Local girl, Saedene Ota had always dreamed of creating a modern brand, inspired by all things “good” on Maui. Along with Sae Design, her award-winning design team, they opened Maui Thing in Wailuku in 2008 and provided the island with “clothing with a conscience.” They adopted the slogan “stuck on good,” and have been running with it ever since.
Another kama‘aina returned home from the big city with her husband and 3-year old son. Being a young mom, Amanda Robson decided to pursue her passion of providing Maui families with a place to gather and have access to a handpicked selection of books and toys for keiki aimed to spark their imagination and feed their young minds. So she brilliantly developed Maui Children’s Bookstore and have been seen doing pop-up events all across the island.
Amanda and Ashley Takitani Leahey, co-owner of Maui Thing and great friends with Amanda, worked closely in developing the business and finding ways for their companies to continually collaborate. A blessing in disguise, the Makawao location for Maui Children’s Bookstore fell through. So they turned to Ashley and Maui Thing, and did a pop-up bookstore. What seemed to be a hurdle in their journey, turned out to be a great blessing. By opening their doors to this start-up company, Maui Thing benefitted by having this nurturing, wonderful company within their walls for a day attracting new customers and families.
Maui Thing has been a business mentor to the start-up bookstore. Loving their delightful methods, handpicked inventory and thoughtful business plan, Saedene and Ashley saw a great opportunity for collaboration. After 6 years in Wailuku, the businesswomen see the potential in Wailuku and have been advocates to the town’s bright future. To be able to keep their business in their hometown that they love so much, Maui Thing recently decided to focus on women and children’s apparel. “Our bread and butter has always been women and children apparel and we finally decided it was time to make a change if we wanted to sustain our small business,” remarks Ashley who oversees inventory and finances. In an effort to revamp their store with minimal cost, they chose to develop their children’s focus and invited Amanda into the Maui Thing ohana. She excitedly accepted this win-win offer and in mid-September Maui Thing will host a permanent fixture of Maui Children’s Bookstore within their walls, complete with their vibrant children’s books, educational toys and interactive art and parent/child classes.
So next time you’re in Wailuku, come check out the new space. You can’t help but smile when you see the perfect, positive partnership of Maui family businesses, books and fashion.