The Hawaii brand is beloved around the world and there are mom and pop enterprises that want to give that love back but don’t know how.
Enter Mana Up, a new accelerator aimed at promoting homegrown Hawaii products and transforming them into million-dollar companies and brands. The new initiative launched an intensive 12-week accelerator session in January for its first cohort of 10 companies, chosen from a pool of 85 applicants. The locally based companies get help with marketing, pricing, distribution, scaling and other strategies to support their rapid growth beyond the state.
Mana Up is the brainchild of three people: well-known local entrepreneur Meli James, president of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association; relative newcomer Brittany Heyd, a founder of the globally funded startup accelerator 1776; and Michael Cheski, a Punahou grad who has helped launch more than 100 products with brands such as TLC, Food Network, Amazon and most recently, Shopify.
Mana Up’s goal: Take 20 Hawaii companies a year with revenue in the $100,000-a-year-and-up range and grow them tenfold over the next five or six years. They must be companies with local products and headquarters in the Islands. The point, say the founders, is building the Hawaii brand with authentic products that support the economy, create jobs and produce a new generation of CEOs and other business leaders. Support for the new venture comes from well-established Hawaii institutions such as Kamehameha Schools, which are underwriting the cost of operations and will have ongoing opportunities to be associated with young, upcoming growth companies. As well the three Mana Up partners will be drawing on the extensive networks of mentors they have developed over the years.
“We have some great entrepreneurs creating local products, but the challenge is mentorship and access to resources and capital.”
—Meli James,Entrepreneur and co-founder of Mana Up
“We have some great entrepreneurs creating local products, but the challenge is mentorship and access to resources and capital,” says James, who most recently was head of new ventures at Sultan Ventures and program director of XLR8UH, UH’s venture accelerator. “How do we take something that is a regional strength – our brand – and put attention toward product innovation? This sector is actually a huge market but we haven’t been able to connect the dots.”
That’s what Mana Up hopes to do.
“China produces so many products that are using the Hawaii brand, and you see products across the Mainland using the Hawaii brand, and yet they have nothing to do with Hawaii. Maui Style Potato Chips, for instance, are probably the top-selling brand in the U.S. and yet they’re not made here,” James says.
“The brand of Hawaii is universally loved and yet Hawaii doesn’t profit from its own brand. Many of the companies at $300 million annual revenue are not based here. So how can you start moving market share to companies here that have the authentic narrative? How do we give local companies a step up in order to play ball? That’s what we’re going to do.”
The partners say they will use strategies that appeal to Millennials, a generation that has passed the Baby Boomers in numbers and will soon pass them in shopping power. Millennials want authenticity, says James.
“They turn the product over and read the fine print. They want to know who is the founder? Is it a clean product? People are searching for more authenticity and looking for the culture. It’s something we could take advantage of. Take the example of Neiman Marcus: They actually have a Made in Hawaii section and even have pictures of the products with the founders and their stories.
“The store’s epicurean section is the highest grossing in the world and half is made in Hawaii,” says James. “What’s funny is it’s almost unstocked. People come in and buy out shelves of products. They literally can’t keep the shelves stocked because they’re being bought like crazy. We know this market exists and we know it’s much larger than what’s being bought here. People want these products.”
Interestingly, each of the 10 companies in the first cohort have some type of agricultural component in their product mix, says James. “They are all either sourcing or growing themselves a raw agricultural material from the Islands. This is profound when you think about massive sectors coming together – agriculture, tourism, innovation and technology – to build an industry here for the future.
“What’s really powerful,” continues James, “is seeing these industries coming together. Agriculture is seeing a big turnover, with sugar and pineapple leaving; the tourism economy is booming more than ever; technology is getting to a level where e-commerce is leveling the playing field; and we’re really looking at innovation and entrepreneurship rising. … When we combine strong industries that have all of these pieces put together – making a strong connection to land and culture – it’s good for Hawaii. We’re creating something in Hawaii to last.”
Partner Brittany Heyd, settled on Maui two years ago with her Maui-born husband and two young children. The Mana Up challenge is the newest in a series of roles for her that have included a White House internship with Rahm Emanuel when he was President Barack Obama’s chief of staff; both a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown; and positions as managing director and general counsel at 1776. She remains a part-time general counsel with 1776, but now she is in Hawaii with the idea of nurturing local business on many levels.
