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Meet the Shopkeepers: Mōno


Husband-and-wife team Dean and Cassy Song channeled their love of streamlined design into Mōno, a newly opened home and office goods boutique on South King Street. Outfitted with an airy, 20-foot loft ceiling, vintage collectibles and upcycled wood shelves that the duo built themselves, the shop, much like its owners, is unfussy, inviting and understatedly stylish. The wares, sourced from Japan, Sweden, Canada and the U.S., include everything from minimal-meets-utilitarian tech pouches and retro alarm clocks to playful analog cameras and antler-handle mugs.

HONOLULU Magazine: How did you two first meet?
Dean Song: We met as freshmen in history class at Roosevelt High School back in 1994, but we didn’t start dating until two years after we graduated.

H.M.: What are your professional backgrounds?
Cassy Song: Dean has a recording engineering degree, and has his own recording studio (The Heatery) and mobile sound company (Soundscape). I’m currently in the New Media Arts program for Interface Design at KCC and have a background in retail doing sales and visual merchandising.

H.M.: What was the impetus for opening Mono?
D.S. and C.S.: The idea stemmed from a trip we took to Japan for our honeymoon, during which we spent countless hours at shops in Tokyo. We felt compelled to bring a piece of our travels back home with us. Our goal is to offer the local community everyday necessities with great design aesthetics and functionality.

H.M.: Where does the name come from? And what is the correct way to pronounce it?
C.S.: Mono (pronounced moh-no) means “things” or “stuff” in Japanese. Because we have a variety of products, we found it a little difficult to explain to others, so the name seemed very fitting.

H.M.: Your shop’s aesthetic in three words?
D.S.: Modern. Unique. Simple.

H.M.: How would you describe your merchandise mix?
C.S.: It’s a collection of small design goods to improve your home, office and lifestyle. We carry stationery, office supplies, homewares, lifestyle accessories and gifts. They’re everyday objects that simply make you happy.

H.M.: Why this area?
C.S.: We saw a lot of potential in it. A handful of cool little places have popped up around here recently, like Dash, Pint and Jigger, and Truest, the consignment sneaker store next door, which is run by a friend of ours. We thought it would be great to be a part of something that would blossom and develop.

H.M.: What are your favorite items in the store right now?
D.S.: Mine would have to be the Unit Portables line of bags from Sweden. I really love the modular design concept behind their products.
C.S.:  I’d have to say the Mark’s Inc. and Midori Stationery lines from Japan. The products are so well designed that I find it hard to get myself to mark up the notebooks. I end up buying two of the same thing so I can use one and still have another wrapped safely in plastic. Ha ha.

H.M.: What should we look for next on your shelves?
D.S.: In the near future, we’ll be branding some of our own merchandise, so definitely keep an eye out for that.

Mōno, 2013 S. King St., 955-1595.

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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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