Brands that Give Back: The Season for Giving in Hawaiʻi
Written by Kailanianna Ablog
From pumpkin spice lattes to the slow shift from spice to peppermint, it’s the Season for Giving in Hawaiʻi! As 2022 comes to a close, we at Valia Honolulu wanted to highlight some of the many locally- and female-owned brands that give back to their communities - not only during the holidays, but all-year round! While we cannot list every single local business that gives back (because this blog would go on and on), we hope this list is a place to start for all your holiday shopping. If you know of another amazing business we didn’t include here, let us know on social media!
Kākou Collective’s Gives Back to Local Organizations!
Show your love for Hawaiian flowers with Kākou Collective!
With the mission to create and share “authentic artistic expression” that inspires creators and creatives to “connect with the cultural values, traditions, and communities of Hawaiʻi,” Kākou Collective cultivates unique and intentional pieces incorporating aspects of Hawaiʻi. As of this year, Kākou Collective began giving back one percent of their sales each quarter to local organizations and communities that help Hawaiʻi thrive. Some of the organizations Kākou Collective has given back to include Maʻi Movement, The Friends of ʻIolani Palace, and Aha Pūnana Leo.
According to her blog post “Kakou Collective Giving Back,” Kea explains they donated where and when they could in 2020, which inspired them to create collections with the intent to donate sales to local organizations the following year. She believes giving back to the islands cultivates a stronger bond between all communities so all may continue to prosper and culture be preserved, practiced and respected: “As a company inspired by Hawaiʻi, we will be focusing our giving to organizations within Hawaiʻi that benefit the beautiful flora, fauna, and local culture (especially its native people, native species, and language).”
Shop brands that give back and consider supporting Kākou Collective this season and remember that each purchase goes toward our local communities!
Shop with Keiki Kaukau and support the Hawai'i Food Bank
Let's go to Alohaland with Keiki Kaukau and support the Hawai'i Food Bank!
Known for their bright, colorful and quality children’s toys and books, Keiki Kaukau was created by April Hail, a Hawai'i mom and former school teacher who seeks to “authentically represent the Aloha State and its unique blend of cultures,” as well as empower keiki to see and find strength in their heritage(s). Those familiar with local lingo may know that the word “kaukau” means “food,” and it’s with this main way of receiving nourishment that this brand gives back to the islands.
According to their website, Keiki Kaukau has partnered with Hawai'i Food Bank to donate five meals for every play food set they sell. April mentions that “good nourishment is at the foundation of healthy child development,” and that to date, Keiki Kaukau, with the support of their community, have donated over 59,000 meals. She also mentions that the Hawai'i Food Bank helps to feed one out of eight people in Hawai'i; this number includes over 54,000 children. The business also partners with nonprofits on a regular basis “to boost visibility and fundraise,” as well as donates children’s products to schools and nonprofits statewide.
If you are shopping for the little ones this season, shop for a cause by purchasing a food set (or three) from Keiki Kaukau - one of the many amazing, local brands that give back.
Mahina Made’s Support for Nonprofits and Local Businesses
Express your love of lei with Mahina Made and support Native Hawaiian non-profits!
Mahina Made is known for their lei tees (in almost every color of the rainbow - a definite closet staple!), ku’ulei fragrance (sold in roller, candle, room spray, and oil and reed diffuser form), and/or their Hawai'i-inspired home decor. According to their “About Us” page, Mahina Made was founded in 2017 with the mission to “recreate the image of our home through authentic connections to our native culture and language.” Along with creating products that uplift and respect the islands’ stories and culture, Mahina Made donates a portion of their profits each quarter “to various Native Hawaiian nonprofits who do valuable work in caring for” the land, culture and people.
Mahina Made also gives back and supports their fellow local, Hawaiian-owned businesses through the Ho'omau Hawai'i Market, which they created in 2021 when they recognized a need for a support system among local brands who “perpetuate Native Hawaiian culture through their products and business practices.” The next market will be on December 10 and 11th. If you will be on O‘ahu in December, consider visiting and stay connected with Ho'omau Hawai'i Market on social media for details.
Support Mahina Made with a purchase and continue the love by visiting the Ho'omau Hawai'i Market and supporting the vendors there!
Send Girls to School with Mohala Eyewear and Room to Read
Look and feel confident with a new pair of Mohala Eyewear and support girls' education!
