Friday, April 24, 2015         

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You meet lots of nice ladies at craft fairs who sell clothing, quilts, hats and other items they have lovingly hand-sewn, but this nice lady also happens to be a retired doctor.

This is an unusual take on a family business because it's actually three businesses: his, hers and hers (their daughter's). While the businesses are as interrelated as the family members, it is the 11-year-old who has been the driving force.

Maui-based Aloha Raku Pottery partners Javier Gaytan and Anthony Urango use a hand-tooling technique to make some of their clay pottery look like aa lava, and another technique to create the look of pahoe­hoe lava.

Darlene Mandel has been collecting, designing and creating one-of-a-kind jewelry, fashion accessories such as hats and headpieces, up-cycled clothing, beach totes and other items since 1979. She may be best known for her so-called Esther Williams jewelry.

A nascent Maui-based line of vegan, organic, gluten-free, soy-free and GMO-free food products has proliferated around the state and now is expanding to California.

Hawaiian Palm Baskets by Amy and Ron Christmas represent the "ultimate recycling," Amy says. All the primary materials used in the couple's baskets, ornaments and, soon, tree toppers are from Kauai-grown plants and trees and have been gathered by hand.

Seeing Hawaii through someone else's eyes can be enlightening, and Michal Abramovitz makes it easy by transferring her original artwork to practical items you can wear, carry with you or collect, in various forms.

Travis Kimura almost didn't have a choice but to become a crafter. From his days as an infant in the 1980s, he would be at his mother's and his auntie's craft fair booths and just grew up around handmade items.

A shop that for eight years has been a place where old muumuu and aloha shirts have gone to be reborn will close its doors at the end of February. Unable to reach lease terms with A&B Properties Inc., Kai­lua's largest land­owner, Muumuu Heaven will go out with a bang, hosting two special events this month.

From small Christmas craft fairs at a friend's house, Valerie Bigelow's Island Girl Collection made a big leap to be at the first Made in Maui County Festival in November.

"Kawaii Mono" means "cute things" in Japa­nese, and Marisa Gee's wares are instantly recognizable, especially if you're looking up close.

Imagine being so good that you get fan letters from Hollywood royalty including Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan.

A couple of isle women who met at the University of Redlands in Cali­for­nia and bonded through its Hawaii Club have reconnected and launched a business, the My Aloha Post subscription box service.

Scott Shibuya is happy to have taken the risk to make the jump to a brick-and-mortar location for his Guava Smoked business a year ago.

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.

The combination of art and technology can take many forms, but for Ziv Memran it's all about putting great artwork and photography into people's hands via cases for their smartphones or iPads.

Susie Hipolito learned to sew at her mother's side, in the Philippines. "When I am small, I am making small things, with straight stitches," she said.

This isn't the usual Buy Local column, because it is not simply about one person who creates a made-in-Hawaii product or products.

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.

If you have ever gasped at iridescent, colorful, almost glowing locally forged jewelry made of fused dichroic glass, it just might have been made by Lynne Nakaura, founder of Creations by Keiko.

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.

If you had walked into Ione and Don Adams' Kaneohe home Wednesday, the only hint that it was not actually Christmas would have been the unusually high temperature and humidity outside.

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.

Rella Rivera makes a living having a blast. Sure, she has fun working as Rella on the Radio at Ohana Broadcast Co., primarily on KQMQ-FM 93.1 but also on KUMU-FM 94.7 or KDDB-FM 102.7.

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."

The label on each container of Sea Salts of Hawaii tells the buyer a story about the main ingredient's relationship to the islands. "It gives them something to connect to," said owner Sandra Gibson.

The artistic, colorful luminosity of Pele Copper Creations can stop you in your tracks, as happened with many attendees at last weekend's Made in Hawaii Festival.

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.

Life didn't even give Tracey Apoliona or Scott Hiraishi lemons, but they nevertheless made lemonade -- out of locally grown ingredients.

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.

The ocarinas sold by Cary Young's Maui-based Forbidden Island Flutes are cute, but they are not toys like many of those inspired by the video game "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time."

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.

