Editor’s note: For Kaua`i regrets that in its print version, the name of the shopping village where Cariloha is located was mistakenly identified. It is in Po`ipu Shopping Village and is correctly named in the following article.
Bamboo is the new silken caress, the new feels-like-a-feather brush of pashmina against bare skin — but with the upside factor that no animal products are involved.
Mostly, we know bamboo as that cool, green-looking grass, some species of which can shoot up to three feet in a 24-hour period.
But beautiful, elegant bamboo has captured the heart, imagination and excitement of so many persons with green genes that it was only a matter of time before it would land in Po`ipu. And now it has, in the form of men and women’s clothing, bed and bath accessories and more.
From wall to wall in Cariloha Bamboo, a 1,100 sq. ft. shop located in the Po`ipu Shopping Village, bamboo is busting to make converts of us all.
“I wasn’t familiar with bamboo fabric until I started with Cariloha, and I just love it,” says Donna Miller, general manager of the shop that her daughter and son-in-law, Stephanie and Chris Davis, own. “It’s soft and durable, and a great renewable resource to make fabric out of, and I don’t see any downside to it. I’m excited about the products.”
Miller continues, “I have the sheet sets and towels and I love them both. The sheets are probably the best I’ve slept in. I was really surprised how soft they are.”
In addition to items crafted from a bamboo textile base, Cariloha Bamboo sells other bamboo products as well. There are accessories such as handbags and jewelry — and there’s even a bamboo iPhone cover.
Bamboo wasn’t always on the minds of the Davises, a couple who have marketing and logistics expertise as their combined background, but when they visited Puerto Rico on a cruise in 2010, they discovered a Cariloha store and fell in love with the brand.
The name Cariloha, by the way, is a combination of the Hawaiian Aloha and Caribbean culture that inspired the company’s founder and CEO, Jeff Pederson. That’s another great story on its own and you can read more about it online at http://www.cariloha.com — click on “about us.”
Back to the Davises. They researched the company thoroughly, deciding that after finding so many up sides to it they bought in. Some of those up sides included outright ownership, territorial exclusivity, expansion possibilities and a network of interns trained by Cariloha that arrive in six-month waves to learn even more in shops such as Cariloha Bamboo in Po`ipu.
Living in Illinois might have been a handicap to their plans, but Stephanie’s mom happily moved here and is the mainstay of the shop until the Davises can move here full time.
“It’s been an incredible experience, beyond belief,” says Stephanie, adding, “The hardest part for Chris and me is that I want to be there, I want share my love for this business and these products with everyone who comes to the store.”
It should be about fun, also, and the couple has set up a display they call “feel the difference” where bamboo fabric, organic cotton and cotton blends are there for the touching and comparing.
“We‘re offering something where we have such a great impact on ecology and the environment that it gets us excited every day,” says Stephanie. “I don’t mean to sound cliché, but I want to make every moment count.”
It matters to her that multiple customers have come in, made purchases, returned the following day and then visited again with a friend, even wearing one of their purchase. That’s one way of measuring success, she says.
The Davises have a plan, and it includes opening store No. 2 within 12 to 24 months and eventually having Cariloha Bamboo stores on all of the Hawaiian islands.
“We want to make sure every moment that a decision is made that it results in true value for us, our customers and the brand,” says Stephanie.
“We want to say, yes, we have some awesome products, but we also have a really great time, make every moment count and have fun while doing it.”
Cariloha Bamboo — sustaining a family, sustaining a community, sustaining a planet.
Cariloha Bamboo is located at 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive in Po`ipu Shopping Village next to Po`ipu Tropical Burger and Honolulu Wahine. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For information, call 742-5220. To learn more about Cariloha, visit online at http://www.kauai.com/carilohabamboo