News and reviews of made on Maui products and Maui-based companies and success stories. Also featuring island shopping guides

Posts tagged ‘Custom’

Swoon-Worthy Leather Bags – Bags by Gscout

scout hobo bag  bags by gscout Inspiration for new blog posts come from everywhere… meeting new people, shopping through our local boutiques, or in the case of this post, simply scrolling through Facebook. I have no idea how these pictures originally appeared on my feed (through the magic of Facebook!) but when I saw these stunning, handmade leather bags, I just had to investigate further!

Gillian Adamo of Bags by Gscout shares her story of how she learned about leather work, taught herself how to make bags, and then combined her lifelong skills as a healer to create custom bags, along with her daughter and partner Cheyenne, with just a bit of something special…. 

leather bag handmade leather work braid work tassels

One of the original bags, twenty years old!

“Twenty five years ago I was traveling in Nepal, a girl walking down the dusty streets of Kathmandu caught my eye. She looked like a wild gypsy girl and she had this amazing braided leather necklace on. I asked her about it and she said she made it and that she sold them. I asked her if I could buy one from her and she said “No, I’ll teach you how to make it”!!

“She invited myself and my boyfriend to come and stay with her in her home on a lake in a town at the base of the Himalayas. Over a period of 3 weeks, she taught me numerous techniques in leather braid work.

“After returning home to Canada I got the idea to make leather bags. I created designs in my mind for bags and stitched them into form with the stitches I had been taught in Nepal. My craft was born. I created leather bags in Canada for the following 3 years. Then I moved to Maui to raise my daughter. I put my bags to the side and 20 years later my daughter asked me to make her a bag. I did, I posted a picture of it and I got 5 requests for bags… Gscout  begins!!!

“This has been a full time job for me, alongside the healing work that I have been doing throughout my life. They go hand in hand as the healing energy I work with also goes in to every one of these bags. I like to say that people ‘carry a feeling’ with them when they carry our bags. Its the feeling I generate through my healing work.

silver hand pounded detail on

Solid silver hand pounded ring on strap

“Each bag is handmade with no electricity or machines, using genuine Italian & Spanish leathers and deer skin from Alaska. My daughter, Cheyenne Jagger, works along side me. Before we joined forces, she acquired a knack for goldsmith skills and became a jeweler of fine metals and stones. In our Gscout Bags, Cheyenne creates solid silver hand-pounded rings for our strap attachments, adding one more level of refinement to these creations. Many of the Gscout bags are made to order so as our clients may have a bag perfectly fit to the individuals tastes and needs.

The custom bag for Christine McVie

“Mick Fleetwood’s girlfriend commissioned a bag for him, and she gave me a few little trinket treasures of his that I attached to the pouch. She also gave me a cool skeleton key that had special significance between the two of them and I added that to the inside pocket of her bag.  A year later, Mick commissioned a bag as a gift for Christine McVie —> (Christine’s clutch got cool sexy lines to match her cool rock and roll persona), then the next year he bought his girlfriend one of my bags. I made Krishna Das a bag, and I added a vintage Indian coin since India is so deeply in his heart. I’m making something for Gretchen Rhodes, who sings with Kenny Chesney. Gretchen’s bag is going to be earthy and sexy and solid just like her.”

Want to get your hands on your own Gscout? 

Check them out in person at Holiday and Co in Makawao, or view and purchase online at www.gscouthawaii.com. (and don’t forget about the custom options!)  And make sure you follow them on Facebook – Bags by GScout and Instagram- g scout bags .

Mahalo to Gillian for sharing her awesome story and her gorgeous bags!  Now I just need to come up with an excuse to get my own custom Gscout…

 

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Where to Buy New Furniture on Maui

There have been a lot of changes in the last year, stores opening, closing, moving… here’s the current news you need to find furniture on Maui.      (Scroll down for a Directory of New Furniture Stores on Maui) Latitudes, in Kahului, will be closing down, and HUE will be taking over the space as the anchor to a whole design center! The owners of Latitudes will continue their silk floral business, The Garden, at the design center, offering custom silk arrangements, artificial plants and flowers. Also at the design center, Suda Shades will be offering window treatments.  Current Latitudes inventory will be 40% off until May 30. As they prepare to enter their new location this summer, (and in honor of Memorial Day) HUE is offering 30% off special orders, 15-30% off store wide, 50% off rugs, additional clearance 50% off on May 26 (Memorial Day). (Shipping not included on special orders) Also new to Maui is Pacific Home, on Lalo in Kahului. Currently (during their soft opening, open Tue-Sat), but grand opening to be in a few weeks, with new hours.  More information coming soon! Furniture stores listed here carry primarily NEW furniture – for used furniture stores, click on this link.  This is not the complete list, stores will be added as I gather the information… also, seasonally Costco sells furniture, and Ross usually has a collection of smaller items in the back, side chairs, ottomans, occasional tables, etc. 

HUE

  • (New second location – at former Latitudes- opening Summer 2014)
  • Hours: M-F: 9-5, Sat :10-2
  • Location: 261 Lalo St, Kahului
  • And Coming Soon: 210 Alamaha Street, Kahului
  • Website: mauihue.com
  • Phone: 873-6910
  • Facebook:
  • Description: A home boutique furniture store and design studio featuring fresh and current furnishings and accessories, perfect for a modern island lifestyle. The pieces are described as “beach luxe, with bolder colors, modern patterns and very nontraditional pieces that are fun, playful and funky.”  HUE carries upholstered pieces by Lee Industries, and a wide selection of home accessories and gift items, including jewelry, candles, coffee table books and more.
  • Other Services: Full interior design services, staging, consultations, custom orders and upholstery, and delivery available.

maui.furniture.store

Home Remedies Interior Design and Remodeling

  • Hours: Mon-Fri: 9am – 5pm
  • Location: 1993 South Kihei Rd, Suite 7
  • Website: CreativeHomeRemedies.com
  • Facebook Page:
  • Phone: 214-6559
  • Description: Home Remedies Interior Design and Remodeling is a luxury design-build firm and general contractor –  a one-stop shop from design conception to completion. Showroom features a working kitchen & bath showroom, they can order Murphy beds, cabinetry, countertops, tile & flooring. In store, view dozens of brands of furnishings, home art & accessories, lighting, custom window fashions such as plantation shutters, shades and drapery.  Many products are hand crafted on Maui such as home decor, jewelry, and their own signature line PIER 808.
  • Other Services: Free Delivery and set up, in-home automation including SONOS wireless hi-fi systems, motorized window coverings

Lifestyle Maui Furniture

  • Hours: M-F 10am- 6pm, Sat- 10am-4pm, Sun: 11am- 4pm
  • Location: 703 Lower Main Street, Wailuku
  • Website: www.Lifestylemaui.com
  • Phone: 808-242-1863
  • Facebook Page:
  • Description: Lifestyle Maui offers new, custom and special orders on furniture. They  keep a large inventory in stock and available for immediate delivery on Maui. Lifestyle works with over 200 vendors including Lexington, Tommy Bahama, Stanley, Stylus and Bassett. They also feature a large line of  solid mahogany and  mango wood bedroom sets, dining sets, occasional and entertainment pieces with hand carved designs made in Indonesia exclusively for Lifestyle Maui. Lifestyle stocks area rugs and a variety of wall art and accessories, as well as showcasing select local artists and photographers.
  • Other Services: Custom designed upholstery and Free Delivery over purchases over $1,000.00

Outdoor Living

  • outdoor furniture maui where to buyHours:  M-F: 11am-5pm, Sat 10-4: Sunday closed
  • Location:  261 Lalo Street, Kahului (1/2 block from Kahului Ace Hardware)
  • Website: www.Out-door-Living.com
  • Phone: 808-873-8325
  • Description: Specializes in outdoor furnishings — new, custom modifications, and special orders, main lines include European designed brand names, primarily Cane-Line, Kris Jensen Designs. In addition to furniture they sell outdoor accessories, such as cushions and throws, floor coverings, tabletop accessories and dining ware.
  • Other Services:  Restoration of teak outdoor furniture, Delivery complimentary with minimum order.

