Sunday, April 15, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Whenever bloggers or magazines have contacted me for interviews, one of the recurring questions is always, "Who inspires you?"

Those three words cannot be answered so simply.  For instance, today, I was invited to a luncheon that was attended by some wonderful women.  Some I know pretty well and some were strangers to me but only for a short time.  I returned home today feeling at peace and inspired.  None of these women were fellow bag designers. Few even sew!   As we went around the table and caught up on the events of the past year, I was aware of how different our lives are.  There were single moms, still enjoying their youth and celebrating potty training.  There was a long-time single woman who has found love in the past year and will be moving soon.  There was a woman who was displaced by her job and is now doing a variety of jobs to pay the bills and find fulfillment in her life.  Two of us lost our dads another her mother-in-law.  One was just diagnosed with breast cancer and sees a surgeon on Wednesday. (We all held hands and gave her all of our positive thoughts and love and energy.)  Our ages spanned from 30 something to mid 60's.  We all used to work together at one point in our lives at the Four Seasons Hualalai, but most of us have moved on to other ventures while 3 or 4 still remain.  We laughed and said that we are the Fifth Season!   

When I try to pinpoint what exactly it is that makes me feel inspired, I think it has to do with the strength of determination.  That spirit that no matter what...I will be okay!  Failure is not an option.  I can do this! 

I appreciate this spirit in both sexes, but I relate well to women who have overcome obstacles in life.  I find myself cheering them on.  However, men inspire me as well. 

I have long been inspired by my maternal great grandfather. James H. Ridenour was a poet, a business man, a farmer and father and a grandfather. He helped to raise my mom when his daughter died as a young mom.   He passed away when I was only 2 years old.  Yet I have memories of him.  He was a dreamer but also a do-er!

 Back in 1915 he and my great grandma homesteaded on a plot of land in Montana.  Life was hard, according to his memoirs.  I also remember my grandma telling us tales of her husband as a young man taking off from Montana to Mexico on a one speed bicycle.  The inner tubes eventually wore out and he used ropes on his rims to finish his journey.  I love that story.  Never say die!  I wish I had the opportunity to meet him in the present day. His determination inspires me to this day and he has been gone for nearly 50 years!   He is one of my heroes. 

Often people have no idea that they are inspiring.  They are just busy living their lives and through all of that something touches us.  Something deep within our core of our being.  Just being touched by someone else is nice, but when that essence moves us to do something of our own....that, to me, is inspiration. 

a hui hou

One of a Kind Kimono Purses

So often, I have customers who contact me and say, "I know you make silk kimono purses, but I don't see them for sale anywhere"!  First of all, I'm sorry that, so far, I haven't been able to stock enough of them to actually sell in one place.  To date, each of the silk kimono bags that I have sold have been "one of a kind originals" and they sell as I make them....or before!

 For those of you who follow my meandering posts, my silk kimono bags will be part of my "wAomH collection" (stands for "with all of my heart" in memory of my dad and in honor of my mom who I will always love wAomH).  I am making the kimono bags now, but am working on a design for my new labels and hardware to showcase in that collection.  Production always takes longer than I wish it did, so I am shooting for 2013 for a release of phase one of the collection.  One thing for certain is that each of the bags in this line will each be as unique as you and I are.  They will each demand my undivided attention and I will put "all of my heart" into each one.  And someplace, somewhere, on each bag, it will bear a heart insignia whether subtly or boldly!  Stay tuned!

I am also shooting for a launch on my new website....but it all takes time...precious time. 

So in the meantime, if there is something special you would like for yourself or for a gift, please feel free to contact me at  I am a real person in a real studio here in Hawaii and welcome your requests. 

a hui hou