Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HATSA Guam Raises the Bar in Wellness and Fitness

By: Denise Mendiola
Senior Business Advisor/WIB Program Coordinator
(Guam SBDC)

After years living and working in Las Vegas, Inarajan native, Ray Chargualaf Jr. decided to pack up his growing family and move back home. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology, a Master’s Degree in Sports Education and Leadership and business ownership experience, it was only natural that Ray would eventually start his own business on Guam. Ray observed that there was a huge need to help people who were not meeting their fitness and wellness goals. He saw a specific niche that he believed was not available and knew that with his experience as a professional trainer, he could bring value to the community.  This was the beginning of HATSA Guam: Helping.All.Types.Sizes.Ages.  

When going into business, it is always best to use your strengths and do something you know.  Ray has lectured Fortune 500 companies on wellness and worked for some of the most well respected physical trainers in Las Vegas.  He quickly had a following of loyal clients and his reputation as an effective trainer spread.  One of his biggest career highlights was training multiple contestants on NBC’s Biggest Loser.  With all of this experience under his belt, Ray felt confident that he could provide a unique service after identifying his target market on Guam. Ray sought the assistance Denise Mendiola, Senior Business Advisor, at the Guam Small Business Development Center. “The SBDC helped me become more organized and structured with a sense of direction. It's a service I would recommend to those that need business advice.” 

While some may find business start-up daunting, Ray found the process fairly simple. “Because of my previous business experience, the licensing and permitting was not a difficult process. I used whatever cash I had to start up which wasn't much. I wanted to prove my model worked before I committed to the business long term. I had no intention of ever getting a loan because starting with debt is not the best way to become successful.”  With every new business comes challenges. Ray soon realized that the biggest challenge he faced starting up was convincing his customers that they didn’t need infrastructure, equipment, or amenities to provide his service.  “Many people need to see tangible items to know where exactly their money is being spent and I can understand that, but we were out to provide an experience. After only 2 weeks, we expanded our customers by 300%.”

Business ownership means there will be risks and rewards.  Ray shared that his most memorable triumph in the start-up process was introducing his corporate wellness program with Bank of Guam. After Ray announced the launch of his new business, the bank reached out to him after only 2 days to start an account. From there business grew to 4 more new corporate accounts. 

Ray Chargualaf has a clear vision for HATSA Guam. “Our short term plan is to launch our second phase to our program within the next couple weeks to provide a full service commodity. Our long term plan is to have a permanent infrastructure to house all of our services to our customers. My advice to others looking to start their own business is to not be afraid to take risk. Be confident and trust the process.” For more information on HÅTSA Guam, visit their FaceBook page: or e-mail 

Monday, May 8, 2017

ChamGlam Botanika: Infusing Local Herbs and Flowers into Eco-conscious Beauty Products

ChamGlam Botanika products: PC - Jess Merrill
ChamGlam Botanika is owned by Ursula Herrera and PJ San Nicolas, who have extensive experience in herbalism and agriculture.  After 13 years in Seattle, Ursula decided to return to Guam and learn more about the plant medicine of her MotherIsland. Upon returning, she quickly immersed herself in the perpetuation of åmot Chamoru. She aligned herself with the Håya Foundation, which is a local non-profit organization that focuses on perpetuating the traditional plant medicine of Guam and the Marianas, and began her beloved apprenticeship with local herbal healers, suruhånu/a (yo’åmte). Being a lover of all things holistic and nature based, making local infused flower oils and flower tinted lip stains became an avid interest. By combining her expertise of plant medicine and love of luxurious eco-conscious beauty products, ChamGlam was born.

PJ San Nicolas received his B.S. in Tropical Agriculture in 2015. He has also been working with the Håya Foundation as its nurseryman for their medicinal plant inventory. He has always had a strong entrepreneurial desire to own his own business. He also uses his experience and knowledge in purchasing farming land and engineering a design to grow ChamGlam’s ingredients locally. They have a two year old son named Ifit. He loves cookies, kådu, and picking flowers for Mama.

Why did you decide to start your own business?
We decided to start this business because we want to provide luxurious, eco- conscious botanical skin care using the plant essences found here on our beautiful island. Accessibility of organic skincare products to our local consumers and a fair trade sourcing of plants is important to the health of our community. In the end we harvest local herbs and flowers to create a product that our consumers can trust. Farm-to-Face.

What experience do you have in this type of business?
I have a BSc. in Herbal Science and a love for wild crafting plants and formulating medicinal tinctures and tea blends. Making lip balms, hydrosols, and infused body oils was always a side hobby. We can have the best of both worlds, eco conscious beauty products and embrace current beauty trends, without compromise. Green beauty means a cleaner lifestyle as nature intended. From skincare to foods, we must care for our island sustainably for future generations. By nourishing ourselves, we can then nourish our community.

Owners PJ San Nicolas and Ursula Herrera
How did the Small Business Development Center and other resources help you?
They helped us focus our ideas and streamline the whole process. They were never intimidating. After each class, we felt our dreams becoming a reality. Empowering, really! Denise Mendiola and the GUMA team made themselves available to answer any questions we had. Their guidance and valuable advice helped quell any doubt and gave us the confidence to make our dreams come to fruition.

What was the start-up process like? How did you fund your business?
We participated in the GUMA (Guam Unique Merchandise and Arts) Program in January 2016, which lasted 12 weeks. Together with SBDC, GUMA mentored us to create our business plan and business model. They helped shape our ideas and conceptualize the final product. We made it through to GUMA’s version of ‘shark tank’ and through the GUMA Program for cultural producers, ChamGlam Botanika got funded.

What were some of the biggest challenges/experienced you experienced in the start-up process?
Self-doubt. But every Saturday, we were re-inspired. We were surrounded by amazing artists who were just as committed and so encouraging. The camaraderie and inafa’maolek spirit won. There was no room for self-doubt. Only ways to become better. There were times when the whole process was intimidating and daunting, but the hands on experience and the guidance received was immeasurable. There were no wrong or dumb questions. SBDC and GUMA reiterated that even if you didn’t make the incubation program, you’d still be able to take your business plan to a bank, CONFIDENTLY!

What is your most memorable triumph in your start-up process?
There was this one team exercise where I was able to actually see the concept that lived in my head, come to life. It was illustrated so beautifully by my classmate Amber. I was so emotional! The design concept changed and evolved since then, but it was at that moment that I knew that this daydream was going to come true. Oh and the day we got the call that ChamGlam Botanika was going to get funded! Yay! We made it through shark tank, or dolphin tank!

What are your short-term and long-term plans for your business?
Short term- Getting the word out to our local community that we have an eco-luxe product. We want to provide our community with nontoxic alternatives to everyday beauty products, and be the inspiration to making cleaner and greener choices.

ChamGlam Botanika products: PC - Jess Merrill
Long term- Creating more skincare products to fit our eco conscious lifestyle and needs. Guåhan’s healing flora has a place in the green beauty world. ChamGlam aims to showcase our eco paradise life beauty internationally.

What advice would you give to others who want to start a business at this time?
This all really started with a daydream. If you wake up every day thinking of owning your own business and it consumes you, do it! Our island has so much amazing talent and inspiring ideas. Don’t hold back. We need to invest more into our local economy. Supporting local is the best way we can ensure a sustainable

Guåhan for our nenis. Invest your amazing ideas into Guåhan. We have the resources right here on our beautiful island to guide you. Make your daydreams come true!

You can find ChamGlam Botanika products at the GUMA Gallery in Chamorro Village from Monday thru Saturday between 10am – 6pm, Wednesdays are open until 9pm; and Sundays from 10am – 3pm.