 Moore Interiors

  • moore interiors maui furniture lahainaHours: M-F: 9-5, Sat: 9-4 Sunday: Closed
  • Location: 975 Limahana Place, Lahaina
  • Website: mooreinteriorsmauihi.com
  • Facebook Page: 
  • Phone: (888) 397-1949 Toll Free
  • Description: Moore Interiors features a large selection of island style furniture, with lines including Tommy Bahama by Lexington, Malin Minson, Tropitone, Barcalounger, Hooker and Somerton.
  • Other Services: Interior Design Services, Free Local Delivery, Free Design Consultations, Licensed Contractor On Staff For Your Renovation Needs

Homeworld

  • Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am – 6pm, Sun: 11am – 4pm
  • Location: 374 Hanakai St, Kahului (off Hana HWY)
  • Website:homeworld.com
  • Facebook Page:
  • Phone: 877-5503
  • Description: Lines include Ekornes, Human Touch, LaZBoy and Natuzzi
  • Other Services: Custom orders.

Mind’s Eye

  • minds eye mauiHours: Mon – Sat: 9am – 5pm
  • Location: 1068 Limahana Place, Lahaina
  • Website: www.mindseyeinterior.com
  • Phone: 667-7748
  • Description: 13,000 square feet of hand selected furnishings, island style furniture, rattan, wood and wicker.  Also features urban rainforest meets Eastern influences, modern and contemporary mixed with asian inspired furniture, along with lamps, artwork, rugs and unique accessories.
  • Other Services: Complimentary professional decorating services, delivery and set up.

Pier One

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sunday 10am – 6pm
  • Location: 270 Dairy Road, Kahului
  • Website:pier1.com
  • Facebook Page: 
  • Phone: 873-7878
  • Description: Candles, furniture and all kinds of accessories and gifts.  It’s Pier One.
  • Other Services: Can special order furniture.

Kimo’s:

  • Hours: Mon – Fri: 10am – 5pm, Sat: 10am – 4pm Sunday Closed
  • Location: 151 E Wakea, Kahului
  • Website: www.kimosfurniture.com
  • Facebook Page:
  • Phone: 873-8655
  • Description:
  • Other Services:

Nest

  • Hours: Thur-Sat: 10am – 5pm (closed Mon-Wed)
  • Location: 330 Ohukai Rd, Kihei
  • Phone: 891-2010
  • Description: Other websites describe the furnishings and accessories as shabby chic, beach cottage…

Get Listed:  To get your furniture store featured on this list (you must primarily sell new furniture) – send Hours, Location, Website, Facebook Page (if applicable), and a less than 100 word description of what you sell. Also please list other services (design, staging, free delivery, etc) to lizsmithonmaui (at) yahoo (dot) com

Deck the Walls- Gifts by Maui’s Top Artists

Have a sweetie on your Christmas list that is an avid art lover?  Here are some recent releases by a few of Maui’s most talented artists…

Ray Masters

Ray Masters has a fascinating bio on his website that includes designing products for companies such as Swatch and creating posters for dozens of sporting events, including numerous Grand Prix races.  He now calls Maui his home and has added photography (and running mauiwindcam.com) to his list of talents.

Ray Masters Dog Sevin Surfing

Bodysurfing 7.1 by Ray Masters

Bodysurfing7.1 is available as an original acrylic on canvas painting, 24” x 18” ($2,500) and a limited edition giclee with gallery wrap ($700).  Ray’s new muse, Sevin, was featured in several paintings in the recent ‘Going to the Dogs’ exhibit at the Hui Noeau.

Ray Masters Photography Maui Hawaii

Ray Masters poses with his sunset photography piece, and the lucky new owner!

Ray also gets great images from his backyard, Maui’s North Shore, and they are available on canvas as well.  Here is a recent sale of a new photograph, of Ray and the lucky new owner of the image.  It’s available in many sizes, this one featured above is a 67″ x 48″ gallery wrapped canvas ($1900)

Kim McDonald

Kim McDonald has earned her comparisons to Gauguin and other “primitive” Impressionists with her lush island paintings, primal flowing seascapes, and dreamy night skies.  Known for her oil paintings, which often sell before they are even completed, Kim has recently started painting on an unusual medium, surfboards.  Featured in this year’s Maui Calls fundraiser, in galleries on Maui and art shows across the country, Kim’s Warrior Boards are becoming her new must-have pieces for art collectors.

