KOROR Palau — Debra Omengebar Neas is not only an education specialist at Palau Community College she is also the owner of Palauan Dream skin care products a growing business that is fulfilling a desire for locally-made products for the tourist market and Palauan consumers familiar with the ingredients.

The range includes locally-made oils lotions and body sprays and products retail for between $5 and $22.50 with some bases arriving from outside of Palau. “The lotion is made out of a milk base that I get shipped in ” Neas said. The range also uses local ingredients such as nuts. “That was shared with the community at an agricultural event; what could be produced here in Palau. It makes me feel that I’m adding something to the community.”

The brand retails under two names at a variety of outlets including hotels and dive centers. “I sell Palauan Dream at DFS and Palauan Essence in the local stores and shops. Duty Free sells a lot of units. They keep me busy.”

Neas said what started out as a side interest has grown into a thriving small business. “I designed all the labels. It started out as a hobby to supplement my income.”

Building on initial success Neas is now looking to expand the business. “I’m coming out with a fragrance probably in the next year. I need to expand it – I’m getting the working capital very soon. The Palauan NDB has been very helpful in putting together a plan that will grow this company ” she said.

Local students who wish to work in the business have a unique arrangement with its owner. “I give part time jobs to students and I pay above minimum wage. At the same time I’m teaching them something about business.” And Neas said “They cant work with me unless they are attending school.”

Thanks to the Internet and word of mouth Palauan Dream and Palauan Essence get orders from the U.S. and elsewhere. “I’ll change the label to fit their occasions. I’ve done weddings including a wedding in Guam.”

Palauan Dream products can be viewed at www.palauandream.com and Neas can be contacted at [email protected]. MBJ