“There is a very entrepreneurial spirit here,” says Heyd, who comes from a family of California entrepreneurs. “You have a thousand local products and all these things bring out the creativity that Hawaii people are forced to have in a lot of ways. We live on an island and if we want something new, a lot of times it has to come from within. I find that interesting and admirable.
“There’s also a very strong community here in that people want to support local. There’s a feeling that we’re all in this together, which puts entrepreneurs ahead of the game because they already have this ‘family’ to support them.”
Heyd says Mana Up will focus on companies that are already on solid footing, but want to grow.
“You have to have a specific mindset in order to want to grow,” she says. “It’s hard. There are plenty of companies that have a local market here in Hawaii and they want to stay at that size and they’re making enough money to support themselves and that’s wonderful. But there are a portion of companies that do want to grow, those that know there’s a bigger market out there and want to get help to capitalize on it. Those we want to work with.”
In order to create and maintain the momentum, Mana Up has support from other entrepreneurs as well as investors that want to build this important part of the economy, including Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, Castle & Cooke/Dole Plantation, American Savings Bank, Innovate Hawaii and the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. As the companies grow and expand, the Mana Up’s partner institutions will have ground-floor accessibility to new growth industries that will help the state’s economic strength. Additionally, Mana Up envisions an e-commerce platform to sell each company’s products. Mana Up will buy products wholesale and sell them through the online retail platform. The financial return will also help support their efforts going forward.
“I think we’ll have a tremendous economic development impact in terms of building companies and their revenues, which obviously means more jobs.”
—Brittany Heyd,co-founder, Mana Up
Stacy Clayton, executive strategy consultant in the Kamehameha Schools’ Strategy & Innovation Division, sees the new accelerator as critically important to the state and its children. That’s a major reason the private school for Native Hawaiian children became a sponsor.
“We need to see Native Hawaiian business owners who are not just at the mom and pop level but who really add value to the larger marketplace and Hawaii,” says Clayton. “There’s a huge market out there for Native Hawaiians to be able to capitalize on. We need to see other Native Hawaiian businesses that are operating at higher levels of revenue generation.”
What’s good for Native Hawaiians, adds Clayton, is good for Hawaii. “We appreciate the sensitivity and the authenticity that Mana Up is looking at, ensuring that these products that are made in Hawaii and are tagging themselves as Hawaiian brands –that they’re proceeding in a way that’s authentic,” she says. “They’re not just capitalizing on Hawaiian values but there’s true authenticity when culture is used as part of the business branding.
“We love it when culture is elevated to a global market but it needs to be done with care and authenticity.”
Part of Mana Up’s commitment includes building that online platform to market these Hawaii products; the partners already have a warehouse for storage, packing and shipping products.
“I think we’ll have a tremendous economic development impact in terms of building companies and their revenues, which obviously means more jobs,” says Heyd. “That’s our top line metric that we’re driving for. The idea is how much revenue can we grow? We all want to make this a place to create a dream, a place where kamaaina can have amazing job opportunities. The more that we can build strong companies in Hawaii, the more opportunities and interesting jobs we can bring.”
Says James: “These companies now are at the mom and pop level, and we want to help them get to the seven-digit level – into the millions – by creating an innovative ecosystem to build the next 100 CEOs with million-dollar annual revenue companies.”
Meet the Mana Up Companies
The public will be able to sample and buy Hawaii products from the first cohort of Mana Up companies, and meet the people and companies behind those products.
The event is April 27 at 3 p.m. at a venue to be announced.
Here are the companies in Mana Up’s first cohort and their CEOs or founders:
11.2017 Switching to Natural Powder Deodorant Stopped My Underarm Rashes BYEMILY BARTH ISLER
When I began converting to natural beauty products, I thought I’d never switch to anatural deodorant. I assumed none of them would actually work, and let’s just say that I didn’t want to smell, you know,natural.
Then I had a baby.I breastfed her, and, as I sat for hours and hours as she nursed, I realized that her tiny, delicate face with her little nose and mouth sat pretty much in my armpit. I knew I had to do something about my deodorant situation. It had to be natural and non-toxic: I didn’t want my defenseless little one inhaling anything potentially harmful as she breastfed for hours at a time. It also had to work. I didn’t want to subject her to my stinky BO if my deodorant didn't work.
Thus started my natural deodorant quest, and after a few tries, I discovered that many of them are pretty damn good, and most of them actually work. So, end of story, right? Nope. Enter a whole other issue that plagued me for the next six years: underarm irritation.
