You’ve heard of the cheese of the month club, the wine of the month club, but did you know there’s a ‘Hawaiian gift’ of the month club? I’ve been following Hello Makana for a while now on Facebook, and every time they post something I think, what a brilliant idea. I should blog about it. And never mind that they aren’t based on Maui (they are on Oahu) – they do feature made on Maui products in their boxes, and that’s good enough for me.
Hello Makana (which means gift in Hawaiian) offers monthly gift boxes of created-in-Hawaii items for pay-as-you-go, three, six or twelve month subscription plans. In addition to the monthly boxes, Hello Makana offers themed packages, such as Back to School, and New Keiki (child – available for girls or boys), plus several of their most popular items available individually.
Currently celebrating their one year anniversary this October, the crew from Hello Makana took some time to answer our questions:
Maui Made: How did this idea start?
Hello Makana: As with many entrepreneurial ventures, we started with a common problem we both had – finding a hassle-free way to send truly made-in-Hawaii gifts to our friends and family living away from Hawaii. Going to farmer’s markets and specialty stores to find unique and tasty authentic, locally made items, finding and packing a box, getting to and standing in line at the post office – all of that was just too time-consuming. We wanted to create an easy, time-saving, online solution that allows people to send a Hawaiian gift anywhere in the world, for any occasion, knowing that their purchase truly supports locally made and grown enterprises, tells a little story about Hawaii, comes in a stylish package, and can be personalized with a gift note – just as you would do if you packed the gift to mail yourself.
MM: Do your offerings change throughout the year?
HM: Each month we offer 3-4 different items in the monthly gift boxes, and some of our specialty boxes are seasonal – for instance, we offer gift boxes for the Holidays at a few different price points that will be available just during the months of November and December. Some of of the specialty boxes are available year-round, but tailored to an occasion – like our Back-to-School box for college students away at school, or our Keiki Box, which is great for friends and family welcoming a new baby to the ohana. The Keiki Box was the first specialty box we rolled out because both of us have so many friends living on the mainland who are having babies and we are never able to make it to their baby showers!
MM: What have been some of your most popular items – and some highlights from Maui?
HM: The Keiki Box is definitely one of our most popular specialty boxes. But so is our ‘Ono Gourmet box – a beautiful box that includes organic Hamakua Coast coffee, Kauai grown and made Bananas Foster Jam, dark chocolate made Oahu-grown cacao, and Maui-grown sweet and spicy preserved pineapple by Maui Preserved. We really try to include items from each major Hawaiian Island in each of our specialty boxes, both because there’s such great diversity of products from every island, and because there’s great stories to tell about the products, where they come from and who makes them. Every subscription and specialty Makana includes an insert that tells the story behind each item in the box. We’ve worked with several Maui producers and shared their stories with our worldwide ‘ohana – these include, Anthony LeBua of Maui Preserved, the Parsons ‘ohana that makes Adoboloco sauces, Linda Colean, a printmaker from Makawao, and the students of Maui Culinary Academy who make delectable flavored sugars that are very popular items on our shopping site.
MM: How do people find out about your services?
MM: Do you see any geographic trends for your packages? Where are they being shipped?
HM: Everywhere! Of course the US is our biggest market, and within that, west coast is a big destination for us. But we’re sending Makana to several cities on the east coast, in the South, many locations in Canada, and even to Sweden. Since we launched, we’ve sent Makana to almost 300 locations around the world.
MM: What’s next for Hello Makana?
HM: Currently, we’re gearing up for the Holidays. We’re about to roll-out some really great features on our side that will take a lot of hassle out of the Holidays… you’ll be able to send multiple gifts to multiple locations with a new, easy, check out process. We’ll be offering a corporate or bulk-gifts program that will allow you to send personalized year-end Makana to all the vendors or employees, or go-to people that help you throughout the year. And we’ll be launching a really special collaboration between Linda Colean of Aloha Letterpress (from Makawao) and Chae Ho Lee, a professor of graphic design at UH. Follow our Facebook posts later this month for news on that!
MM: Congratulations on celebrating your one-year anniversary!
HM: Mahalo! We launched our site last October, starting with our subscription care-package program, and what an exciting year its been! It’s a great way send loved ones a little aloha in the mail!
And Mahalo to Hello Makana for their time… if you want to follow Hello Makana – check out their social media sites on: