On a shopping spree through Waikiki, clients might naturally
gravitate to designer marquees like Tiffany, Gucci, Chanel and
Coach. But if industry leaders have their way, visitors will pay
equal attention to stores in the area selling authentic Hawaiian
and locally produced merchandise as well.
One such Waikiki venture is the new Mana Hawaii-Spirit of Hawaii
Nei, a 1,600-square-foot store opening in mid-April. A
collaboration between five companies Native Books, Na Mea Hawaii,
Hula Supply Center, Ukulele House and The Lomi Shop its inventory
covers a melange of made-in-
Hawaii merchandise, like hand-screened clothing, ipu (gourds),
coconut massage oil, musical instruments, artwork and books about
the language, history and nature of the islands.
“It’s vital to support businesses that feature island-based
producers and artists, particularly Native Hawaiians,” said Mana
Hawaii co-owner Maile Meyer, a leader on the Hawaiian arts and
culture retail scene. “The more cultural products that are
available to visitors, the more opportunity they have to deepen
their understanding of what makes Hawaii such an extraordinary
At the same time, Mana Hawaii presents clients with the
opportunity to delve into the culture even deeper, right there in
the shop, by spending time with local artists and taking part in
“We want visitors to experience the essence of Hawaii the way
locals would, by learning and doing,” Meyer said.
To that end, guests can hear about the ukulele’s place in the
Hawaiian musical realm during strum-along lessons. They can visit
the store during sessions on Hawaiian wellness and find out more
about ancient healing practices like lomi lomi massage. Guests can
weave hala leaves or polish kukui nuts while discovering the
age-old significance of those natural products. They can also take
part in talk-story sessions covering topics of interest to today’s
Mana Hawaii is located on the second floor of a retail complex,
which is part of Outrigger Enterprises’ new Waikiki Beach Walk
“Mana Hawaii is very important to the mix of stores and
restaurants at Waikiki Beach Walk,” said Outrigger Enterprises vice
president of retail development and leasing Barbara Campbell. “It
is in many ways the centerpiece of our complex, because it plays
such an important role in giving visitors an authentic Hawaiian
experience that can only be found here.”
Meyer likes to call Mana Hawaii a community resource.
“We offer access to the Hawaiian community for visitors who want
to meet people and experience things that embody the true essence
of Hawaii,” she said. “We want visitors to be able to celebrate
Hawaii on a deeper level and feel a connection to our home.”
Meyer and her partners chose to open their store in Waikiki
because of the area’s deep roots in history.
“Waikiki has always been a Hawaiian place,” she said. “That sense
is restored when Hawaiians are physically present here once
Given Waikiki’s ultra-expensive real estate, it’s notable that
strong local brands and niche retailers have been included in the
destination’s shopping mix.
As it continues to renovate and reinvent itself for visitors,
Waikiki is offering clients a growing number of shops and settings
for purchasing locally made products. Here are just a few of the
Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts (Kapahulu Avenue) features
thousands of island shirts, including vintage togs dating back to
the 1930s. It also sells rare Hawaiian collectibles.
Hilo Hattie’s 29,000-square-foot flagship store (under
construction in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center), its first
Waikiki location, draws shoppers with its extensive line of aloha
wear, local foods, books, music, jewelry and souvenirs.
The International Marketplace
(Kalakaua Avenue), a long-standing Waikiki shopping tradition,
presents a casual maze-like outdoor setting for dozens of carts,
shops and artisan stands, presided over by a century-old banyan
The Little Hawaiian Craft Shop
(Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center) represents 100 local artisans
producing everything from inexpensive trinkets to rare shell
necklaces from the island of Niihau.
Mana HawaiiSpirit of Hawaii Nei (opening mid-April in Waikiki
Beach Walk) combines the cultural insights and products of five
retailers of island products, while providing in-store Hawaiian
Maui Divers (Waikiki Beach Walk) promotes itself as the largest
jewelry manufacturer in Hawaii, credited with the discovery of
Hawaiian black coral and rare Hawaiian gold coral.
Philip Rickard (Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center) sells the works
of 60 jewelers, craftsmen and technicians who manufacture exclusive
gold and platinum Hawaiian jewelry.
Under the Koa Tree (Waikiki Beach Walk) specializes in
photography, jewelry, glass works and stunning pieces of woodwork
like bowls made of kukui (candlenut).