Kim McDonald Artist Maui Painting

Coconut Beach by Kim McDonald

Coconut beach is a vailable as a limited-edition print, using the highest quality archival ink on canvas, with a gallery wrap.  Prints are hand embellished, signed and numbered. The original has sold. Available as 19” x 25” ($995) or 29” x 38” ($1695).

Or, a just released surfboard:

kim mcdonald custom surfboard

So new it doesn’t even have a name yet – we just call it Awesome

Rick Strini

Rick Strini was one of the first artists to revive the age-old tradition of Italian-European glass blowing and bring it to the backyard studio movement of the 60′s.  After years of successful achievements in the art glass field, Rick moved into art glass lighting, designing “Art that Illuminates”.  In addition to being a master glass blower, Rick has been traveling the world, analyzing glass factories and studios as a glass consultant.  If you need something for your walls, your tabletops, or truly unique lighting fixtures, Rick can make it for you.  Rick was also just accepted into the Maui Crafts Guild, which will be reopening in Paia next to Milagros any day now!  Make sure to stop by to check out his work in person.

Avi Kiriaty

Another signature Maui artist with a style so unique his works can be instantly identified as his own.  Review Avi’s extensive bio here on his website and check out one of his newest works, Hanging Out.  Available as a limited edition canvas giclee for $1,500, 40” x 30”.

hanging.out.avi.kiriaty

Goldie

A perfect Christmas gift for a Maui lover is the 2014 Calendar by Goldie, one of the newer artists in the Maui scene.  “Each one of these paintings took about 200 hours of rough sketching and researching the ideas to make them all come together. The paintings are watercolours, so if one single drop of paint went where it shouldn’t, I would have to start over”

View her website to purchase the calendar and see all of Goldie’s other whimsical pieces, or check them out at Mana Foods, Collections in makawao, Maui Ocean Center, Maui Tropical Plantation, Hi-Tech.

Maui Magic Calendar

Maui-Inspired Christmas Presents – Part 1

holiday gift maui hawaii It’s that time of year again, where you have to rack your brain to find the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list.  Well, this year I’ve come up with some Maui-inspired gifts for even the pickiest grinch on your list.

For the Law-Abiding Citizen –

Maui Watch Facebook hat Logo Gear

Maui Watch Hat – Wear it with Pride!

Brand new logo wear from MauiWatch – This Facebook phenomenon skyrocketed to success, literally overnight, as a fun page of spotting Maui’s infamous robo-cop, (who shall remain nameless, because you either know who he is or it doesn’t really matter) and sharing stories on their wall of shame. As the page morphed its identity, it’s become the island’s most reliable source of breaking news, from accidents to road closures to weather alerts. They recently launched a shop on their Facebook page, complete with hats and shirts, perfect the MauiWatch lover on your list.  This constructed hat is made in the USA.

For your Little Mermaid –

 A Custom Made Mermaid Tale – If there’s someone on your list who dreams of being a mermaid, her dreams are about to come true.  Maui Flippah will create a custom made mermaid tail, handmade on Maui, out of quality swimming grade materials and a durable monofin. Once the technique is mastered, these elegant and durable tails give swimmers remarkable speed and agility under water.

For your aspiring Pastry Chef –

These two sweet gifts will be treasures in any baker’s pantry.

Maui Vanilla Beans Grown Maui Maui Preserved’s Vanilla Beans –  A 5-pack of Maui Vanilla Beans, grown and cured on Maui, fresh and bursting with flavor.  The process of growing vanilla beans is one of patience and precision, with no room for error. Maui Preserved’s beans boast high moisture content and are some of the only beans grown in the United States.  Maui Preserved also offers jams and jellies, pickled vegetables, hot sauces, and the Sweet and Spicy Pineapple that was featured in Sunset Magazine.  Purchase online, click here to view their retail stores, or check out their Seasonal kiosk at Queen Kaahumanu Mall.

vanilla flavored sugar gift hawaii

Maui Culinary Academy’s Vanilla Mac Nut Sugar- Just a hint of vanilla and macadamia nuts to round out the flavors of your coffee, teas, or baked goods. Made by the students at Maui Culinary Academy, sugar proceeds from each sale go to support the education and scholarship programs at the school.  Purchase online from HelloMakana.com, which also features curated gift baskets and subscription gift packages!  

