comscore If the shirt fits... | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Features

If the shirt fits…

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Jason Cabudoy models a shirt from Rick Ralston's new Rix Island Wear men's apparel shop at Ward Warehouse. He promises to be nimble in continually introducing new designs, while retaining old favorites.
  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Riley Gallagher, Emily Umezawa and Shawn Zarko model some of the shirts available at Rix Island Wear.
  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Riley Gallagher models a shirt from Rick Ralston's new Rix Island Wear men's apparel shop at Ward Warehouse. He promises to be nimble in continually introducing new designs, while retaining old favorites.
  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Shawn Zarko models a shirt from Rick Ralston's new Rix Island Wear men's apparel shop at Ward Warehouse. He promises to be nimble in continually introducing new designs, while retaining old favorites.
[ AD HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS STORY ]

Some people are just serial entrepreneurs, so when Crazy Shirts founder Rick Ralston retired a decade ago, one had to wonder how long that might last and what his next venture might be.

The entrepreneur says now that, "I’d just been enjoying life in the slow lane. It was always stressful before and I was enjoying how pleasant it is to do frivolous things.

"But I missed the excitement of business, the challenges, the stimulation of being creative, the feeling of being part of a team; I was missing all that."

Now, at 69, he’s back with another clothing boutique, Rix Island Wear, which opened two weeks ago at Ward Warehouse. The small shop features contemporary men’s aloha shirts, based on what Ralston was searching for in the marketplace.

"I shopped here and there but I found it hard to find really good shirts."

With an active, outdoorsy lifestyle, he didn’t care for rayons or polyester blend fabrics, and said, "silk is nice for evenings but I don’t want to take the time to take it to the dry cleaners. I don’t like to waste money either."

So shirts at Rix, designed by Marcie Norton, are made of 100 percent cotton, meant to be comfortable while being able to dress up or down for multiple occasions.

"Marcie and I work closely together and we have a similar understanding of where we want to go," Ralston said. "We’re not going to do typical seasonal lines. We want to keep it fresh, with new stuff coming in all the time."

If all goes well, he anticipates this will be the first of many Rix stores to come.

Although Ralston’s success story began in the 1960s, with his one-man custom airbrush T-shirt operation in Waikiki, hanging out on the near-empty sidewalk where the Marriott Waikiki now stands, he feels success is not guaranteed because of his name.

Back then, he had no expectation of success. "I’m starting small again on a shoestring budget. The difference is I’ve got some help this time, but we have very little overhead. I work out of my home, and so does Marcie," he said.

As a result, a Rix aloha shirt is priced at a relatively low $49.50, and logo T-shirts are $15.

THE IDEA to open Rix Island Wear is not new. Ralston had been thinking about it immediately upon retirement, but he never acted on it while watching the oscillations of the economy and marketplace.

He says he started strategizing six months ago due to several factors. "The nest egg, the 401K are not what they used to be, and I’m getting older. I wanted to start something while I have the energy to do it," he said.

Still to come are cargo shorts, and attached to each will be a Rix bottle opener, reflecting one of Ralston’s quirky obsessions.

"It’s just a fun, silly thing," he said. "Whenever I go to a party, no one ever seems to have a bottle opener. I’ve seen people open them on a bumper, putting two bottle caps together, using chopsticks, banging them on a counter, or with their teeth. This way, they’ll never be without an opener."

Ralston doesn’t know if his new endeavor will ever grow as big as Crazy Shirts. For one thing, there’s a lot more competition for clothing dollars today.

"The way that took off always amazed me, so if I do it again, I’d be amazed again."

 

Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up