21 Local Products We Love at the Made in Hawaiʻi Festival
The biggest event for all things local is going online this weekend and we’re ready to hit checkout. Here is what you need to know.
The Made in Hawaiʻi Festival always draws huge crowds, usually tens of thousands of people ready to taste, try and buy items made by our neighbors and Island businesses. This year, understandably, it’s gone online, meaning no more food samples (bummer) but, on the upside, no admission fee and you can shop in your pajamas.
The festival’s virtual marketplace went live Friday morning with products from about 200 vendors and will stay open yearround. Those selling hot food items are noticeably missing, but shoppers can easily see everything in an instant instead of wondering what cool product lies behind that intimidating crowd around the booth.
The dropdown menu allows you to sort by category. Do know that the product listings are descriptive but generic, meaning you won’t find the designer or company name until you click to read the details. You can still click on the vendor list to find your favorites or search for them; in the search function we had better luck when we entered just one word of a company name instead of the entire title. Also be aware that because each company is handling its own shipping, those rates could be more than you might expect. But many vendors are offering deals for the weekend. And, after all, it’s a small price to pay for supporting local.
HONOLULU Magazine has made it a mission to share the stories and work of Hawai‘i companies. Here are some of our favorites you’ll find in the festival marketplace.
Big Island Coffee Roasters
Photo: Katrina Valcourt
Big Island Coffee Roasters has a lot of really cool stuff: barrel-aged coffee, coffee fermented with wine yeasts, tiny Maui Mokka beans, peaberry coffee. There’s even a Wild Hawaiian Coffees Club that you can join by filling out a few details (such as preferred roast level and grind setting), picking your subscription tier and voilà: fresh, member-exclusive coffees that arrive at your door every month. —Katrina Valcourt, managing editor
Boho Blooms Hawai‘i’s ultra-realistic paper petals are for black thumbs, over waterers and succulent slayers like me. It takes crafter Elisha Hinter an hour to an hour and a half to produce one lifelike flower out of high-quality Italian and German crepe paper. The peonies are perfection, and having no-fail anthuriums and hibiscuses in my home year-round is worth every cent. —Stacey Makiya, senior fashion editor
Downtown General Store
Photo: Courtesy of Downtown General Store
Design is a family affair at Downtown General Store, the Kapahulu label responsible for our favorite flour sack tea towel. The Kiyabu clan has been making the charming kitchen accessory for nearly 15 years—dad Les screen-prints each by hand while wife Penny and sons Sky and Cody create the Island-style patterns starring everything from zodiac animals to lively kihikihi (Moorish idol reef fish). The idea for the towels came from Hawai‘i’s plantation days, when 100-pound flour sacks were bleached and repurposed as cleaning cloths, bedding and clothing. Today we’re just as obsessed with their ultra-soft feel; lint-free nature; and absorbent, quick-drying properties. —Brie Thalmann, managing fashion editor
Flotsam & Co.
Photo: Natalie Shack
You’ve been scanning the periscope for something new on the shell-jewelry horizon for a while. You’re looking for something that’s a little different, but still has that boho, mermaid feel. You also want something that’s accessible, crafted using real, upcycled treasures from the sea and locally made. Ha. Don’t hold your breath. No, seriously. You don’t have to hold your breath anymore, because, instead of diving into the ocean for the sunrise shells of your dreams, you can head over to the new Flotsam and Co. boutique by diver/jewelry maker/former graphic designer Karen Sawicki. Sawicki started the Flotsam and Co. brand one year ago and has already built up a following from showing her work—which ranges from jewelry to men’s grooming and skincare products—in local boutiques and at shopping events. This weekend, she takes the next plunge, with a brick-and-mortar location in Ward Village Shops under The Spaghetti Factory. —Natalie Shack
HNL Baby Co.
A super-cute kidswear and accessories collab between two of our favorite resident makers: Giselle Santana of Naturally Young at Heart and Ashlee Fujimoto from Kaua‘i Dry Goods. The two got in touch after Fujimoto read about Santana’s brand and they whipped up a handful of prints and pieces that we’re going totally fruit-loopy for. Fujimoto’s whimsical prints include exotic dragon fruit, cheery pineapples, luscious guavas and, our favorite, a bright and friendly all-over pattern of halved papayas. They’re plastered on everything from soft baby blankets to wee tots’ shorts to handy bibs to the sweetest little rompers, and everything is 100-percent organic and locally manufactured. —NS
I like bright things and I cannot lie. So, believe me when I say I am obsessed with Judd Boloker’s Hawaiian lei prints that depict my favorite scented strands in vibrant, eye-catching ways. Highly textured petals and leaves in an array of highlighter hues bring the sketches to life and give a 3D-ish affect. Now more than ever, we need things to brighten our bungalows, and moods, and Boloker’s artwork has that type of joyful magic. In my opinion, the plumeria with buds, puakenikeni and ʻilima lei are picture perfect.—SM
Jules + Gem Hawai‘i
PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO
We’ve got a nose for delicious home fragrances and lately it’s been leading us straight to Honolulu candle label Jules + Gem Hawai‘i. Owner Lana Gronwald hand-pours each candle using soy wax, an ecofriendly wax made from soybean oil that burns cleaner and longer than paraffin wax, and wood wicks, which burn more evenly than cotton wicks and give off a soft crackling sound. The scents are lovely and light, never overpowering and pair tropical fruits and flowers with hints of mint, vanilla and coconut.
