Mom Talk: Q&A With Richie Calizar of Love + Monsters
The talented mama behind this O‘ahu-based brand pours her heart and soul into her business, but her keiki always come first.
Owner and designer Richie Calizar—mama to 11-year-old Keke, 8-year-old Brody and 2-year-old Lyon—is the mastermind behind the colorful, handmade pieces that have garnered a loyal following since 2012. After having her first child (affectionately called Monster), the brand has continued to evolve. She takes her business seriously, but she also takes it in stride, depending on the needs of her family. “Designing and printing tees with catchy local sayings at home has been my new thing. I don’t always have a plan when I launch because my kids take up all my time,” she says. That unpredictability, however, has served her well.
We checked in with her to get some advice, the scoop on what’s to come with the brand and to ask about a few of her favorite local shops, spots and more.
Tell us about your business—and can you give any advice to new parents starting one of their own?
My priority is always my kids, which is why my business has never reached the level that it is capable of. They are only this little once, and I am the type of mom that wants to be there for every game, school event, school drop-off and pickup—everything! I do put Love + Monsters after my kids, always, but my followers understand and appreciate this because I am open and honest with them. When I do have releases or participate in markets, my followers know to jump on it right away because who knows when—or if—I’ll even release those again.
Over the years, I have learned that if I want to run a successful business, I need to ask for help—whether it’s me asking my mom to watch my kids or family to help at my market booths.
What’s your family’s favorite holiday tradition?
Going to Helemano Farms to cut down our Christmas tree. We recently bought a house and we can’t wait to make new holiday traditions, one of them being growing our own Christmas tree and watching it grow over the years. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I wouldn’t mind having a permanent Christmas tree in our front yard.
What are your favorite activities to do with your kids?
Baseball! I grew up playing baseball and softball all the way through college. Now, I coach my kids, and they absolutely love the game. They also love the potlucks and hanging out with their teammates after.
Where do you go as a family to have fun?
The Koko Head baseball fields. Everyone there is like our second family. It’s just always a good time. If we do find time to go to the beach, you’ll probably find us at Kaimana Beach.
What are some of your favorite local businesses?
Food: Uncle Bo’s, Sprout Sandwich Shop, Kupanaha Products (the best butters, jams and poi!), Wagaya, Egghead Café, Sconees, Café Kaila, Sweet E’s, Tenkaippin and Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks
Fashion: Dolkii, Up & Riding, Mahina Made, Eternal Summer Hawai‘i and Fighting Eel
Art: Arlie Glass, Adventure Fun Club, Kenna Reed, Notted Nest and Jana Lam
Others: Workshop 28, Mori Hawai‘i and The Public Pet