What started as a hobby for Louisiana native, Omar Girona, has turned his love for making tiki glasses into a six-figure business.
“Once I found out about the mugs, I started creating them on my own in my house," Girona said. " And somehow, I've expanded the business into what it is today.”
Self taught through books and the internet, Girona was able to start his small business, Oakwash Tiki Mugs, in his own backyard just two years ago.
Girona says, “And since last Summer I’ve been full time and I now employ another person with me.”
Since starting his business, Girona has expanded into a workshop located in his backyard.
He says the want for the handmade mugs demanded more space than what he was originally working with.
“My own personal stuff on top of client work, which is what you're seeing here, is just, can be massive," Girona explains. " We're talking thousands of mugs a year and this is me in my first year doing this.”
The small business has seen sales skyrocket over the past year and are happy to see such appreciation for the tiki community.
Oakwash mugs have been shipped worldwide and are even available for purchase at Disney World.
“ You know a year ago this was just a hobby,” Girona says. “ The interest was growing and growing and the pandemic and all of this stress that it brought along with it helped me push myself to go full time.”
Girona says the pandemic brought Oakwash a new set of clients.
People working on their own home bars and bars coming out of the pandemic wanting mugs flocked to the Louisiana based business.
Girona explains, “ It's very interesting to say the least. There’s its ups and downs. It's a different kind of business having a small ceramics business.”
With only two people creating the mugs, there can be some backorder.
Sometimes mugs can take up to three months to arrive, but Girona says the process is worth the wait.
“The biggest problem I have is, you have to find a good balance because you want to make something that's really good that people want to hold," Girona explains. " But you don't want to make something that’s too outrageous to where it's difficult to make a lot of.”
While Oakwash has made a name for itself, Girona has big plans for the future of his small business.
Girona says, “In five years, I'd love to have officially licensed merchandise sold throughout theme parks. I'd love to you know continue making for bars across the united states and I would love to keep myself and the people I have employed.”
You can check out Oakwash's collection of handmade mugs at www.oakwash.com