Our Islands, Our Future

Graphic design artist Lyndon Dela Cruz was amongst the 12 Molokai vendors attending the first-ever Made in Maui County Festival held November 7-8 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. “This is awesome. I’m learning a lot,” Dela Cruz said during a break between steady downpour and customers visiting him under a tent. The festival drew more than 9,000 people to the MACC where Dela Cruz said he grew more confident about his fledgling small business.

Supported by his family and his wife, Janis, Lyndon Dela Cruz launched Lanakila Designs two years ago on Molokai. He creates and produces customized graphic designs that can be placed on a variety of items from cars to coolers, water glasses to school folders, and even boats. The Dela Cruzes had built and closed other small businesses including a pet store and a moving and storage service. In every instance, Dela Cruz said he learned to adjust to the market and his customers’ needs while pursuing what he found fun and interesting. “You’re not going to know whether it’s a bad idea or not unless you try,” Dela Cruz said. His latest venture represents a business pursuit that uses his lifelong love for art. “It’s my passion,” said Dela Cruz, one of only two licensed tattoo artists on Molokai. He said he accepted the invitation to show off his graphic designs at the Made in Maui County Festival to get exposure and to test the interests on Maui for his work. “I’m getting orders and it’s really nice to see people like what I have,” he said about the reaction he received at the festival.

Frank R. De Rego Jr., director of Business Development Projects at Maui Economic Development Board, served on the Event Committee for the Made in Maui County Festival. Organizers said they planned to do a post-event survey with the 130-plus vendor participants, and that another festival for 2015 was very likely.