Mikinola Opens a Gorgeous New Hawai‘i Kai Boutique

Get the scoop on the shop’s new digs before it opens this weekend.


I’m going to let you in on a secret that stylish East-siders have known for years: there is amazing fashion to be found out in Hawai‘i Kai. The key to tracking it down is simple—hop on the highway, then make a beeline to Mikinola.


Mikinola Credit Aaron K Yoshino

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


The womenswear shop has been a must-stop ever since owner Dara Fujio opened its first iteration—a teeny (by comparison) nook at Koko Marina Center—back in 2010. But when her lease came up during lockdown without any options to expand, she took it as an opportunity to level up, in more ways than one.


“I always wanted to create a store that was more of an experience,” says Fujio, who drew from her buying trips for inspiration. At showrooms, “they have a little drink or snack area, and I get to have intimate conversations with the people selling to us,” something she aimed to replicate for her clients. “We really form relationships with our customers—we have some that stay for three hours. I wanted a lounge area so that they don’t feel rushed. They can feel comfortable and take their time shopping.”


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Mikinola Fitting Rooms

Photos: Aaron K. Yoshino


Bright and airy with dreamy ocean views, Mikinola’s expansive new 1,700-square-foot space in the Hawai‘i Kai Executive Plaza offers all that and more. Fujio’s architect uncle brought her unabashedly feminine aesthetic to life, marrying arched niches and ornate gold mirrors with custom palm-print wallpaper.


Multiple spots invite you to stay awhile. Plop down on the plush pink couch fronting the fitting rooms or sidle up to the 10-foot-long cashwrap adorned with chic chevron tile work. There’s even a high-top bar area that Fujio installed with shoppers’ spouses in mind.


Mikinola Jewelry Brights Aaron K Yoshino


Logistics-wise, Fujio now enjoys having her office, stock room and website operations all in one place. And more space also means more cool brands that Fujio can bring in. Along with Mikinola staples, such as Splendid and Khush, look out for new additions including Nytt, Go Silk and Bare by Charlie Holiday.


When I ask Fujio what taking this step has meant to her on a personal level, considering all the love and hard work she’s poured into her business over the last 13 years, a mixture of joy, pride and gratitude bubbles over. “It’s been so crazy that I haven’t even had time to think about it,” she admits with a laugh. “I’m just really excited and happy because I’ve got to see how much we’ve grown, from selling clothes out of my house to moving to our first storefront, which was like, only 400 square feet, to this huge step.”


Mikino Flower Arch Bar Aaron K Yoshino

Photos: Aaron K. Yoshino


In the same breath, Fujio is quick to bring the focus back to her customers. “I feel so lucky to have them,” she says. “They’re so loyal—I’ve known them for over a decade now. They’re so awesome. This is more a thank you to them for supporting us. This is how we want to make the store for you guys, so you guys enjoy it. We wouldn’t be here without them.”


Beginning Aug. 5, Mikinola is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 2 to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hawai‘i Kai Executive Plaza, 6700 Kalaniana‘ole Highway, Suite 108, (808) 394-6666, shopmikinola.com, @mikinola


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