Soulful venture: Kama Lindsay didn’t know what pandemic had in store when she opened shop, but she’s persevered

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Located at 38 Waianuenue Avenue, Soul Crafters offers resale clothing, vintage furniture and local artisan gifts, such as pottery, art and jewelry

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Kama Lindsay opened Soul Crafters, an upscale, secondhand clothing store in Hilo, in the midst of the pandemic.

Editor’s note: Only the brave would dare to open a small business during a global pandemic. This is the first story in a four-part series that celebrates entrepreneurs who launched their ventures under the shadow of COVID-19.

A global pandemic couldn’t stop Hilo resident Kama Lindsay from bringing her 25-year-old dream to life.

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In May, Lindsay opened Soul Crafters, a secondhand clothing and furniture shop on Waianuenue Avenue in downtown Hilo.

Lindsay began moving toward her goal last December when she started collecting clothing, furniture and accessories while researching spaces in which to open her dream store.

“I have had this idea for a store for 25 years, and finally I just decided to do it,” Lindsay said. “When I found a perfect spot, I signed the lease in January and began creating a unique space.”

Before the realization that the spread COVID-19 would become a global pandemic, Lindsay’s plan was to open Soul Crafters on April 3. When Gov. David Ige shut down the state on March 25, those plans quickly changed.

“At first this was scary, but it did give me more time to get ready,” Lindsay said. “I ended up doing most of the work inside myself. I painted, rearranged, picked up new items, so it was a productive time.”

After Ige eased restrictions for low-risk businesses in May, Lindsay made plans to open officially.

“For the first four and half months, I survived off local support, which was amazing,” Lindsay said. “My friends brought their friends, and I had decent business coming in.”

Soul Crafters sells a hodgepodge of items that Lindsay has refined and refinished. Patrons can browse through vintage furniture and upscale, secondhand clothing as well as local artisan items, such as jewelry, pottery and art.

“I think locals have liked the store, because they appreciate fair-priced, locally made clothing and art,” Lindsay said. “I think the concept works for both residents and tourists when they do come back.”

During the pandemic, Lindsay has been using her extra time to brainstorm different workshops and activities she could introduce at the store.

One of Lindsay’s ideas includes hosting a disco on the first Friday of every month, for which she has already purchased a disco ball.

“Part of the reason I opened the store was to actively bring the community somewhere,” Lindsay said. “After the pandemic, I want to have a place that has multiple uses for people and their needs.”

While things have been going relatively smoothly for Lindsay during the pandemic, the slower days cause her to doubt the success of her store. However, that uncertainty does not last very long.

“I have had a fear of this not working, but that fear quickly turns into gratitude for the customers that do show up,” Lindsay said. “I’m so thankful to the community that has helped me make this dream happen.”

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Soul Crafters is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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