Ka Mahina Project: Hina Circles Cohort 1


UX Design
Web Design + Build


February 2021 – Present


Hiʻilani Shibata
Talia Cardines
Alec Wagner
Ashlynn Miyashiro
Kristina Kornegay
Keoni Defranco

Story Time

We came together as a team, and launched a product in less than one month— going from concept to live sessions. Through collaboration, intentional design, and effective marketing, we were able to oversell a premium product, generating over $10,000 in revenue in one week. We were able to illustrate the magic that can happen when a cohesive design team is supported by a dedicated community.

This launch proves the demand for KMP’s product. Folks were willing to make a bet on us, spending nearly $500 on a product that has yet to be proven out, on trust alone. The community that Hiʻilani and Talia have built is undoubtedly strong, and their followers are hungry for deeper connection and knowledge.

Design Challenge

Luckily for our team, Hiʻilani (Ka Mahina Project’s co-founder) had already developed and validated the concept for the product we were to build: Hina Circles, a moʻolelo-based workshop series.

The constraints were fairly straightforward: we needed to create a scalable tech stack that would enable cohorts of folks to come together weekly for 3 months (12 sessions) over Zoom to engage in moʻolelo (story) based workshops, guided in the mahina (moon), and facilitated by program staff. We also needed to attract and onboard these first 20 participants, and develop a communication protocol.

The question we were faced with was, how might we design an (invisible) experience that is life changing for our customers and both useable & delightful for program staff? In addition, how might we attract and onboard existing community members to pilot the service? In even more addition— would folks to pay a premium price ($480) for the service without any proven track record?

The Users

Another great aspect of working with Ka Mahina Project was our access to their existing community of engaged followers. 

KMP’s first product offering was their free daily text message service which provides their 2,000+ strong userbase with advice, insights, and knowledge based in Hawaiian moon mythology and cultural practice. A few anecdotes from delighted users:

“I look forward to the texts every day, it has helped me deal with my cancer”
“We use the mahina to navigate our relationship, we’ve learned to be very sensitive to each other during the four full moons.”
“My granddaughter and I are connecting and sharing our photos of the moon, we usually don’t have too many things to talk about or relate to.”

The “Daily Manaʻo” texts not only opened up our marketing efforts to an easily accessible and “warm” audience— the SMS service that the product functions on, Community, provided us with a few key details about who our audience is:

  • 77% Female
  • 88% from Hawaii
  • Mobile users

Through direct interviews with early workshop purchasers, Hiʻilani was also able to discover insights about some folks’ motivations behind their purchase. Several folks expressed their desire to improve their ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) skills.

These insights would aid us in our process of configuring our tech stack and in optimizing our marketing efforts.

Building Phase

With our user in mind and our constraints mapped out, we were ready to get to work building the tech stack and marketing materials.

The product itself would be built using the following services/tools:

  • Mighty Networks
  • Zoom
  • Zapier
  • GMail

Mighty Networks proved to be an ideal solution all around for our needs: the platform is familiar and easy to use for folks who frequently use FaceBook and Instagram, the back-end is easy to manipulate for program staff who aren’t experienced with web apps, and it offers all of the features we needed it to including lesson building, Zoom meeting scheduling, and user-generated posts and engagement.

Zoom continues to be the best platform for videoconferencing, especially for those who have just recently entered the world of online events due to the pandemic. It also plays well with other platforms (like Mighty Networks) and allows us to record sessions for folks to view asynchronously.

Finally, Zapier + Gmail allow us to automate email communications and streamline onboarding. This allows us to create the experience of instant feedback for our customers, so that they aren’t left waiting to find out if what they just spent nearly $500 on was legit or not. Within seconds of clicking “Complete Order”, an onboarding email with actionable next steps hits their inbox. Additionally, the automation of these kinds of tasks takes pressure off of program staff.

Once we had the product figured out, we needed to market the thing! This leads us to our marketing stack:

  • Community
  • IG/FB
  • Webflow
  • HotJar
  • Proof
  • PayPal/Stripe

The funnel relied heavily on KMP’s webflow site, as that is where the course was sold. Knowing that our audience was going to be accessing the site primarily by mobile devices, I took a mobile-first approach to designing the Hina Circles landing page. In practice, this meant over-indexing on readable text, digestable content, and beautiful interactive elements like sliders and buttons.

The main purpose of the landing page was to convert users into paid customers— communicating both the value and urgency of purchasing access to the workshop series. After all, there were only 20 spots available!

We needed to ensure that once folks found their way to the landing page, either from an SMS, Instagram, or word of mouth, they would be successfully informed about the product and (hopefully) persuaded to purchase, or at least sign up for future updates.

To aid in our quest for page optimization, I employed the use of Hotjar to gain deeper insight into how folks were interacting with our content and identify potential bottlenecks. Hotjar’s heatmaps and session recordings provided valuable insights into the behavior of our site visitors. For instance, we learned that on mobile, ⅓ of our site visitors made it to the footer of the page. This insight helped inform my decision to move the text-heavy and detailed “about” section to the bottom the page in order to prioritize more digestible content, knowing that folks who were most interested in the product would find the section regardless.

Another plugin that was added to the marketing stack to optimize for conversions was Proof— a “social proof” integration that shows site visitors who else is buying the product (anonomously, but with the buyer’s city shown). This decisions was made assuming that folks considering to purchase a brand new, premium product would be less apprehensive to buy if they saw that others from around Hawaiʻi were pulling the trigger. It’s difficult to say exactly how much of an influence Proof had in driving folks to purchase, however, the analytics dashboard claims that Proof was responsible for 3 conversions (a $1,440 value).

All that was remaining for our tech stack to be complete was a payment processor that would allow folks to actually make a purchase. The team initially decided to use PayPal because the KMP team already had a PayPal account. While PayPal on it’s own worked fine as a payment processor, it didn’t come without some issues. For example, PayPal’s fraud protection— while important and useful for protecting buyers— caused us some trouble when trying to verify orders. Also, PayPal’s fees are quite high: for us, each transaction incurred a $0.49 flat fee + 3.49%. These fees are on top of Webflow’s own 2% fee for ecommerce transactions. 

I suggested that we add stripe as a payment method for two reasons: first, Stripe offered additional payment methods for customers, including Apple Pay (very convenient on mobile), and second, Stripe’s fees were lower than PayPal’s at 2.9% + $0.30. Stripe also allowed us to receive payouts quicker and the dashboard was far less clunky than PayPal’s.


    We were able to sell-out (oversell, actually) the inaugural Hina Circles Cohort, generating over $10,000 in revenue in only one week.

      Some stats from the first week:

      • 1780 first opens/visits of Hina Circle landing page
      • 48 add to cart
      • 19 purchases (1.1% conversion rate)
      • 77 Sign Ups on interest form

      What’s Next?

      Going forward, in preparation for the launch of Hina Circles Cohort 2, we need to go back to the research phase to learn more about our existing and prospective customers. We plan to: survey those who indicated interest to learn why they didn’t purchase at this time and get feedback from Cohort 1 to see what can be improved and what was most valuable.

      From there, we will use the insights gained to improve our UX as we launch Cohort 2, and continue to improve landing pages as part of the greater marketing effort.

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      Let's Connect.

      Email me at jack@purplemaia.org or connect with me on LinkedIn.