Browsing articles in "All in the Family"
Jan 2, 2013

The Smartest People in Hawai`i

On December 5, 1990, Brook and I officially registered Garvey + Gramann .   Shown here is the mailer we sent out (written by our friend, Brian Gallagher).  It said:

“A Woman’s Place Is In the Market”

And these two know the market inside out.  They know it doesn’t take a hundred thoursand dollars to get effective market exposure.  They know how to help an independent business grow.  They know how to identify and reach the people you really need reaching, without spending too much on too many.  Take this postcard for instance.  They didn’t just pick your name out of a hat.  And they didn’t waste a penny of your,s either.  If you could use a combined 25 years worth of experience, Gloria Garvey and Brook Gramann are right on the money.

Brian wrote an alternative one that said “Two bitches who know their shit.  They will tell you you bought the wrong media.  They will tell you your strategy is non-existent.  They will even tell you you married the wrong person…”

This past year, Garvey + Gramann paid off its last bills and closed up shop.  At one point during our career as Hawai`i’s first (and best) branding consultants, we started going to conferences on the mainland, and joined the Design Management Institute.  That is one way we became the smartest people in Hawai`i.

Our first promotional efforts relied on postcards, not exactly like the one shown here.  My husband would draw them, as cartoons, and we sent them out on holidays when people did not usually send cards:  halloween and the summer solstice to name two.  The theme was always branding, and it feautured two little Eloise-like girls shouting out the message  to our customers.  One of the postcards lead to a big job in Hilo.  Others led us to the many small businesses in the state who fly under the radar, making millions of their own dollars every year.

Previously, at big agencies, we worked with people who weren’t spending their own money.  At Garvey + Gramann  we worked with people who were — it makes a big difference.  If we were to list all of the companies that we worked with we would miss someone and have to feel guilty about it for the rest of the 21st Century.

It’s sufficient to say that over the 20 years of our business we worked with most of Hawai`i’s most famous brands, and we made a number of Hawai1i’s brands more famous.  We are really proud of our work, the results of which you can see at Pictures Plus, Kahuku Brand, Hawai`i’s Seal of Quality to name a few here — and helped launch franchises on the mainland, including Eagle Leather in Seattle and Thinkertots in New York.

In 2005 we decided to apply our knowledge and put our own money to work, to create Hawai`i’s best bath and body brand, Lanikai Bath and Body.  Eight years later, we have a very successful business, built on the knowledge we acquired and shared with others for the previous 20 years.  Well known Hawai`i ad guy Rich Peck says that we are the only people he knows in the ad biz who put their money where their mouth is.

Garvey and Gramann are still right on the money.



Dec 17, 2012

Brown Bag Christmas

Christmas Tree 2012

This year, Ian and I got our Christmas tree at Aikahi shopping center where they always have reliable, excellent trees.  If it were not for tradition, I would buy an artificial tree. The one we bought — about 9 feet — cost $235.  I have been saving up for it all year.    We drove home with the tree tied to the top of Ian’s Jeep and stopped at the drugstore … a tourist photographed our arrival because it is really hard for people who live in the cold to “get” Christmas in Hawai`i.

This year’s tree is pictured here, and while  it is pretty I think it is a control freak tree. If you can’t see what I mean .. oh well.

I went to our local crafts shop and also to our local Christmas shop and bought new ornaments because ours were getting old and tatty.  Ian and I searched all of Kailua  (via his Galaxy Note) and to our dismay there was no tinsel/garland left anywhere.  We ended up at Walgreen’s and bought the Hole-y Cows that Ellen is promoting on her show for Mark, who will torture his students with it, and Lily and Jack who will torture each other.

Among our Christmas stuff, that everyone has in an attic or an obscure closet in their house, I found a box full of ornaments in brown paper bags.  So that’s where they went!    Three or five Christmases ago, I was Christmas-ed out by the time we got our tree and Christmas Eve dinner rolled around — our tree having with just lights and tinsel/garland.

Not being a game person, I nonetheless tried to make a game out of the ornament hanging to make it look like I had planned it all along.  I bagged about fifteen bags of three ornaments each and told my guest that they were  to pick a bag and help decorate the tree.  Of course, only one person followed suit, the good-hearted ever-faithful Elizabeth Lee, sister-in-law and mother of my nephew Lee Garvey.  No one  else even thought it was funny.