For your favorite nurse or doctor –

Nurse Gift Maui Hawaii Jewelry Silver CustomSterling Silver Heartbeat Bangle by Maui Ocean Jewelry –  This one is for all the nurses and doctors, or the one that makes your heart go pitter patter!  The custom pulse line bangle, with a heart charm and 3 tiny pukas (or your choice of additions!), has been soldered, hammered, tumbled and polished for extra shine! Also comes in  14K gold filled.  Buy on Etsy –

For your Maui-lover –

A subscription to Maui No Ka Oi Magazine –  I’m talking about the person on your list who loves the Valley Isle, but if you have a lover on Maui… well, they might like this too.  Maui No Ka Oi Magazine is having a great special, running through the end of the year – you can give a subscription as a gift, and get one for yourself for free!  Just use the code WHOL2013 to activate!

Maui  Magazine Gift Idea Hawaii

Stocking Stuffers – Made on Maui

OK, so I haven’t even enjoyed my Thanksgiving pie yet (because it’s really all about the pie, isn’t it?), but Christmas is coming at us like the Sugar Cane Train.

It’s time to start thinking about Christmas and the all important STOCKINGS.

Hawaii Christmas Stocking Stuffer Gift Idea

Here are some fun ideas that are all made on Maui, and best of all, they are all available for online order!

First of all – the Stockings.

Check out the great inventory (but hurry – they are moving fast!) at this etsy shop – TikiTales – Now offering personalization!  Learn more about Happy Honu Maui and TikiTales from this earlier post. 

For the Fragrant Soap Lover (or a filthy friend)  –

soap maui gift set holiday

The Rainbow Gift Set Comes in this Beautiful Packaging

Soap from Maui Soap Company: “We started our company with a formula using organic coconut oil, wonderful aromas and cool colorful designs and began selling at the craft fairs. Here we are 5 years later with 2 full time employees and one part timer and sold throughout the Islands and now planning to export to Japan!” This holiday season we’re giving 25% of online sales to the Haku Baldwin Center in Makawao, as well as contributing 1% of total sales to a local conservation group through the 1% for the Planet organization.

For the Person who is always borrowing your Lip Balm –

maui natural lip balm handmade

Can’t go wrong with natural lip balms by Queen Bee Maui – a Sweet Gift!

Lip Balms from Queen Bee Productions come in three flavors,  Plain Jane (Honey Inspired with Shea & Cocoa Butters), Chocolate Mint and Tangerine Dream.

For your Frequent Flyers –

queen bee travel kit maui facial products sampleThe  Travel Kit from Queen Bee Productions, which comes in Rose, Lavender or Citrus, contains samples sizes of the Honey Cleanser, Facial Toner, Luxurious Body Oil, Royal Exfoliant and Cocoa Body Butter in a reusable plastic zipper pouch that’s carry-on friendly! (see above for purchasing details) 

For your Sweet-tooth –

The Limited Edition Gift Box from Sweet Paradise Chocolate comes with flavors that include Kona Coffee, Macadamia Nut, Mango Ginger, Lilikoi Silk and more.

Maui Stocking Stuffers Chocolate Maui on Maui Hawaii

For your soon to be tooth-less –

tooth pillows maui hawaii custom

These quality pillows will last through all the years of wiggly teeth…

The Tooth Fairy Pillows by BlueJane Maui are small enough to place beside you, but large enough that the tooth fairy will find it. Each one is made with quality, designer fabrics and professionally sewn and machine washable. Each pillow comes with a sweet little poem in the pocket.

For your Four-Legged Friends:

maui.dog.treats.pumpkinMaui Dog Treats are made by hand on Maui using wholesome, all-natural & organic ingredients. Available in Pumpkin Peanut Butter and Wheat Free Pumpkin.

Eat like a local with Tour Da Food

When it comes to vacations, there are three kinds of people.  Some people go on vacation to relax, some like to explore, and some people just want to eat.  Fortunately for people that come to Maui, with a fascinating history of global cuisines and an abundance of fresh fruit, fish and other foods, Maui’s culinary options will keep your palate happy for the entire length of your stay.   And you haven’t really been to Maui without sampling a plate lunch, enjoying fresh poke, and you really can’t miss our famous shave ice.  With all the options, won’t you feel better knowing you’ve had the best?

