Owner, A Honu Space LLC
YWahine In Business Financial Accelerator participant
Culinary arts and decluttering converge in Belia Paul’s world as a private chef and professional organizer on Maui. A graduate of the culinary arts program at the University of Hawaii, Maui College, Belia has spent two decades establishing herself in the culinary world, participating in competitions, and thriving as both a successful caterer and food truck operator.
In 2019, life took an unexpected turn when Belia’s grandmother became ill and passed away, leading her to discover a new calling. "I found that I was able to help people declutter. Family dynamics happen when you have a death in the family. I was able to be a neutral person who could communicate with everyone," Belia explained. This experience ignited a passion for decluttering after bereavement, leading her to officially launch A Honu Space LLC in November 2019.
What sets Belia apart is her commitment to sustainability and community service. Collaborating with 15 nonprofit organizations on Maui, she ensures that items find new purpose instead of ending up in landfills. Belia goes beyond the conventional boundaries of her profession, dedicating 20 percent of her time to working with those who cannot afford her services, including the unhoused and displaced families from the recent wildfires.
Belia’s unique approach extends beyond the physical act of decluttering; it encapsulates a heartfelt dedication to making a positive impact in people’s lives. Her collaboration with nonprofits and the allocation of her time to those in need reflect a business model that prioritizes compassion and community welfare. “People hold onto things because it’s good stuff. I guarantee them that it’s not going in the garbage, that it’s going to someone who wants or needs it. That helps them to let go,” Belia passionately explains, highlighting the transformative power of her holistic approach to decluttering and service.
As a woman entrepreneur, Belia acknowledges the challenges, especially in the culinary world where recognition tends to favor men. Yet, with determination and the support of her network, she has carved a space for herself. “Integrity, doing what you say you’re going to do, is the key to being successful and recognized by your peers and community,” she said. Belia isn’t just building a business; she’s creating a path for other aspiring women entrepreneurs through her advising and consulting roles.
Reflecting on her journey, Belia finds immense pride in the transformations she brings to people’s lives. “The relief that has happened, the transformation that’s been made in their home is so rewarding to me every single time that I pull away,” she noted. Her business, she emphasizes, is more than a service; it’s a lifeline for those seeking positive change.
Belia’s unwavering commitment to personal and professional growth guided her to the MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center, unveiling new possibilities. She applied for and was accepted into the YWahine In Business Financial Accelerator, instructed by Mariko Gordon, which has become a pivotal experience that has ushered in a much-needed shift in her mindset. Reflecting on this transformative journey, Belia expressed, “I had been working with a business coach for a few months before discovering this program. I was struggling to accept some of her candid observations due to those things being very important to me. In the very first class with Mariko, she said some things that were the complete opposite of what the business coach had said, and that was a complete relief to me because I felt like I was failing terribly. Mariko reworded things and made me feel so relieved and relaxed that I was on the right track. Her approach has been uplifting and kind. She’s matter-of-fact yet educates you in the financial part of your business. Her approach is thorough but soft at the same time. I’m learning so much about the financial side and the inner workings of how to feel comfortable in your business. I don’t feel like such a failure now.”
Looking ahead, Belia’s focus remains on brand recognition and creating a sustainable business model. She aspires to generate enough revenue to cover all costs, extending her services to those who cannot afford them. However, she isn’t chasing an empire; instead, her goal is to build a business that offers free services while maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle.
To her fellow woman entrepreneurs and small business owners, Belia offers the following advice: “Trust your intuition and set boundaries. It’s super important to be ok with stepping outside of the box and knowing whether something feels right to you. Don’t get railroaded and taken advantage of. Especially as women business owners, we tend to want to accommodate at the sacrifice of our own self.”