Oh well.  This year, found again, I un-bagged the ornaments and discovered that I had plenty of nice ornaments and didn’t have to buy new ones at all.  Oh well, again.

Mark has a field day every Christmas with this story.  I still don’t see why everyone didn’t want to help, since we had made a huge dinner as we have done for oh so many years.  Oh well.

Dec 15, 2012

The F.I.W. (Ferociously Independent Woman)

This blogpost is a proposal for a new ongoing character (in the tradition of “Gilly”) for Saturday Night Live:  The Ferociously Independent Woman.  More or less based on a true story,The Ferociously Independent Woman is a character for our times ~ where women have scaled the heights, broken through the glass ceiling, had children on their own and even conquered technology .

Back Story

The Ferociously Independent Woman spent her grown up life as a single woman, toppling men of every stripe in her ladder climb to the top of her career.  Though she “dated” countless men, and even lived with one or two, she was convinced that no man could match her ferocity.  She preferred to put her feet up and, counterintuitively, watch The Bachelor.

The skills she acquired as the Big Boss stand her in good stead now that she has amassed her fortune and left the workaday world in the dust.  In fact, she calls on these skills whenever she is faced with a person she wishes to vanquish, treating them as if they were someone she was firing.  Feigning  kindness, she is sure to include a short story for the victim, at least giving them a metaphor to take with them when she ushers them out the door.

First Appearance

Recently The Ferociously Independent Woman was dining with a man she had yet to break bread with.  At the conclusion of the meal, he picked up the check, which was nice ~ but it posed a real problem for The Ferociously Independent Woman.  Did he think he was on a date with her? She vowed to disabuse him of the idea if he dared ask her out again.  And ask her out again he did.

It was at this juncture that she informed him that she was a  Ferociously Independent Woman.  Should he not allow her to pick up half the cost of the upcoming dinner, it would most definitely not take place.  Still not cowed, the gentleman agreed,and stealthily gave the waiter his credit card before The Ferociously Independent Woman could open her purse.   Further, he had the audacity to put his hand on her shoulder as they entered the restaurant, raising the hairs on her neck and alerting her to the dangers ahead.  It seemed rude to tell the waiter that she was not “with” her companion despite her appearance at a “deuce.”  So The Ferociously Independent Woman kept her displeasure to herself, except for the grimace that she thought passed for a smile on her face.

At dinner, The Ferociously Independent Woman spoke first, seeking to block any offensive moves by the man in question.  She told him in no uncertain terms that he could not call what they were doing a “date” (he hadn’t, but she needed to make sure) recommending instead the phrase “hanging out.”  It was just the beginning of her attempt to gain the control she had in all other areas of her life.

Wine was served.  After a couple of glasses, our Ferociously Independent Woman raised the bar.  Upped the ante.  Spoke her truth.  Reminding him that she was a Ferociously Independent Woman, she sought to generalize her message (as she had been taught in management school), hoping that he would recognize the personal message within.

“Do you realize,” she said, “That if a man were to try to date me, it would be as if he had never learned how to swim and he decided to go diving on the Great Barrier Reef.  Do you realize what would happen?” she went on, leaving him breathless with no time to answer. “He would either be eaten by a shark or get the bends.”

To make sure he understood, she lowered the hammer, declaring  ferociously: “I am the Great Barrier Reef.”   It was only after she got home that the The Ferociously Independent Woman realized she had overstated her case and that, perhaps, she herself wasn’t such a catch as she earlier thought.  Still, she knew the man could not resist the challenge and that he would ask her out again …

Tune in next Saturday to see The Ferociously Independent Woman intimidate the tomato man at the Farmer’s Market.


Dec 14, 2012

Rose Beranbaum: Queen of Baking

Rose and Me. I looked better in tiny iphone photo.

Today I went to a presentation by Rose Levy Beranbaum, the Queen of Baking… she of The Cake Bible, Roses’ Christmas Cookies, The Bread Bible and The Pie and Pastry Bible… at Leeward Community College.  They have a dynamite culinary program, headed up by Dave Maruyama, the former corporate chef for D.K. Kodama, owner of D.K. Steakhouse and Hiroshi (among others) in Hawai`i.