I know, I know, it’s a very glamorous and sexy topic, and I just love going public about the fact that I’ve had sore, red, welt-covered armpits for years, but I feel like it’s important to share because I’ve come to learn that many people suffer from this affliction. And since I’ve actually discovered the life-changing product that has solved my problems, it’s worth talking about my bumpy, red pits.
For years, it went like this: I’d find a new natural deodorant and I’d try it. I’d be delighted how well it absorbed wetness and prohibited odor, even in the heat of summer. I’d use it for a few days. I’d break out in painful red bumps on my armpits and get really, really discouraged.
I came to my own conclusion that I must be allergic to baking soda. After all, why do so many of these companies makebaking soda-free “sensitive” formulations? But I had the same rash in reaction to all the baking soda-free versions I tried.
I gave up. I resigned to having red, irritated armpits. I wasn’t willing to go back to conventional antiperspirant, and I didn’t want to use the crazy supersteroid my doctor prescribed (hello, side effects!), so I bought some long-sleeved clothes, stopped shaving my armpits regularly, and settled unhappily into my fate.
“Baking soda is usually not the problem. This rarely happens with our deodorants because the baking soda is used at a less than 5% concentration, plus our formula has the moisturizing oils that counteract the possible drying effect of the baking soda. Additionally, if you sweat at all, you'll neutralize the baking soda (because sweat is mildly acidic) and it won't be an irritant any longer. Most of the time, when using a natural deodorant, rashes are caused by perspiration.”
Greenwood was suggesting that most people are more likely breaking out in rashes as a result of their own perspiration. Myownsweat? Seriously?
"People don’t really get rashes from their own sweat since it’s mostly water with just tiny bits of other things like urea and ammonia," says Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. "Now, if the skin is wet and irritated from sweating, you can obviously get a rash from the moisture, and some people get hives from heat and/or sweat (called cholinergic urticaria)." Sweat and moisture can also contribute to fungul rashes, according to Marchbein, however the cause is fungus, which happens to thrive in warm, humid conditions. "The bottom line is that you can’t really beallergicto your own sweat."
Marchbein also lists fragrance as a common culprit for issues in the underarm area. "Although there are various causes of rashes in the armpits, allergic contact dermatitis to a fragrance contained in the deodorant is one of the more common rashes dermatologists see in this location." Luckily, many of these natural deodorants are available without fragrance! Here are a few I like:Ursa Major's No B.S. Deodorant,Schmidt's Fragrance Free stick, andDeodoMom from Some30weeks
Okay, so maybe I'm notactuallyallergic to my own sweat, but it was clear that excess moisture might be what was causing the irritation, which is when I realized I had a magic solution in my very own closet. I had been sent aPowder Deodorantmonths before — but, of course, I had never tried it, because I assumed, incorrectly, that I was allergic to baking soda.
It had previously seemed counterintuitive to me to addmorepowder to a situation I assumed was caused by powder. But since it was my own sweat, moisture, and chafing probably making my poor pits so irritated, I tried the Mamalani powder for a few days. The results were nothing short of miraculous. The red bumps disappeared, the welts healed. The irritation ceased, and I busted out my favorite tank tops. My struggles (in this arena, at least) were over!
Nowadays, I apply a coat ofBubble and Bee Pit PuttyorSchmidt’s(current favorites are Coconut Pineapple and Charcoal + Magnesium). Once that’s had a chance to absorb, I apply a dusting of the Mamalani Deodorant and Body Powder. I usually use my fingers for that, as advised in the directions, but I’ve also found that an old, fluffy blush brush also works.
I’m not going to lie to you: It’s not always a perfect solution. I do have to reapply the powder halfway through the day if it’s hot or humid, and I often walk around with white residue on my shirts as a result. The latter is why Mamalani founder, Mele Kalama-Kingma, believes more brands don't have powder-based formulas. “Powder may not be viewed as convenient, or [people think it is] more messy," she says. "However, it's still my favorite because it's safe, edible, will never melt, and does not require any kind of preservative." But the mess and the hassle can be easily fixed with a little bit of education. "Powder was commonly used before the 1960s. This is an instance where we have to look to the past to help us out."
I, personally, feel like this is a very small price to pay to have pain-free armpits. I honestly don’t care! If people see that I’m obviously wearing deodorant, well, then, great! Yeah, I wear deodorant — and I’m proud to admit it.