The son whose birth made Diane Masumura decide to become a stay-at-home mom is now 26 years old, but she still maintains her dawn-to-midnight schedule of Hawaiian feather lei making.

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.

That Hawaii is the only U.S. state in which cacao is grown can't be overstated. It means Hawaii is the only U.S. state in which locally grown single-origin and estate-grown chocolate can be produced.

Family, academia, government and community all have contributed to Hilo-based Green Point Nurseries Inc. flourishing into a third-generation family business.

Becky Burns started selling her handmade granola in zip-top bags at Kauai Christmas fairs in 1986. A customer who bought and enjoyed it happened to be Terry Sullivan, owner of Kilauea Farmers Market.

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.

The "Field of Dreams" quotation, "If you build it, they will come," does not apply to all entrepreneurs who have what they believe to be great ideas for products consumers will love.

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.

Christine Coleman, her business and life partner, Manny Ochoa, and her son Justin Olson are marking the 10th anniversary of their Kona and Hilo-side coffee-growing operations this year.

Few crafters can allow themselves to even dream about vacating their vocation to work full-time on their beloved avocation, but it's no dream for Deneen Sakugawa of Maui.

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.

It's true what they say, sometimes all you have to do is ask. Had Jeff Gomes not asked, he would not have gotten a seller-financed deal to buy Hawaii Bookmarks from Larry Peck, its successful founder.

Hawaii's flora, and in some cases, fauna, have become Debra Dolsberry's inspiration for Debra.Silks for the past five years.

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.

Many of the kawaii-mono, or cute things, made by Bit of Sugar LLC look good enough to eat, but neither Lei Matsuura nor Brad Tada is a baker or confectioner.

The recent cold snap has served as the usual annual reminder of how comforting it is to bundle up in warm jammies, put on thick fuzzy socks and get under a soft quilt.

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.

Like mother, like daughter. Gale Sagucio, Niihau shell lei and jewelry maker and proprietress of JJ Ohana, grew up helping her mother, Filomena "Fely" Hashitate, with her businesses.

She bakes her own cookies for retail sale, so it only makes sense that Elizabeth Hata Watanabe would introduce her own Haute Confectionery Boutique line of cookie butter.

With just about 200 square feet of retail space, Rubber Stamp Plantation is hardly the largest Hawaii store open on this Black Friday, but it is open and it is having a sale.

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.

A kindhearted gesture by Mitzi Toro of Maui turned into a business that might have closed were it not for a member of a fifth-generation chocolate-making family.

Life handed Kim Weaver lemons in the form of a work-related injury that prevented her from returning to her job.

Had it not been for Hurricane Iniki in 1992, Sinaloa Hawaiian Tortillas might not be in nearly every grocery store and Mexican restaurant on Oahu and Kauai.

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.

You say NOO-gut, she says noo-gah, because she is a confectioner classically trained in making nougat in France, and that’s how they say it there.

Retiring to Hawaii in 1995 and going into business selling fossils and stuff was a brilliant idea for Fran and Wes Cummins.

Moms raise their children to stay away from sharp cutting tools, torches, hot ovens, breakable glass and broken glass, but mother and artisan Julie Johnson makes her living around all those things.

You might think "Niihau shell lei" when you hear the company name 808 Shells, or perhaps beachy, seashell jewelry.

Ecolicious, Flying Koi by Doi and Doi & D'Angelo Artworks all sprang from the seed that was a 2007 news report.

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.

East Honolulu Clothing Co. may not yet be a household name, but it is well known to some well-placed customers, happy pictures of whom fill a cork board at the back of the Wai­ma­nalo store.

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.

There's a good chance the colorful decals on the vehicles you see around you in traffic were made right here in Hawaii by Nalu Blue founder Manny Salvador.

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.

The packaging is so funny you might not notice that Filthy Farmgirl soaps, lotions and lip balms are made in Hawaii.

In addition to invention, necessity also can be the mother of reinvention, as was the case for Andrea Gall-Krasnick.

Tiare Nakayama is one of those people who always baked for family occasions, and "a lot of family members were like, ‘You should sell your things,'" she said.

When you meet an entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in clinical and forensic psychology, you expect to shake her hand. Nope. Denyse Ray is a hugger.

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