I was never into fashion. I never spent my school days doodling designs in the margins of books…I never dreamed of watching my creations walk down a runway under bright sparkly lights…but sometimes the best things that happen to you are the ones you didn’t plan for.
If I could sum up in 3 words the driving forces that kept KaiKini going over the last 12 years they would be: passion, determination and transformation. When I moved to Kauai in the Spring of 2003 I became obsessed with bikinis. I couldn’t get enough of them. I even worked at a swimwear store part time just so I could get the discount…and buy more. I loved all my kinis, but knew I could take all the things I liked and disliked about them and do even better.
That passion turned into a business. I spent my entire life savings on industrial sewing machines, had them shipped over from LA and taught myself how to sew. It took 8 months of incredibly frustrating trial and error, but I was determined to succeed. The hard work paid off and soon I was in stores across the island and by the beginning of 2011, I launched my website.
Looking back, I realize now that it wasn’t about the fashion, or making the “perfect” bikini…it was about making the “perfect” bikini for YOU, for your body. The very BEST part was seeing how one of my suits could make someone feel. How something I created could literally help someone feel better about themselves, even if it was just a teeny tiny bit better ;) To hear someone say they’ve never been comfortable in a bikini, and now they do, made me feel like all the hard work we put into each one was worth it!
Seeing the joy on someone’s face when they put on a KaiKini for the first time…doing face-to-face consultations and talking through what they're looking for, helping women find the right fit, the right colors to wear…these are the things I will miss most. Witnessing the transformations, the joy, the frustions and working through them. The connections.
I will miss walking into the studio everyday and hearing the hum of the machines, the chit chat between the girls, the music on the speakers. I’m going to miss my staff. Luvie has been with me for over 7 years and I will miss creating things with her, sewing with her, bickering over grain lines and whether or not a print is directional ;) Luvie, thank you for always doing your best, for keeping me in check and for your unwavering faith in me. Knowing that I had your trust and support helped me believe that we could overcome anything!
KaiKini wouldn’t have made it without Luvie or any of the staff that came before her. I appreciate every single person that ever worked with me at KaiKini, whether it was for months or years. You were all part of it, you all had some part, great or small in KaiKini’s journey and I will forever be grateful to you for it. This includes the photographers (shout out to Keith who I worked with the longest and taught me everything I know about product shots and the importance of lighting!), the make-up artists, the collaborators, all the business owners that carried our line…thank you.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well KaiKini was my first “child” and it definitely took a village (more like a community!) to raise her…Now, with 2 small real children, my passion and determination to raise intelligent, kind, curious, confident girls is now focused on them. KaiKini is not going anywhere and neither am I…we are both transforming and evolving into the next stages of our journey and I couldn’t be more excited to see what happens next.
All my love,
A little trip down memory lane...
KaiKini's first studio up in the Wailua homesteads...we moved in here when we got to big to work out of my home. (This was our little ohana unit behind our house)