SAMOAN OWNED MULTIMEDIA BUSINESS
The story of the man behind the Apple Mac of Bluwave is a true testimony of how following one’s passions and turning what you love into a career, coupled with perseverance and hard work - is the best recipe for success.
The name Bluwave (blue wave) or galu moana in Samoan, was a tribute to Martin’s daughter, Vaimoana and his love for waves (galu). He combined the two and came up with Galumoana, which was translated to Bluwave (minus the e) for the non-Samoans who found it too difficult to pronounce Galumoana. When asked about how he started, Martin laughingly mimicked the late Biggie Smalls, “It all started with a dream...” Yeah, nuh. Lol. Let’s fast forward a bit.
Meet entrepreneur Martin Anae - videographer, photographer, graphics and website designer extraordinaire. Quiet, humble and so, so polite, Martin is the most easy-going, friendly and helpful guy you would ever meet. He is a perfectionist when it comes to his work. His talent for producing digital media content and attention to detail is impressive to witness, and his commitment to delivering beyond client expectation is hi obsession, which is demonstrated through the quality of his works.
Born and raised in Samoa, Martin had no idea he would ever be pursuing a career in Digital Media.
In fact, he was in Auckland studying something completely different, when he discovered graphic designing through one of his long life friends, Hylda von Dincklage who was studying Graphics Design at UNITEC. Martin would tag along to the study sessions of his then girlfriend and now wife Sahara, he would sit there for hours watching over Hylda’s shoulder disturbing her studies with questions after questions on Photoshop. It was here, that Martin knew what he would love to do for the rest of his life.
But it wasn’t to be an easy path especially with the fact that Martin was studying Marketing and Communications, NOT Graphic Designing. So, Martin took every opportunity to learn photoshop and photography from wherever he could. Even after returning to Samoa, Martin never stopped learning. He learnt photography, videography and editing from some of the best on the island. He had found his passion and there was no turning back.
In 2010 he moved his family to Auckland and had decided against doing the 9 to 5 rather, he will commit all his energy on establishing his Bluwave brand. It hasn’t been an easy road though.
Being self-employed meant less income and making extreme sacrifices to name a couple. Bluwave did not have a start-up capital and his loan applications were constantly declined by banks. Martin then decided to stop asking the financial institutions for help and go at it by himself.
Thinking back of when he first started out, Martin says he would do videography gigs and graphic designing at rates as low as $50.00, to help his wife with the bills and to put food on the table, he would work at the Sanford fish market in the city sorting fish at $12.50 an hour and working the back of the rubbish trucks for $11.00 an hour. Martin laughed and explained that his younger brother Peter would hate picking him up from work because he smelled like fish and rubbish. "Fun times" he laughed.
In 2012 he was able to afford his first camera, The Canon 7D M2 and with that camera he built Bluwave. With every job, he would put aside money to buy the equipment he needed.
Their family living room became his office space - every corner was occupied by desks and computers and a giant whiteboard filled with his schedules and plans, now replaced the family TV over the fireplace. The basement garage was converted into a makeshift studio for his photography, and his backyard became a shooting location for some of his best photoshoots for modelling, short video skits and even YouTube music videos for his clients. Even though it was not an ideal working space for a multimedia business nor his family, Martin’s ingenuity and perseverance, and with the support of his wife and family, Bluwave flourished.
Companies such as G-Mana Wholesale Autos and PacificEzy were his first real clients where real progress started to take place. Then SSAB Sei Oriana and Seki Works joined the Bluwave family became long term clients and friends.
In joining the Samoa Business Network (SBN) in 2012, this brought in more clients that now covered government departments and private businesses. The workflow expanded and flowing steadily. But as Martin’s reputation and clientele steadily grew, so was the need for a proper working studio.
Around the same time, the Pacific Business Hub (hereon known as The Hub) had just opened, offering affordable workspaces. Through the SBN Martin had connected with Laura Keil-Hall who is the Owner and Founder of The Hub, who encouraged Martin to move the Bluwave studio into The Hub. It would be a conversation and decision that Martin has marked down and one of the biggest blessings in his life. Bluwave was one of the first companies that made The Hub its office. But immediately after moving into The Hub, Martin realised that this was not just an office. Laura would encourage him daily to push on and never give up. Sometimes Martin was slow with rent, Laura would always brush this aside and made Martin feel like, “no you are not in The Hub because I need your money, you are in The Hub because I see potential in you”. Seeing such a positive and strong woman, Martin used that to add more fuel in his drive to keep moving forward. With an awesome Owner and the people who have now occupied The Hub generating good vibes and positive working environment, Martin feels like that God love him the most for blessing him with a true home away from home. And Sahara, his wife, is finally enjoying having their living room and family space back!
True to his humble nature, Martin wishes to acknowledge and thank all the businesses and individuals who have supported and stood by Bluwave throughout the years: Laura Keil-Hall, Faimalo Allan Stowers, Galumalemana Tai Galumalemana, Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, Rasmus Pereira, Melissa Stanley, Maria Malaki, Talai Junior Lene and Peseta Sio Isara of Digicel, Agnes Saili Kerslake of SkyEye, JP Adams. For those who Martin have missed, he wishes God good blessings upon you all.