06.2017 HAWAIIAN PRODUCTS I’M LOVING | GO NATIVE! MAY BOX
When I was back home in April, my sisters and I ventured out to theMerrie Monarch Arts + Craft Fairs — multi-day fairs of local Hawaiian vendors from across the state that accompany the annual hula festival. There are hundreds of incredible artists at the various fair locations throughout Hilo, and it seems like the entire population of the island turns out to see if their favorite Hawaiian brands have booths, or if the newest upcoming Hawaiian designer has a pop-up where you can get their new designs.
It can be crowded and intimidating, which definitely usually isn’t my scene. But because I’m so rarely home during the festival, I couldn’t resist and I’m so glad I went — it’s totally worth it to brave the traffic, crush and the Hilo rain to get your hands on some of the best of the best Hawaiian-made arts, crafts, fashions and products.
My favorite part of the craft fair this year was the fact that I bumped into one amazing vendor in particular that — because I’d gone to high school with her! — I’d been following onInstagramfor a while.
Mamalani | Handmade by Hawaiians
One of the reasons I’d been dying to try someMamalaniproducts — which range from deodorants and body powders to oil blends, sunburn sprays, wellness tinctures and more — is because they’re handmade, all natural, and organic. In the past few months (and obviously ever since I found out we’re expecting), I’ve been making a concerted effort to clear out the environmentally harmful, often unhealthy if not downright dangerous, products in my medicine cabinet and self-care regimen, especially those that aren’t cruelty-free. Plus, I love that when I use these products in particular it feels like I’m incorporating a little bit of home into my everyday life here in California.
So I was beyond excited when Mamalani owner, maker (and fellow Kamehameha Schools alumni) Mele Kalama-Kingma told me that she was offeringa monthly health and beauty subscription boxshe curates not only with her own products, but with amazing products from other Hawaiian makers. Each month’s box features a new theme that highlights a native practice or plant that is essential to overall health, along with a recipe.
It’s calledGo Native!and it’s my new favorite thing.
Here’s the most recent Go Native! box for May, centering all around ‘olena (tumeric)…
This months box featured:
Hemo, an oil that’s great for congestion, sinus and earache relief, and is infused over 6 weeks with Hawaii grown ʻolena and hydroponic basil. By Mamalani +The Lotus Blossom in You.
Anti-inflammatoryHawaii ‘Olena Hydrosol Facial Mist, made using organically distilled ‘olena for hydration and healthy skin.
Acustom sachetto tuck away in your drawer, hang in your car or just to place in spaces in need of some extra love. The bags are made by local favorite brand,Kealopiko Three Piko, and are filled with Moloka’i pōhinahina and ʻuhaloa (both plants found locally), and are scented with ‘olena, black pepper and ʻiliahi (sandalwood).
Hawaii IslandPowdered ‘Olena Cooking Spice
Honua Skincare‘Olena Oil Sampler, to counter inflammation for a healthy, ageless and glowing face.
Waiahole Farm Raw ‘Olena Root to use for tea.
These three products above are probably what I’ve been looking forward to trying most. One of the [weird?] side effects of pregnancy for me has been nasal congestion, particularly in the mornings. I haven’t wanted to take anything over the counter for it, both because that can be tricky and because it usually clears up by the early afternoon. But it’s no party while I’m all stuffed up. So the Hemooil will definitely be something that I keep on hand.
I’m also always looking for ways to improve the health of my typically problematic skin. In April’s Go Native! box, I had a chance to try out Honua Skincare’sPa’akai Cleansing Creamand it has made an incredible difference in my overall complexion — haven’t really had any breakouts recently, and a lot of the blemishes I thought were just permanent fixtures in my skin have cleared up. So I’m game for trying both theHydrosol Facial Mistfor an extra boost of hydration, and Honua’s‘Olena Oil Samplerif and when problem areas crop up.
I’ve already incorporated all the rest of the amazing products that came in April’s Go Native! box — as well as a little extra oil I picked up from Mamalani to help ease the pregnancy headaches I’ve been getting lately too — into my everyday routine, and can’t wait to do the same with these ‘olena products!
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.”
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 Naturedhttp://www.summitzine.com/posts/mother-natured/ by James Charisma
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.”
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!
Fall 2013 Winter Issue. Go Kailua Magazine. Story about the Community. Made in Kailua.
Inspired by Mama Lani By Nina WuFor 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.
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