Support Local, Go Native!
Motherhood changed Mele Kalama-Kingma in more ways than one. For starters, Kalama-Kingma soon discovered that she, well, kind of smelled bad.
“I was like, ‘What happened?'” she recalls with a laugh.
As a health-conscious dietician, Kalama-Kingma began hunting for a healthy solution. Skin, after all, she reasons, is the body’s largest organ — what it “eats” matters, too. So when her search turned up empty, Kalama-Kingma resorted to making her own all-natural body powder instead.
“I was like a mad scientist for like, three months,” she says.
After sharing the final product with cousins and a few others, demand for it quickly grew. It inspired Kalama-Kingma to go into business, and about five years ago, she officially launched Mamalani.
In addition to a collection of body powders available in various scents, Mamalani also now offers stick deodorants, blended oils and medicinal salves. Almost everything is made with locally sourced ingredients, which inspired another business venture for Kalama-Kingma: Go Native!
A subscription box that costs about $34.95 each month, Go Native! highlights natural made-in-Hawaii products, including those from Mamalani. Each box contains about four or five items made by Kalama-Kingma, as well as others from local farmers and artisans she has gotten to know throughout the years.
Currently, Kalama-Kingma works with about four regular vendors. One, for example, makes herb-infused soaps while another creates all-natural eye shadows. There’s also a farm on Hawaii island that grows its own cinnamon. Items will continue to change as they become available, and all of it, says Kalama-Kingma, helps piece together a rather simple big-picture idea.
“The goal was to showcase products that not only are good for you but also have the intention to perpetuate Hawaiian culture,” she says.
“What I’m trying to do is really show this is who we are, we really take care of our land, we try not to make a lot of waste.
“It’s quality over quantity,” she adds.
Already subscriptions for Go Native! have been taking off, with customers on the Mainland and here in Hawaii. Things have been rather hectic, says Kalama-Kingma, but she’s excited to see where it goes.
“People like the subscription; you get a present every month,” she says. “It’s just been like, wow.”
For more information, visit mamalani.com.
WHAT’S IN A BOX?
Subscription boxes are so much fun. Go Native! owner and founder Mele Kalama-Kingma is right: It’s exactly like getting a present every month.
Kalama-Kingma was kind enough to give this Metro writer a sample of what subscribers received last month. Here’s a closer look: • Mamalani Ke‘ala Organic Deodorant Stick: Though there was a bit of a powdery texture when it dried, the trade-off for something natural was worth it. Plus, made with essential oils like lavender, lemongrass and tea tree, it had a refreshing and bright smell. • Mamalani Lokahi Body Powder: For those who have never used body powder before, putting it on might feel a bit awkward. Though, like the deodorant stick, it smelled pretty great and would be good to use before working out. • Mamalani Eleu Energy & Tension Oil Blend: I am a huge fan of essential oils, especially to use when I have a headache, which is exactly what this one was made for. I didn’t have many headaches while I had this at my disposal, but on the few occasions I did, a whiff of this did help to clear the stuffiness from my sinuses. Plus, it was made with some of my favorite essential oils (peppermint, wild orange and frankincense). • The Lotus Blossom in You Herb Eyeshimmer: I loved the idea of using an all-natural eye shadow, but this one was a bit too dark for my skin tone. Still, it clung to my skin well and I imagine would look great on those with the right coloring. • Hawaii Island Grown Cinnamon: To be honest, I didn’t taste any distinct difference from any other cinnamon I’ve had before. However, just the fact that it is farmed locally already has me wanting more.
Honestly, I think this subscription box is worth it. It’s fun and good for you and, more importantly, puts local makers in the spotlight.
04.29.2016 Summit Magazine + Whole Foods - Mother Natured
As a third-generation member of the Kalama family growing up in Ka‘elepulu in Kailua, Mele Kalama-Kingma remembers her grandmother, or kupuna wahine, Mama Lani, as a source of inspiration and strength. Kekauilani Kalama, fondly referred to as “Mama Lani,” was a well known hula teacher and Hawaiian cultural practitioner in Kailua. While Kalama-Kingma’s mother worked full-time as an adventure tour guide and her father as a drug recovery program specialist at Halawa Correctional Facility, Mama Lani helped to look after the children, teaching Kalama-Kingma about her family, the ways of her ancestors, and about the Hawaiian people. Kalama-Kingma’s grandfather was a skilled fisherman and inventor, whom she refers to as “a man of ingenuity before his time,” with a passion for music. Her grandmother had learned hula from renowned kumu hula Lokalia Montgomery and taught it for decades in Kailua.
Mama Lani promoted aloha—not as a slogan or a passing greeting, but as an authentic way of life. She taught Kalama-Kinga and her six cousins about the word’s meaning, how each letter stood for various principles: ‘akahai (kindness), lokahi (unity), ‘olu‘olu (agreeable), ha‘aha‘a (humility), and ahonui (perseverance).
