Friday, August 21, 2009

Made in Hawaii Fesitval

Well, I'm home from Oahu. I had an amazing day. I met Janet Lipps, owner of the Pacific Islands Gallery at our precious Kona airport (it really is precious) and we flew over to Oahu for the Made in Hawaii Fesitval. It is a gigantuous show of items that are made in our 50th state. I wanted to attend as a buyer this year to check it out and see if I could possibly sign up for next year. I had to investigate the logistics of shipping my bags over to Oahu and setting up a professional looking booth and all the extras that go along with doing a "craft" fair. I had intended to include photos in this post. I even took my camera to Honolulu this morning....but forgot the san disk card in my computer at home! ugh! So there are no photos of the Chinese Dragon that greeted us as we walked in or the marvelous people we encountered today. So I will have to do my best to describe the day for you.

Todays events opened to the general public at 10 am. We arrived a little early and waited in line behind a pretty young mother and her little 7 month old baby girl. She shared with us that she had worked for the state for several years but with cutbacks was heading to the mainland to make her new home in Washington state. But she added, "we'll be back someday". She fed money to the Chinese Dragon to ensure her daughter's good luck and we bid aloha to her. Then we entered the main arena. WOW! So many booths.

Janet and I sort of drifted off in our own directions early on and reconnected later. She was looking for unique items for her gallery and I was looking at booth configuration, lighting, and displays. I also wanted to see if anyone else was selling items that would be competition to me. (no one was I am happy to report!)

At 11am, I meandered into the concert hall and had a bite to eat and listened to Makana. He is just an amazing young slack key guitarist. I have heard him live several times and always enjoy his musical talent.

I must admit something to you here that I am a bit ashamed of. I did not expect the Aloha on Oahu that we experienced today. When I did approach fellow artisans and tell them that I was considering a booth for next year, I was blown away by the responses. One gal I met, who makes beautiful sea glass wrapped jewelry, was so full of aloha that she told me she has extra tables and if I needed to borrow, just to let her know! Her name is Tanya Maiava Ochoa. She is still working on her website but her email address is

I stopped by my friend, Joan Blackshear's booth and was in awe of the beauty of her work. When you see her display of silk table runners and wall hangings, it is breath taking! I HAD to buy one of her runners for myself! And she is SO funny! I love how in love with her husband she is. He cracks her up and it is fun to watch them together. go to to see her work.

I also met two women who just cracked me up. One shared that she just didn't know what she would do if her husband died because she relies on him to set up her booth and cut out her wood products! We laughed! I am going through my collection of business cards and I am thinking that one of the gals was Charlotte Martin Del Campo - Retailer of Various Gift Items. (no web site)

Then I had the opportunity to meet an artist that I have admired for a very long time! She too has an Etsy site, which is where I discovered her. Her name is Holly Kitaura. This woman is amazing. Her art is whimsical and colorful. Much of it cracks me up, which may be why I purchased 3 pieces! And this woman who I admire, but who I just met, offered to let me crash at her house if I do the show next year! Did I mention how much I love Hawaii and the people here? Here is her link:

I had a highlight of the day that truly gave me "chicken skin" as we say here in Hawaii....or "goosebumps" as they say in Idaho! I was purchasing some spices from Kaiulani, the queen of spices on Oahu, and a woman next to me says, "Where did you get your Sasaki Bag?". Stunned, I replied, "I AM Sasaki Bags!". Little did she know that she just fulfilled one of my dreams! Someone recognized my bag without even seeing the tag! (its on the inside). She said that she had been looking at my website for quite awhile but hadn't made a purchase yet. She gave me her name and if she reads this, ....

when you are ready to purchase a Sasaki Bag, let me know it is you, and I will ship it to you for free because you really made my day!

On the flight home, Janet ended up sitting by a pretty girl named Dominique, who is my daughter's age, 28, who was coming to Hawaii because her grandpa just passed away and she wanted to support her parents at this time. We started chatting because I showed Janet the "feet" on Dominique's tote bag and told her I am looking for that kind of feet for my large totes. Then we realized that Janet and Dominique were dressed almost identically! Blue jeans, dark cowl top, greenish leather was uncanny! In the end, Janet offered to save Dominique the $25 cab fare to her parents and she drove both me and her home.

Maybe it was just all the aloha we had experienced today that we just had to share. That is what it is all about, right? Can you tell I had a wonderful day? Will I do the Made In Hawaii next year? I am not ready to decide yet. It is a bit overwhelming. But I will definately consider it.

a hui hou

1 comment:

3DCranes said...

Wow, I'm so jealous that you got to meet Holly! I've been a big fan of hers for a long time.

I last did the Made in Hawaii Festival back in... 2006 (Hmm, I really had to think hard to remember that) and I think the booths then were around $525 or so. I know they go up every year though. But a lot of the Neighbor Island vendors seemed to do well, maybe because all of the customers on Oahu don't know when they'll see you again.