That message, from the Samoan-owned company who turned kukui nut leis into the hottest collegiate item since sweatshirts, was borne out this week as buyers flocked by the hundreds to the only Polynesian booth at the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show in Las Vegas.
“I love this stuff!” cried a buyer from a national retail chain. “Beautiful!” cried another. “ “Perfect!” “Unique!” “My customers will love them!”
In two short days, representatives from the Utah Jazz teamed up with the company. Disney wants in. The NBA and NFL are right on their heels. Then there’s the national retail chains: Kohls, Target, Walgreens, Fred Meyers… all soon to be offering Go Nuts Kukui nut products to their customers.
The Polynesian frenzy is underway. And Samoans are finally in a position to correct some long-held misconceptions.
“Troy Polamalu?” paused one attendee, chatting with a busy Go Nuts representative. “Isn’t he from Hawaii or somewhere?”
“Nope,” smiled Tutasi Asuega. “He’s from Samoa. All the top players are!”
Tutasi’s right. At the current time, twenty-one NFL players are Samoan. That’s a staggering percentage. No wonder they call it “Football Island.”
But it’s not just misconceptions that are being cleared up. As the company takes off, Go Nuts is sharing the Polynesian culture with the entire sports licensing community.
“This is only one of many large trade shows we do,” said company president, Willie Salava’e in an exclusive interview this morning. “And since we’re usually the only Polynesian company at the shows, it’s up to us to show people just how important Samoa is to the industry.”
But there’s more to it than that. Go Nuts’ expansion has huge implications for their fellow Samoans. “We’re currently hiring Samoan college grads as our sales reps,” explained Salava’e. “Like our other reps, these well-trained professionals will know the history behind our product and have an intimate understanding of our culture. That’s what’s important to us. Anyone can make a buck selling kukui. Our mission is to share the Polynesian and Samoan cultures…and give back to our extended island family.”
Small wonder buyers at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show this week were in full agreement:
Real Fans Go Nuts!