“Aloha meant showing love for this land where we live,” says Kalama-Kingma. “To live in Hawai‘i and to truly be of this place, each of us had to incorporate that meaning of aloha in our everyday life.”
Kalama-Kingma remembers a childhood instilled with these values; of tending for the land that her family owned, and of living practically across the street from Kailua Beach, where she swam and surfed and soaked up the sun. She remembers Mama Lani powdering her and her five cousins with a floral scented natural deodorant and body powder after they showered.
Today, she is a mother herself, with two children and a third on the way. In 2012, after she had just given birth to her second child, Kalama-Kingma looked for healthier options for her growing family in terms of food and healthcare. With degrees in nutrition and food science from Loyola Marymount University and the University of Hawai‘i and having worked as a dietician at the Waimānalo Health Center, she was familiar with organic and GMO-free food items and ingredients, but was surprised at the difficulty in acquiring healthcare products that were safe for babies. Even baby powder has artificial ingredients; Kalama-Kinga learned of the harmful effects that aluminum and artificial preservatives may have on the body around the same time that two of her aunties were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Kalama-Kingma decided to make her own products, experimenting with local ingredients to create a healthy and safe powder to use as a deodorant and for skincare. She used locally-grown USDA-certified organic pia (Hawaiian arrowroot), which absorbed the body’s natural oils and odors. That, together with baking soda, kaolin clay, and ‘olena (turmeric powder), formed the body powder base. The ingredients worked wonders and, before long, she began packaging small amounts of her new powders to give to friends and family. After one cousin loved the deoderant so much that she asked for enough to give to her entire 15-person paddling team, Kalama-Kingma wondered if she could turn her new passion into a business.
“I spoke with my husband and we decided to invest our tax return for that year as startup capital to give this a try,” says Kalama-Kingma. “I knew how to make the powder, but had to start everything else from the ground up.”
Kalama-Kingma settled on “Mamalani” as the name of her product line after the grandmother who had taught her so much about her culture and about sustainability. She built the company from the ground up. When she needed containers for her powder, she researched diverse markets to find the perfect sustainable packaging that was sturdy, yet biodegradable. She needed labels for her products, so she spent three months teaching herself how to use Photoshop and designed her packages and display items. The pia and ‘olena she grew herself, in a small garden at home, as well as on a one-third acre farm owned by her family on the Big Island. That year, in 2012, Kalama-Kingma joined a friend as a vendor at the Made in Hawai‘i Festival with some of her debut products. She anticipated selling only a handful of products that weekend; instead, she sold over 300.
Kalama-Kingma also attracted the attention of buyers for local shops and boutiques, who were interested in carrying Mamalani in their stores. “It was a whirlwind experience. Vendors were asking me about wholesale and bulk prices and I had no idea what they were talking about,” Kalama-Kingma says with a laugh. “The business side was all so new to me and I was literally figuring it out as I went along.”
Kalama-Kingma learned quickly and she soon expanded her brand to accommodate her fast-growing audience. Kalama-Kingma’s single body powder developed into a set of five representing the principles of aloha, each with the same base ingredients, but with different additional ingredients that create different scents and are used for different purposes. Lemongrass, tea tree and chamomile for ‘akahai; lavender, clary sage and grapefruit for lokahi; rosemary, sage and peppermint for ‘olu’olu; clary sage, patchouli and lime peel for ha’aha’a; and the unscented ahonui. All of Mamalani’s oils and ingredients are USDA-certified organic and free of GMOs, aluminum, chemicals and preservatives.
“I don’t mind sharing my recipes for everything in my powders,” says Kalama-Kingma, “because it demonstrates transparency; nothing but the best ingredients. No surprises, no preservatives and nothing artificial.”
Today, Mamalani is available in 54 stores across Hawai‘i including Whole Foods, at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, at spas, and nationwide in Washington, California, New York and beyond. “Just telling people where some of my products are located inspires trust. Because it means product integrity,” says Kalama-Kingma, who commends Whole Foods in particular, for working with her to advise on all the proper insurance and certifications necessary to take Mamalani to the next level.
“I have an open-door communication with them, and they’ve helped me plan the business: they work with me on ordering, on new ideas, and they’re flexible with display visuals and everything,” Kalama-Kingma says. “There are tough regulations to have products carried at Whole Foods, but it helps ensure quality.”
Despite being able to find her products around the globe, each batch is still made, by hand, in Kailua. “I’ll prepare some ingredients and then go into the other room to wash the clothes and then come back,” Kalama-Kingma says. Demand for her powders has gotten so great, she’s enlisted her father’s help with farming, packaging and more; growing the company simply means an opportunity for her to work more with her family, which is one of the things she loves most about Mamalani. That and spreading her powders—and culture—with a wider audience than ever previously possible.
“Every interaction with customers is an opportunity to share who we are [in Hawai‘i],” says Kalama-Kingma. “It’s not just about the products; it’s a reflection of the Hawaiian people, of the land, and the connection here for generations. Like the powders, life comes from the land. And both are forged with aloha.”