You’ve seen her work by now. Whether it caught your eye in a country boutique, or you’ve stared at one of her massive murals, Kris Goto has been making waves in Hawaii’s ever-vibrant art scene. Many of her pieces feature a sense of colorful whimsy mixed with Hawaii’s beach culture. And whether it’s a lady relaxing in an oversized papaya, or a man nose-riding his longboard on a gentle wave, it’s easy to get lost in the playful world of Goto’s prints and projects. —Hawai‘i Magazine
PHOTO: TANYA UYEHARA
Laha‘ole Designs is a beautiful empire created by an incredible person: Tanya Uyehara. You may have seen Uyehara with her friendly smile and gorgeous jewelry at the Made In Hawai‘i Festival, Merrie Monarch Festival on the Big Island or at other special events around town. What you probably didn’t know is that she designs and creates each and every jewelry piece by hand. And she does it while raising her four children with her husband. —Lisa Shiroma
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino
Inspired by classic Hawaiian quilts, Hook disassembles plants, fruit and delicate flowers, and transforms the pieces into striking symmetrical compositions which she photographs and creates prints from under the name Lola Pilar Hawai‘i. “I like the idea of taking something traditional and interpreting it in a way that’s fresh and modern and fun,” she says. —BT
PHOTO: MARTHA CHENG
Artist-designer Andrew Mau’s stylish furniture, barware and stationery may already be on your radar. —BT
Maui Fruit Jewels
Think of them as grown-up gum drops. The newest candies to delight us are Maui Fruit Jewels’ pate de fruits, soft jelly squares with a flavor intensity that reminds us of fruit rollups. They come in flavors that include ginger pineapple, lilikoi, guava and mango, and almost all of them are made with Maui-grown fruits. —Martha Cheng, food and dining editor
I’ve always gravitated toward edgy statement jewelry. The moment I saw Amber Chesebro’s signature small urchin earrings, I was hooked. She studied metalsmithing, allowing her to create architectural interpretations of nature. Sea urchin spines become a riot of colorful spikes around the earlobe or dropping from a necklace, and tiger urchin spines become elegant spears. Chesebro also has a romantic side that turns vibrant iridescent beetle wings into waterfalls of green and blue around your neck or limu into delicate rings and ear crawlers.—Christi Young, editorial director
I discovered the modern lines of Shannon Peck’s handbags when I was the daily fashion blogger for HONOLULU. Since then, Peck’s pieces have transitioned from colorful patterns and animal prints perfect for brunch and poolside drinks into elemental graphics and shibori-inspired prints in earthier palettes. No matter the style, we love her unexpected shapes, thoughtful details (who doesn’t need a hidden pocket and washable reversible fabric?) and finishes. On my must-have list for the festival marketplace is the Mauna backpack ($210) with knotted removable leather straps that are beautifully woven through the top, zippers for easy access from either side, and slanted exterior pockets that echo the lines of the bag. This weekend, shoppers can score a free mini wristlet or regular wristlet with purchases of more than $200 and $250, respectively, and $1 shipping anywhere in the state.—CY
PHOTO: CHRISTI YOUNG
Kona-native Loren Shoop started his business a few years ago, turning ʻulu from the Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Producers Cooperative on the Big Island into smooth hummus. The chip came a little later and is exactly what I’m looking for in my favorite snack: delicate slices that are still cut thick enough to deliver a satisfying crunch, finger-licking saltiness and fried perfectly so I can plow through a pile of chips without drowning myself in a pool of regret and grease at the end. —CY
Ulus 2 Ulus
We had fun learning how to play Ulus 2 Ulus during our pau hana at Bethel Union.
Video: Aaron K. Yoshino
Dreamt up by a bunch of friends while hanging out at a Kāneʻohe Starbucks, Ulus 2 Ulus is like a hilarious Hawai‘i version of Apples to Apples in which you compete to match the best local kine nouns with a descriptive word or phrase. For example, for the word “hamajang,” your hand of cards might include nouns such as “tita bun, malo, Guy Hagi, ding-a-ling.” The game got a ton of buzz with its Kickstarter campaign last year and, lucky for us, hit its fundraising goal, spicing up game nights across the state. —BT
This beautiful minimalist maillot by local designer and UH Mānoa grad Nicole Vermillion has a flattering geometric print, girly lower-back lacing and just the right amount of cheekiness. And for the ultimate bonus, it’s completely reversible to a sleek, subdued grey.
Photo: courtesy of workshop 28
Us: “got a trivet?” You: “What-a-what?” If you don’t know what a trivet is, you’re not alone. But, thanks to Workshop 28, more people are finding out. Scroll through the local company’s Insta and you’ll see island-inspired housewares including pineapple and monstera-shaped felt pads—aka trivets—which are used as a buffer between your table and hot plates and cookware. Workshop 28’s unique version doesn’t only do its job, it also adds tropical charm to your tablescape.—SM
Fashion designers impress, inspire and influence us. But sometimes it’s not through their clothes—it’s through their actions. Case in point, owner and designer of Yireh, Emily Valdez. “Since I couldn’t afford to attend fashion school, I decided to see the world at the age of 18. I’ve traveled to over 18 countries on medical relief and humanitarian aid trips,” says Valdez. “Then one day while I was living in Bali, I met a family of seamstresses who were struggling. We became friends and I decided they were who I wanted to invest in and designed my first pair of shorts for them to make.” Beginning with her first collection in 2014, Valdez has donated 10 percent of Yireh’s sales to various nonprofits and charities. Currently she’s working with International Justice Mission, which rescues children and adults from human trafficking. Valdez also gives overstocked Yireh items to organizations that provide makeovers for women, still donates her time to people in the community who are going through hard times and turns out six sought-after, ethically made collections every year. Honestly, who needs Saint Laurent when you have Saint Emily?