Maui's Best Local Food Tour Activity

The Plate Lunch – The Signature Local Food in Hawaii –

If you are one of those foodie travelers, you’re second call after booking your flight should be to Bonnie Friedman.  A serious foodie herself, Bonnie established Tour Da Food in 2008 as the island’s first food tour and the only tour that focuses solely on ‘local food’.

Bonnie currently offers four tours – ‘Wailuku’, ‘Upcountry’, ‘Noodles, Dumplings & Dim Sum’ and perhaps Maui’s most unique tour, ‘GAS-tronomy’, a tour of four of Maui’s best local foods found in gas stations.  Every tour includes transportation from and back to the central meeting place; all food; a goodie bag; and a list of additional off-the-radar eating places.    And for foodies who would rather go it alone, Bonnie can provide a personalized list of recommendations through her website at Cuisine Confidential.

Eat Maui Local Food Guide

Explore Maui’s ‘hidden’ food treasures with Tour Da Food

Bonnie has built close personal and professional relationships with Maui’s chefs, farmers and food producers during her decades spent in various careers on Maui. She is herself a certified Pastry Cook, and has co-authored two cookbooks for Ten Speed Press.

Having just returned from her own foodie trip to Italy (which we jealously observed via Facebook!), she answered some of our questions about her unique activity :

maui's best shave ice tour

Shave Ice Caps off Each Tour

Made Made: How did you come up with this idea? 

Bonnie Friedman: I have to give credit to my friend/colleague Keli’i Brown, the PR director of the Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau. He took a food tour of Chinatown in NYC in the mid-2000s. When he came back to Maui, he told me about it – VERY excitedly! – and said “You need to do this in Wailuku.” It took quite a while – about 18 months – to do all the research and plot out what I considered to be an excellent local food tour. I launched Tour da Food Maui in May 2008.

MM: What’s your most popular tour? 

BF: I think Wailuku is still probably the most popular tour with Upcountry a close second.

MM: Any favorite moments or experiences?   

BF:  For me, the best moments are connecting with visitors, especially first time visitors, and introducing them to real local food. And they all really seem to love the experience. Most rewarding is when my guests and I become friends. It’s happened several times. There’s a family I see every year when they visit Maui and a couple I have at least one meal with in NYC when I travel there.

 

Maui's Best Manapua...

There’s nothing like a Manapua – It’s worth the trip to Maui just in itself…

MM: Anything else you want to add? 

BF: A few words of my “local food philosophy” – we have some excellent fine dining in Hawai’i, no doubt about it. But for me, the one thing we have here that no other place in the world has is local food. I think we learn a great deal about a place and its culture through its food. That’s the experience I hope I give my guests.

Mahalo to Bonnie for making us hungry answering our questions, and don’t forget to check out her tour options on your next visit to Maui!

Maui’s Newest Gem: Maui Fruit Jewels

Maui Wedding Party Candy Tray Yesterday’s post was about one of Maui’s oldest sweet treats, Roselani Ice Cream, and today’s post is about one of the newest – Maui Fruit Jewels.  Maui Fruit Jewels is a line of gourmet fruit candies, based on the French confection called “pates de fruits”.  They are produced and distributed by Maui Epicure LLC, a company founded in 2012 by Lin and Chris ter Horst.

Lin ter Horst, who holds both an MBA from New York’s Columbia Business School, and a diploma in pastry arts from London’s Le Cordon Bleu, answered some of our questions about the special confection, and about the birth of this new company.

Maui Made: How are the fruit jewels made?

Ginger Pineapple Candy Made in Hawaii

Ginger Pineapple Fruit Jewels

Lin ter Horst: We make our fruit jewels utilizing the traditional European method in small batches.  We cook all of the ingredients: the respective fruit or vegetable or wine, organic sugar, glucose syrup, pectin, and citric acid together for a long time, then we pour the mixture into a mold to let it set.  Then we cut the candy into individual squares.  Our candies contain no gelatin or carrageenan, no emulsifier, no added flavoring or color, and are gluten-free and vegan.

