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Treehouse opens on Ward

Graphic artist Bobby Asato opens an arts-and-crafts shop.


Thirsting to provide creative outlets for his own kids, graphic artist Bobby Asato went out on a limb and opened Treehouse, an arts-and-crafts shop that caters to broadening young minds in Honolulu.The local shopkeeper gives us the inside scoop on Japanese superheroes, fun stocking stuffers and an in-store imagination station.

Kids art finds.

Photos: Kristen Hook

What was the inspiration behind the store?
Through years of being parents, my wife Melissa and I have always wanted to enrich our kids with arts and culture. With television, video games and computers so prevalent, it’s important to stimulate kids with hands-on, educational toys. We wanted our shop to offer a wide selection of arts-and-crafts kits for younger children (K through sixth grade), and items for the creative parent. Our bigger goal is to promote creative arts in our community.

Treehouse is … 
A fun place that stimulates imagination, where you don’t worry about getting dirty.

Keiki stocking-stuffer picks?
Melissa & Doug Scratch Boards; black boards in all sorts of shapes that kids draw on with a wooden stylus, which reveal a vibrant, colorful background. Also, triangular jumbo crayons for little ones, and ecofriendly craft kits, which are great for winter school breaks.

For the big people?
We have cool accessories such as Gama Go’s mugs that reveal images when filled with hot liquid. For the avid photographer, we sell Lomography film, cameras and accessories.

Treehouse owner, Bobby Asato

Tell us about your own line of T-shirts that you sell at the shop.
There’s Bland for men. The designs are more understated and are inspired by surfing, photography and music. For kids, there’s SmallKine!. I keep the designs relatable to local parents and kids.

Can kids try out some of the arts and crafts in the store?
We have a kids table in front of the store where they can occupy themselves by drawing, trying out colored pencils, mini scratch boards and other fun tools.

Favorite childhood toy?
Japanese superheroes such as Kikaida, Kamenraida V3 and Rainbow Man were huge. I enjoyed drawing them and making them into costumes.

What song is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
I brought my records over to the shop, a lot of instrumental stuff from the ’90s, like Tommy Guerrero and Ray Barbee.

I hope this shop ...
Inspires kids and adults to create something, anything. There’s no right or wrong in art and once people understand that, it’s super fun.

Treehouse, 250 Ward Ave. Suite 233, 597-8733, or treehouse-shop.com

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