The closing of boarders has hindered the local market and economy in a profound way affecting the availability of the best products that were at arm’s length which are now in an excess of demand. With certain products in short supply, Tino along with his partner Li’ilani saw this as a prime opportunity to offer aid to the local residents by importing products at an affordable rate through online shopping. So the idea to tailor a business to match the local market demand was coined and thus the establishment of their business L&W Online Store Tonga. Since its establishment in early October 2021 Tino acknowledged the struggles it required of both himself and his partner Li’ilani to build a reputation for their business and instil trust between their online services with the community and with majority of the locals still so accustomed to face to face shopping, introducing a new way of shopping is often frowned upon. However, life and technology are shifting and evolving constantly each year and with it, they believe that ushering in a new era of shopping should be introduced to better help people access the best products easily with just a click of a button!
“A full diverse of products or just any line of products” fashion walks hand in hand with cultural development and we have witnessed, either through the history books or documentaries each generation inputting their own version of fashion into society. It would certainly explain why Toni and Li'ilani are currently receiving a number clothing orders with females being the bulk of those customer orders.
Thinking outside the box is a mindset an entrepreneur is most certainly familiar with and is a route Tino has chosen to take highlighting that they want to also cater for a variety of products to help provide better product quality for the locals, but it too comes with its sets of challenges where he explains that understanding their policy of “pay/deposit before ordering” is to be clearly noted especially with the delivery time depending on where a product is imported from.
Tonga has and is currently still witnessing countless businesses come and go due to an owner being unable to sustain or maintain it for the long run or during the “rainy days” so when asked about the longevity of their business should boarders open, Tino replied firmly, “this is for the long run”.
It is most certainly admirable to realize that there are young entrepreneurs in our midst with a passion to serve the people of Tonga during these difficult times where one would normally choose to prioritize themselves or family first. Although still in its infancy stages, Toni and Li'ilani have long term plans to expand their business to Vava’u and Ha’apai to better allow the locals in the outer islands easily access their products, in addition, to also save money. Local business is an occupation mainly dominated by seasoned entrepreneurs who certainly have experience to their advantage. It may seem like an impossible task to nudge a new business in the midst of the local business powerhouses, Tino however offers encouragement to young entrepreneurs to think outside the box and be brave.
“This is a new Gen!