Gift Local, Support a Dream
By Sage Yamashita, Inter Reporter
The Molokai community is abundant with creative and innovative people who create Molokai-made products that are perfect for gift-giving during the holiday season. In a series over the next few weeks, The Molokai Dispatch will highlight a selection of local artisans, crafters and shops featuring Molokai gifts that are perfect for supporting the island’s economy and keeping your money local this holiday season. To launch the series, we talked with the owners of IB 808 and All Things Molokai.
Starting as a personal business venture, owner Kenny Adachi recently opened IB 808 in July and is now located above American Savings Bank in Kaunakakai. The store offers local-style clothing and apparel made by the owners and includes merchandise from other Molokai vendors.
“We make 90 percent of the things here,” said Adachi. “It took me a while to realize that we’d be okay to follow our dreams, open our store and do what we love doing.”
All Things Molokai started similarly. The business used to be located in the same building as IB 808, as a small second-hand clothing store. Owner Wailani Tanaka then saw that her friends were making incredible items, and she started selling their merchandise in her store. A couple of years later, the shop moved to the newly-renovated RWH Chen Building and now features the products of more than 40 local vendors.
“When I had my second-hand clothing plus my friend’s products, I kind of noticed one day, walking down the street of Kaunakakai, that I couldn’t find items made by people that I knew,” said Tanaka. “So kind of finding the need of actual Molokai people selling made on Molokai products was the reason why I created and formed that All Things Molokai collective.”
All Things Molokai takes strides to offer employment to almost every small business on the island, create jobs in the shop, and bring Molokai’s products to people’s homes.
IB 808 understands the high involvement in the Molokai community needed for a small business.
“We are involved with the community, especially with the youth program,” said Adachi. “We collaborate with some of our high school sports, and the goal is for us, personally, to inspire the next generation to be independent or not to be afraid of pursuing their dreams.”
These two businesses both do clothing printing. IB 808 does its own screen printing for the lines of shirts featured in its store, like the new native line, that is very popular with local residents.
“Of course, we carry a lot of controversial designs like our Molokai Not for Sale, which is a message we always push,” said Adachi. “But that’s some of the local favorites. And then for a tourist market, because we do get a lot of tourists out here, we promote tourists like our aloha line.”
All Things Molokai carries their lines of Kalohe Moms and A Little Aloha. The business also provides custom printing, which is very popular during the holiday season.
“We have things meant for everybody in the ohana and every age group,” said Tanaka. “We’re like Santa’s workshop, working on Christmas Eve, still fulfilling people’s custom orders.”
With such excitement around the holiday season, it’s important to remember why to shop locally.
“Shopping locally is important because the money stays here,” said Adachi. “I know it’s convenient, it’s cheaper to sometimes order from Amazon or to shop at Walmart or something, but when you spend outside of here, the money goes outside of here.”
“When you are shopping local, you’re supporting a dream, but more importantly, you’re supporting a family,” said Tanaka. “Like, I love doing my taxes at the end of the year. That is my way of seeing the money coming in and the money going back into our community.”
The Molokai Dispatch will be highlighting Molokai-made vendors and stores for the next few holiday weeks. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite Molokai vendor or place to shop locally.
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