Surfing is the ultimate lifestyle sport for nature lovers. There’s nothing quite like the experience of an epic surf session with close friends in the pristine beauty of the ocean. Is it any wonder that many surfers become eco-entrepreneurs committed to preserving our environment?
When it comes to greener home living, we’ve made it our mission to bring you eco-friendly products that don’t sacrifice design or functionality. So when it came to furnishing our corporate beach getaway, we needed to solve our surfboard storage problem while being eco-friendly at the same time.
Fortunately we came across Hawaiian Gun Racks — a company committed to sustainable production and the highest quality style and design. We sat down with their founder, Dennis Kahn, on what it means to be an eco-entrepreneur and how you can get started on your path to environmental-enlightenment.
Conscious Connection: It’s great to be with you Dennis. Tell us what inspired you to start Hawaiian Gun Rack?
Dennis Kahn: I lived in a small apartment and I needed something that looked nice and wouldn’t take up any space. When I went looking on the market I discovered there was nothing at the time that had any aesthetic appeal nor were they compact. Most were made of plastic, solid wood or metal and they stuck out too far from the wall. So I decided to make my own.
I have always been earth conscious so I used materials that were eco-friendly and made a set for myself. I wanted something that would fit into my living space that would accent the board as I’ve always thought they were art pieces in them selves. So I decided on a design that was functional and attractive. If you notice it almost makes the board look like it’s freely suspended on the wall. It wasn’t until my neighbor came over and saw them and commented …”where did you get those, I’d buy 2 of them”… that I started to think about making them to bring to market.
Conscious Connection: Tell me about your company’s commitment to sustainability.
Dennis Kahn: From day one during the designing of the manufacturing process I wanted to make something that would be sustainable. I took about 8 months to figure out the best process and a lot of research to develop a product using materials that would be earth friendly. When I first started bamboo didn’t come in the thin plys that I needed and it wasn’t till about two years ago when the thin plys became available, and, lucky for me, it fit right into my manufacturing process. Now it’s a matter of educating people that the added cost is worth our future. I’ve always maintained I like to play in the earth, but if we don’t protect it, there won’t be an earth to play in.
Conscious Connection:Why do you feel it is important that more people learn to live eco-conscious lives?
Dennis Kahn: I think the biggest challenge is educating people on the power of your purchasing dollar. That is what you use to vote with in helping to maintain a healthy planet. If more people purchase the more expensive option right now, then as production increases – costs come down. That’s a win/win for everybody and more importantly for our children. If you remember when cell phones first came out they were going for $600 on average …now you can get them for $200.
Conscious Connection:What’s in store for the future of Hawaiian Gun Rack?
Dennis Kahn: We are looking to be a portal to sustainable products. We are actively searching for small companies like us to partner with to sell their earth friendly products. And we are constantly educating ourselves to discover the newest materials and manufacturing processes using FSC labeled wood and Bamboo materials for all of our designs. We are currently trying to launch our new Bamboo SUP Rack and we have a bike rack and floor stand in R&D. We hope to bring all of these to market by next year.
Conscious Connection: Give me one piece of advice for our readers also looking to succeed as eco-entrepreneurs.
Dennis Kahn: Don’t be afraid to build upon an idea that will help to sustain the planet we live and play on. The more it becomes a course of habit the longer our planet will have a future.