Rose gave a two hour cooking class and we sampled her Golden Lemon Almond Cake and her Deep Chocolate Passion Cake.  Onolicious, as we say here in the islands.  During her presentation, Rose told a great number of humorous stories, making specific points all along.  When questions were asked, she answered “What was your biggest influence on cooking?” by saying “Buddha.”  She was only partly joking.

She told a wonderful story about baking with her nephew who asked, when counting time, if he “counted faster, will it speed up the process?”  Baking is good for children–  because it teaches them “science, math and patience”

Evidently, when she started baking, most people (read: everybody) used baking chocolate, but she and one other person actually used Lindt chocolate bars when cooking.  When she told the store owner what she was going to use the Lindt chocolate for — baking — he didn’t understand why she wanted to use an expensive chocolate bar to cook with … Come to think of it,  I have not noticed “baking chocolate” in the baking section lately … it might be there, but I would never think of using it.

Rose and I go back a long way, without either of us knowing it.  She used to babysit for my boarding school roommates’ siblings, and made a lovely wedding cake at Mary Goodbody’s daughter, Laura’s wedding.  It was an exact replica of Laura’s grandparents’ cake … which Rose replicated from a photo — and it was beautiful.

I took copious notes, because Rose was full of excellent advice, which I share here:

  • Don’t bend down to your work, bring it up to you.
  • Don’t completely melt sugar in glazes, and it will give a “crusty” taste to your cake
  • Use an electric sifter, but don’t sift to integrate dry ingredients because it doesn’t work.  Mix them with your whisk in the bowl.
  • She does not beat whites separately for the Deep Chocolate Passion Cake — she puts them into the batter and then “beats it like hell.”  It looks like a pancake batter but rises beautifully.  I saw it with my own eyes!
  • Ganache takes hours to cool
  • Straining ganache makes it silky
  • Slivered almonds turn into paste easily
  • With the exception of chocolate cakes, she now uses non-stick pans without greasing and flouring them
  • She uses a “silicone rubber band” around cake pans to achieve a better result
  • Japanese “Wasambon” cake sugar is made soft and silky by hand massaging.  She witnessed it being done — simply spinning it in a Cuisinart does not reduce its size because sugar is such a strong crystal

P.S.  The seminar was put on by the Hawaii Culinary Foundation (I think that’s it) and Hayley Matson-Mathes who did a spectacular job organizing, and making it happen.    Local Levy-Beranbaum fanatic Hector Wong provided the kitchen equipment.

Dec 11, 2012

The Green Puff

Can you feel it. Can you feel it?

Today is my brother Don’s 62nd birthday. I am lying under a duvet, the first I have owned, because I am informed that the Green Puff is no longer serviceable. I have a cold and I am feeling bereft.

One of the best things about our childhood, the Green Puff, is in a state of serious decline. But I could never abandon the Green Puff. So I will find someone to sew up the rips in it, and I will take it to another dry cleaner who will tell me it will disintegrate if they try to clean it.

We lived in Denver as kids and just about this time of year, the Green Puff would appear on our parents’ bed. It never occurred to us that they might use the Green Puff, we considered it our domain.  Exclusively.

Resembling but bettering your average counterpane, the Green Puff is a 8′ x8′  blanket of emerald green velvet luxury.  Denver  was more than fifty years ago.

When my father died, Don got the Green Puff. It might be Green Puff II but I know it is at least thirty, maybe even forty years old…In a truly heroic gesture, Don gave me the Green Puff on my fiftieth birthday:  a giant bankie.   Thirteen years later, we are retiring the Green Puff… But I will not get rid of it, no matter what.

It is the very definition of a comforter. It has comforted me through many a night … cold and not so cold. It has seen me through good times and bad times.  I have had a cold under the Green Puff.  I have been depressed under the Green Puff.  I have been hung over under the Green Puff.  From childhood to adulthood, it has been my friend.

My husband has been patient with me until now, when we have gotten the marital duvet…which reminds him of his childhood, of good times and bad, of sickness and sadness, and no doubt, of being hung over,


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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