04.19.2016 Lei Chic Honolulu Magazine
Handmade on the Windward Side with lavender, coconut oil and ylang ylang, this moisturizing body butter is perfect for combatting dryness and maintaining skin elasticity. $15, mamalani.com
03.24.2016 Gala France Stylist Magazine
12.01.2015 Gala France Issue on Sustainability and Living in Hawaii
01.20.2015 Aloha Street Magazine
9.18.2014 Article by XO JANE
www.xojane.com - http://www.xojane.com/diy/i-swear-by-homemade-deodorant-and-so-can-you
#2 The "Fancy" Mix
Okay, kinda fancy.
I bought this scented "Mamalani Deodorant & Body Powder" at Whole Foods in Hawai'i. You can buy it online here.
It's basically everything already mixed together for you, plus kaolin clay for moisture absorption, in a smooth and lovely scented powder. I like the "'Akahai" (tea tree, lemongrass, chamomile) and the "Lokahi" (lavender, grapefruit, clary sage) scents.
Three ounces of Mamalani powder lasted me about 10 months, I suspect it could last longer.
And if you want to just brush it into your pits with an old powder brush, it works pretty well that way too (you can do this with the baking soda mix as well). I prefer to just mix in coconut oil as detailed above, and make a sweet smelling "batter" to schmear into my pits.
So if you want something a little less pared down, but still kind of DIY, Mamalani is a great way to go.
And there are my Armpit Secrets (and the title to my first book). It worked for me, it could work for you. I swear I don't smell.
Give it a whirl and let me know if it works! And if you have any great deodorant recipes please share!
InRed Japanese Magazine, 9.01.2014
MANA Magazine March 2014 Issue
Fall 2013 Winter Issue. Go Kailua Magazine. Story about the Community. Made in Kailua.
Inspired by Mama Lani
For Mele Kalama-Kingma, the word “aloha” is the source of all that she does in creating Mamalani, her line of organic, handmade and locally sourced body powders and deodorants.
Each one of her body powders is actually named after the five letters of the word, which stand for the principles of ‘Akahai (kindness), Lokahi (unity), ‘Olu’olu (agreeable), Ha’aha’a (humility) and Ahonui (perseverance).
Those five principles were all taught to her by her late grandmother and well-known Kailua kumu hula, Kekauilani Kalama, also known fondly as Mama Lani.
Mama Lani always reminded Kalama-Kingma to treat others and the land with aloha in the truest sense. Thus, the business is named after her.
The seeds for Mamalani were planted when Kalama-Kingma, herself a third-generation Kailuan, dietitian and mother of two, began looking closely at the ingredients in commercial body products.
Instead of artificial fragrance oils, she wanted something natural and good for the skin, using organic essential oils.
Taking after her late grandfather, Charles Kalama, who was always inventive, she began doing some research, and discovered a native Hawaiian plant—pia, or Hawaiian arrowroot.
Pia (Maranta Arundicae) contributes a soft texture while absorbing the body’s naturally occurring oils and odors. The USDA-certified organic arrowroot powder is combined with baking soda, kaolin clay and ‘olena, or turmeric powder, as the base of the body powders.
Mama Lani always reminded Mele Kalama-Kingma to treat others and the land with aloha in the truest sense. Thus, the business is named after her. Photo: Kimberly Migita And Kaohua Lucas
Kalama-Kingma, 29, grows the pia as well as ‘olena on a one-third acre farm owned by her family on Hawai’i Island.
She also grows them in a small garden at home, where she produces her line of body powders and deodorants by hand— from start to finish (down to the label for each container, which she designed herself).
The rest, including essential oils, are certified organic ingredients from around world. Each of the products is aluminum-free, chemical-free and preservative-free.
The Lokahi body powder, for instance, offers subtle scents of lavender, clary sage and grapefruit. The ‘Olu’olu body powder features rosemary, sage and pepper.
Another Mamalani product is Hiamoe, or Sleepytime Body Powder, which features ‘awa, Roman chamomile and sandal-wood. It can be sprinkled on the neck, feet, arms, pillows and bedsheets at night to help you fall asleep.
For Kalama-Kingma, the native Hawaiian plant component is a very important part of her products.
“It’s about bringing back awareness of native plants, not just for products, but for food,” she says.
Eventually, Kalama-Kingma also hopes to expand her line to include bottled turmeric powder.
Mamalani is carried at Down to Earth, Whole Foods Market and Global Village. Prices range from $12.99 for individual body powders to $34.99 for gift packages. For more information, visit WWW.MAMALANI.COM.
November 2013. Ka Wai Ola o OHA. Support Hawaiian businesses. www.oha.org
Honolulu Weekly: April 17, 2013 Sustainability Issue
November 2012: Governor Abercrombie "Buy Hawaii, Give ALOHA"
December 6th, 2012: Honolulu Weekly http://honoluluweekly.com/city-wise/2012/12/mamalani-organic-deodorants-and-body-powders/