This column's focus is highlighting local businesses that create made-in-Hawaii products. Today's, however, invites you to consider spending money in support of as many of them as possible this holiday season, especially next weekend.
Ishiharaya is a three-generation family business established in Waipahu during Hawaii's plantation era. Its familiar packages of tea cookies in various shapes and flavors, custom-made fortune cookies and gift sets are the company's focus.
Hisako Barrow's creations incorporating upcycled Japanese fabrics of all kinds attract all kinds of customers, from women of Japanese heritage, as one might expect, to all sorts of ethnicities and places of residence.
From tiny gardens in eggshells, Noritake teacups or Spam cans, to larger gardens growing in wine bottles and old Chinese dishes, Matt Bowden and his wife, Lynn Leith-Bowden, have lots of "children" in their new Waimanalo nursery.
It has been way too hot in the islands for many of us to contemplate wearing socks, but it is not too early to think about shopping for Christmas, especially if you have far-flung family members on your gift list.
Ruby D. Len has been making Corian cutting boards for about 14 or 15 years. The Corian boards and boards of similar material inhibit bacterial growth, she said, "no matter if there are cuts or scratches, it's nonporous, therefore it's sanitary, hygienic, stain-resistant and odor-free."
We take for granted the woven coconut papale (hat), lau hala mats, woven lau hala tote bags with bamboo handles, and similar items. Something that is not yet a household concept in Hawaii is traditional lau hala weaving using sterling silver and gold wire.
Joanna Carolan is one of those people who successfully transitioned from artisan and handcrafter to businesswoman. She did it 23 years ago and has built her business up through a hurricane, overseas competition, downturns in the economy and visitor count challenges.
Chili pepper water has been a household staple in Hawaii for generations, way before hot sauces became "cool" across the mainland. Families have their own recipes and methods of making it, but as for Da Secret Sauce, its first iteration was served in the Moribe family household on Kauai.
Gifts between friends often become the stuff of obsession, but don't always pave the way for a small business. Honolulu attorney Elizabeth Kent received an elegant jacket made by friend and fellow attorney Ellen Godbey Carson some years ago.
Think about a crystal-clear, crackling plastic bag of Hawaii-made potato chips, and the red and yellow graphics spelling out the brand name. What your mind's eye is showing you may depend on your age and the Hawaiian island upon which you were raised, or even the district of the island where you first encountered the crunchy, salted treats.
Maui Preserved LLC started because Maleta Van Loan makes really good hot sauce, according to husband Anthony LaBua-Keiser. The sauce "really knocked it out of the park with friends and family, and we thought we could turn it into a business," he said.
Working out of a cabin near the ocean in Kaneohe, Premium Shirt Printing Hawaii LLC creates custom-printed T-shirts and other apparel for businesses, community groups, individual customers and anyone who places an order.
Jewelry maker and hand-dyed pareo maker Olivia Turner doesn't just sell her own creations at Tasi Boutique in Waialua. She also sells the made-in-Hawaii, designed-in-Hawaii or inspired-by-Hawaii clothing, swimsuits, accessories and more that others make.
He's been told to prepare to go viral. Larry Rutkowski's "Hell No Kitty" designs once caught the eye of a marketing executive from Disney who leaned in for some close conversation with him about one of his product lines.
This is a big season for Simply Sisters by Lola Miller Designs. The Big Island jewelry and apparel company has just received a shipment of its first bolts of top-grade rayon fabric designed and made exclusively for it.
Angie Higa became an entrepreneur at age 11, selling hand-crocheted bikini tops at the long-lamented Waialae Drive-In Theater swap meet. Given that, it should be no surprise that following a 30-year career at Central Pacific Bank, she's back in business for herself making things by hand.
Barbara Chung didn't give up a workaday office routine to start her Palapala Designs woodblock print business three years ago. She always has been a fine artist, she said, "always drawing and painting." She has helped people with colors, such as for interior design, and worked as a floral designer for weddings and in other artistic endeavors.
Sometimes summer camp can set the direction for the rest of your life. "There was a girl there wearing a silver ring," said Charms of Aloha Inc. owner Cathleen Bunt. When the girl told her she made the ring herself, "I was totally fascinated that somebody my own age made jewelry," she said.
Chic Naturals is not an airy-fairy clothing line made from organic hemp for hippie chicks. The first word isn't even pronounced "sheek." Rather, "Chic" is pronounced "chick" and is taken from the first four letters of the product's main ingredient, chickpeas.
Imagine getting the fruits of your labors into chain stores nationwide with financial help from the chain itself. Maui Taro Burger-maker Hawaii Taro Co. LLC, founded by Robert Mitnick, is the first local company to receive a loan from the Whole Foods Market Local Loan Producer Program.
A Christmas tree need not come from the Pacific Northwest to be beautiful. If you don't like to read anything about Christmas until after you've eaten turkey and all the trimmings, please save this page for next week.
Ken Hirata was nervous when Toshihiro Manzen came to visit him from Japan in April, as the shochu master was coming straight from the airport to sample his pupil's first commercial batch of Namihana, his Hawaii-made sweet-potato shochu.
Palaka, or the Hawaiian version of plaid, has been around more than 100 years, and Rodney "Sparky" Doo is seeing a resurgence of interest in the once-ubiquitous "Hawaiian denim," which he markets as Palaka Hawaii.
Even a Japanese emperor's fish tales could not be exaggerated once gyotaku prints were made depicting the size of his catch. That is one version of how the Japanese rendition of this type of nature printing came about.
Broad and sturdy banana leaves, prolific ti leaves, idyllic bird of paradise plants and charming honu, or turtles, all can be seen in practical and artful ceramic form at Tropical Clay — if you know how to find them.
From nondescript packaging with plain white labels, Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts LLC has upped its game with sleek re-branding, plans for a store and a trip to the Summer Fancy Food Show industry exposition in New York.
Normally "Buy Local" focuses on one Hawaii company that makes a product or products in Hawaii, but this time it's about a Hawaii company, soon to expand to the mainland, that helps organizations raise funds by selling mostly made-in-Hawaii food favorites made by a range of companies.
Hawaii-grown and made Malie Kai Chocolates Inc. will soon have its own retail store in the Royal Hawaiian Center in the heart of Waikiki. Upon its July 16 opening on Level 1 in Building C, the company will unveil a new product — Hawaiian rum truffles — that will be available exclusively at the new shop.
It is the type of stuff that makes you smile, or grin, or laugh out loud, and it is made by a mom-and-pop business with the kids' help and input — though this mom and pop, Terri Dux and Karl Miyashiro, are not married to each other.
The southernmost bakery in the U.S. finds itself needing to expand, having reached capacity. Punaluu Bake Shop's bakery and visitor center on the Big Island has become such a popular stop for visitors and local residents that it served roughly 343,000 guests in 2012.