Mom Talk: Q&A With April Hail of Keiki Kaukau

This Hawai‘i-based toy tycoon shares how she finds balance and keeps the stress of mom life in perspective.


April Hail, former Punahou School teacher and mama of two, knows toys. On a 2019 trip to France, she was inspired by a pretend play crepe set her son snagged as a souvenir. That’s when Keiki Kaukau was born, based on a hunch that the niche for toys inspired by the diversity of Hawai‘i needed to be filled. And boy, was she right. Now, you can’t pass a keiki boutique or attend a baby shower in Hawai‘i without coming across the multicultural wooden food sets, puzzles adorned with local art and fan-favorite games with a kama‘āina twist.


Hawai‘i Farmer's Market Play Food Set

Hawai‘i Farmer’s Market Play Food Set / Photo: Courtesy of Keiki Kaukau


An expert at juggling work and family, April says, “One of the greatest perks of running my own business is that I can put it aside when I need to. I loved being a classroom teacher, but it was very difficult to adhere to a school schedule while also attending to my own kids’ needs.” She also excels at keeping it real. “Keiki Kaukau has a couple cute new items coming out soon, but to be honest, I’m not counting on anything huge this year since we’re welcoming a new baby, and I really want to savor this precious time.”


Despite being deep into her third trimester with baby number three, April launched a collaboration with Aloha Collection—the must-have, mom-friendly, water-resistant bags—in early May. The Day Tripper Tote and Mid Pouch styles feature an exclusive rainbow palaka print, inspired by shave ice hues and the historic Hawaiian fabric.


We checked in with April to get some advice and ask about a few of her favorite local eats, kid-friendly spots and more.


April Hail of Keiki Kaukau

Keiki Kaukau founder April Hail with her two kids / Photo: Courtesy of Keiki Kaukau


What tips do you have for parents wanting to start their own business?

I guess I would just caution against taking on debt or stress (if possible) that might negatively impact who you are around your children. Childhood goes by in a flash, and you only have so much time to establish a foundation of deep trust and good communication.


Any advice for pregnant moms or new moms?

You can be a good mom and still not love every phase or requirement of motherhood. I’m not big on mom guilt, and I especially don’t waste energy on what other people might think of my parenting.


As an owner of a toy brand, what types of playthings do you love most?

I always prefer toys that encourage open-ended use, whether through role-playing, like food toys or dolls, or constructing something, such as Magna-Tiles or art supplies.


Keiki Kaukau alohaland

Alohaland Wooden Blocks Set / Photo: Courtesy of Keiki Kaukau


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Where do you love to eat on O‘ahu?

We don’t go to restaurants as a family often, but we love brunch at Waioli Kitchen & Bake Shop, dim sum at Legend Seafood in Chinatown, Feast and Asia Mānoa for takeout, and Kay’s Crackseed for ICEE floats.


Tell me about your favorite activities to do with your kids.

My kids both have a lot of energy, so we need to work in at least one physical activity every day or we all lose our minds. They do gymnastics at Hawai‘i Academy, and we go to Kaimana and Kailua beaches often.


How are you going to keep your kids entertained this summer?

By keeping them enrolled in summer school the whole way through! Long weekends are exhausting enough—as much as I love spending time with my kids, I also love sending them back to their teachers on Monday mornings.



Browse the new Aloha Collection bags at and follow @keikikaukau for the latest toy releases and giveaway alerts. 


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