Photo courtesy of Mohala Eyewear.
With the mission to help women feel comfortable, valued and confident, empower young girls and promote inclusivity in the realm of eyewear, Ashley Mariko Johnson created Mohala Eyewear. The brand offers its community various nose bridges, widths and adjustable sunglasses frames, specializing in crafting eyewear to fit every unique woman of all backgrounds and face shapes.
Along with making inclusive eyewear, Mohala Eyewear also strives to make a difference in the lives of young girls. They do this by donating one week of school with each eyewear purchase and one day of school with each accessory purchase to the Room to Read Girls’ Education Program. Room to Read is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure all children have access to education so they may be fulfilled and make positive change. As of writing this post, Mohala Eyewear has been able to donate 120 years of school for girls in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam.
If you are in the market for a new pair of eyewear and want to join a brand in giving back this season, be sure to take Mohala Eyewear’s one-minute, five-question “Find Your Fit” quiz and shop knowing your purchase is promoting both inclusivity within the current fashion marketplace and supporting a girl’s education.
Support YIREH and anti-trafficking organizations
Enjoy YIREH's timeless pieces and contribute to a safer world for all people. Photo: Camille Heung wearing YIREH's Brooklyn Jumpsuit in Juniper.
With the passion for sustainability, ethical, intentional practices, and empowering women wherever they are on their journey, YIREH seeks to utilize fashion as a positive force for change and remind women that they don’t need to sacrifice their values for their style. This brand that gives back is known for creating dresses, rompers, jumpsuits, tops, bottoms, and accessories that embody the beauty of femininity and believes that the women who wear their clothing are what makes the pieces beautiful.
According to the brand’s “Our Story” page, Emily Jaime, the founder and designer of YIREH, began her business in her early twenties while living in Bali, Indonesia. Each style is designed by her in Hawai’i and ethically made in a Bali-based WRAP Certified ethical factory. YIREH gives back and keeps the planet at the center of their process by digitally printing their fabrics with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes and no water. They also reduce the waste produced, as they use smaller quantities of fabric to create scrunchies or pareos; scrap fabric is also sold to and repurposed by micro-businesses around YIREH’s partnered factories. In addition to this, YIREH donates to anti-trafficking organizations every year to ensure that not only are the planet’s resources protected, but those who inhabit it are safe and kept sound.
If you or someone you love is a fashionista with a love of their community and the planet, we encourage you to support YIREH as one of our favorite, locally- and female-owned brands that give back.
‘Dress for Success’ with YWCA O‘ahu & Valia Honolulu
Join us for this year's Dress for Success Drive with YWCA O‘ahu!
As a brand that is based on the empowerment of women and our fellow women-owned businesses, each partnership we cultivate and purchase you make goes to continuing the cycle of support within our island home. In this season of giving, we are excited to announce we will be hosting our third annual “Dress for Success” Drive from Monday, Nov. 14 to Saturday, Nov. 19th during shop hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Dress For Success Honolulu, one of the amazing programs offered by YWCA O‘ahu has the mission “to empower women to achieve economic independence;” the YWCA seeks to do this by “providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”
Dress For Success accepts apparel such as suits, cardigans, blazers, as well as seasonal boots, peep-toe and closed toe sling-back pumps and handbags. Jewelry, belts and scarves are also accepted. As detailed on their Donation Guidelines, their areas of greatest need include brand new underwear (tags attached) in all sizes preferably in neutral colors such as beige, white or black, black closed-toe shoes with low heels or flats in all sizes, plus size 18 and above professional attire, medical scrubs in all sizes, and monetary donations and gift cards to places such as Macy’s, Ross, and TJ Maxx.
Dress for Success Honolulu requests that all donations be new or gently used, clean and ready to wear. Donations are accepted on Mondays and Thursdays at their YWCA Laniākea location on 1040 Richards Street from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please call(808) 538-7061 for drop-off availability. If you are unable to drop off your donations in person, stop by our shop during our Dress for Success Drive and we can take it there for you! As a thank you to those who donate at least five items to the drive (or a $25 donation to YWCA O‘ahu for those who cannot make it in-store), donors will receive an early access code to shop our annual Black Friday Sale 24 hours before everyone else, with instructions given upon donation on how to access the site. More details to come as the holidays approach. Now is a great time to start cleaning out your closet so you’ll be ready to go!