the local community.

The people are this company’s lifeblood. They are the real reasons for their past, current, and future success.

Most importantly, they are successful because the products they sell are real.

The soda was creatively and carefully crafted for maximum enjoyment.
The banana bread is inexcusably delicious.
They care about their customers.
They care about the community.
They share real Aloha which invites people to come back and experience that.

If you want to experience what hundreds of worldwide visitors experience everyday, stop what you’re doing right now and refresh yourself at SoDa Bomb.

SoDa Bomb was made for the soda-lover; SoDa Bomb was actually made for you.