Aloha from Hawaii friends! As I’m about to begin prepping for our Thanksgiving extravaganza, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite brands and founders here in Hawaii that probably aren’t on your radar.
These Indie gems SHOULD be on your holiday gift giving list this year!
Happy Holidays~ Holly
All Leiko Kauai clutch purses are one of a kind. Their Vintage line captures the life essence of the 1960’s era in Hawaii. Some come from Tutu’s old dresses or uncle’s favorite aloha shirts.
Other than a fragrant flower lei, nothing says aloha like a bright, floral aloha shirt. Worn by locals and visitors alike, the aloha shirt has become the most enduring and visible ambassador of Hawaii’s island lifestyle. As immigrants flocked to Hawaii in the 1920s and 30’s to work in the sugar and pineapple fields, they brought with them a variety of clothing styles that evolved into the famous eye-catching printed shirt. Among the influences were the bright kimonos of Japan, elegant colored silk from China, and Hawaiian geometric block patterns. Tailored collars from the US and a casual Barong Tagalog style of the Philippines led to the untucked casual comfort of the modern aloha shirt.
By the 1930s, thanks to the manufacturing and marketing of Ellery Chun and “Musahiya the Shirt Maker”, sales quickly escalated. From Hollywood movie stars to Waikiki Beach boys and surfers, everyone wanted to dress island style. Today, the aloha shirt has become a statement of love and special bond to the extraordinary place — Hawai’i
Leiko clutches celebrate the Hawaiian aloha shirt by featuring vintage Hawaiian print material and multicultural designs from local fabric shops. https://leikokauai.com/
Kris Goto Art
I recently discovered this amazing artist at the Haleiwa Arts Festival this summer. I was drawn to her work due to my own fascination with surfing, Japan and modern art. Some of her depictions are so whimsical yet so descriptive of some of the idiosyncrasies of life in Hawaii. I bought five of her prints and can’t wait to get them framed this month. (my husband is custom making the frames so they are each as unique as the art.)
Kris Goto’s early fascination was with manga, especially the works of artists Hayao Miyazaki, Yuu Watase, Ai Yazawa and Osamu Tezuka. She never doubted that she would be a manga artist she graduated high school.
Born and raised in the countryside of Japan , Kris moved to Hong Kong at the age of nine. She spent two years of high school in New Zealand where she discovered worlds outside manga, particularly inspired by the art of Maori tattoos, the imaginative and sometimes eerie works of Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman. She moved to Hawaii in 2006 and caught her first wave in 2009. krisgoto.com
Island Fin Design
Even if it’s to hang in your window as a sun catcher, these beautiful surfboard fins are hand crafted with stunning designs. My personal favorite and a staple on my noserider is the Leeward in Black Aloha. A choice template for nose riding, this pivot fin allows for all kinds of fancy footwork. It’s full and steep outline simplifies your ride and promotes more time on the nose. Collage these pretty patterned surfboard fins for a unique piece of art. To start your collection, visit: http://islandfindesign.com/
Beach Girl Jewels
Rare to the Hawaiian islands and highly sought after, sunrise shells are beautiful and exquisite and the designs made by Andrea Quitoriano of Beach Girl Jewels are the quintessential pieces girls from the North Shore love to adorn themselves with. Accented by fresh water pearls and tiny gems, woven into a chic necklace with a north shore puka shell clasp. http://www.beachgirljewels.com/
This Mom and Pop duo hand sews beautiful collars and leashes for your favorite furry friend. (Dogs and Cats!) Made on the North Shore of Oahu with all USA made hardware, their many local inspired prints depict island life with bright colors reminiscent of Aloha shirt patterns with both vintage and modern appeal. With a plethora of patterns and sizes, you’ll find something for every furry friend on your list! Doggonehawaiian.com
Fighting Eel is a personal “go to” shop when I need something that represents where I’m from, especially in my travels outside of Hawaii.
Designers Rona Bennett and Lan Chung combined their distinct personal styles and undeniable love of fashion and vacation to create Fighting Eel. Born in the summer of 2003, this clothing company had its beginnings in the land of perpetual sunshine, Hawaii.
Fighting Eel’s line is a blend of sexy and simple. Uncomplicated yet feminine pieces make up the core of each collection. The designs are surprisingly versatile and comfortable, easily worn with either high heels or flip flops. https://www.fightingeel.com
What kind of entrepreneur would I be if I didn’t recommend my own products this holiday season?! I truly believe in O’o Hawaii’s ability to transform the skin and I can honestly say that I feel really good about what I’ve put inside of each bottle. In addition to the 100% natural and non-GMO ingredients inside (oh and the sparkling rose quartz and sapphire crystals!), our packaging is made from sustainable white milk glass. Because each O’o Hawaii’s outer box is crystal shaped and also reminiscent of Japanese origami boxes, there is already a gifty appeal. We also give back by donating a portion of every sale to the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, that helps protect native bird species like the ʻōʻō bird. In addition, we use local farms that produce super food level ingredients in Hawaii’s nutrient rich soil.
As the line was created for anti-aging through hydration and repair for all skin types, each product can be easily gifted. My picks for gifts this holiday season are The Brilliant Feather Beauty Balm, Birds + Roses Hydrating and Firming Rose Quartz Mask and Birdseed Detoxifying Face Scrub. Our Cleanser and Scrub Duo features two of our Indie Beauty Nominated finalists for Best in Show all featured below: www.oohawaii.com