Hana Collection Made in Hawaii Candy Package

The Hana Collection

MM: What are your most popular products/flavors so far? 

Lin: All of the fruit varieties we use are intensely flavorful, slightly tangy and not too sweet, with some flavors spicy flavors including ginger and jalapeno.  The most popular flavors are lilikoi (passionfruit), ginger pineapple, followed by coconut, beet, guava, jalapeno.  We have a popular assortment called the Hana Collection which contains the six tropical flavors popular with visitors: guava, coconut, mango, pineapple, lilikoi, and papaya.

MM: How are the fruit jewels best enjoyed?

Lin: Our fruit jewels are enjoyed similar to how the best chocolate confections are enjoyed – without guilt, and preferably with a dessert wine and some cheese.  You may also sprinkle a small amount of diced pieces onto yogurt, ice cream or use as garnish on a dessert plate.

MM: Do you offer the fruit jewels for weddings or corporate events?

Heart Shaped Candy Maui Wedding Favors

Custom Wedding and Party Favors

Lin: Yes!  We can even make custom flavors or packaging with enough lead time.

MM: Where can people buy Maui Fruit Jewels? 

Lin: We are at the Upcountry Farmer’s Market in Pukalani most Saturdays, and they can also be found at  Tutu’s Pantry  in Kihei (inside Kihei Kalama Village) and Kula Marketplace, on online on our website.

MM: How did Maui Fruit Jewels get its start? 

Lin: We moved to Maui in July 2012 from China, where we were living for the five years prior, and where Chris and I met and got married.  I got my diploma in pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu in London in 2008, after the financial downturn ended my short stint as an investment banker in China.

It’s funny how my pastry training at Le Cordon Bleu really changed my life.  One day in class, our chef instructor brought a bucket of cherries to the classroom and passed it around the room for us to sample.  It was the most incredible thing I’d ever tasted.  They were Griottines – Morello cherries soaked in kirsch (cherry liquor) from the moment they were picked from the trees in France.  We were there to make a black forest cake, but these kirsch-laden cherries turned an ordinary confection into something truly spectacular.

The Griottines website would tell the story about how these cherries were harvested and preserved.  In a chocolate confection class a month later, we’d come across these little treasures again, this time with the stalks still attached.  We dipped them in fondant and then dark chocolate, turning them into irresistible  chocolate bonbons.

Back in Beijing, I found a distributor for Griottines and started buying large jars of them,  I even incorporated them into pastry classes I was teaching.  I blogged about my addiction to the cherries on a Chinese microblog site and many curious locals would be turned on to the cherries because of my blog.

It was the Griottines that got me totally obsessed about the potentials of value-added products.  I studied all the value-added products that I came across wherever I went.  We’d be vacationing in southern China and I’d marvel at how people would just drink juice out of coconuts and then throw away the coconuts.  (After moving to Maui I’d learn that there are coconuts good for just drinking.) I’d be thinking, why couldn’t these guys make virgin coconut oil that the Malaysians are trying to import to China. Anyway, you get the picture, I was obsessed.

So after we arrived in Maui, I naturally began to look for all the value-added products.  Aside from the jams, jellies, and syrups, I didn’t find too many other food products that really took advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables available on Maui.  This of course did not surprise me.  I did not expect to find anywhere outside of Europe where value-added food products would be an important industry.  This meant opportunity.

It took me two months to decide and finally find the courage to tell Chris that I was convinced that it was a good idea to start a company on Maui to make Pates de Fruits using local fruits.  Chris didn’t remember the taste of the confection we bought in Paris a few years ago at a confection store.  Happily, Chris has been very supportive in most things I’ve wanted to do, often with little understanding of what they actually are, so I had to quickly move to capitalize on the asymmetry of information before it was too late.

In September 2012 I started experimenting with making pates de fruits almost everyday.  It was really difficult.  Three months later I finally made a batch that came close to my idea of pates de fruits were suppose to be like.  This was by far the most difficult food product I’d ever made.

MM: You have been all over the world, what brought you to Maui? 

I’d been dreaming about moving to Maui since the first time I visited, about 12 years ago. I was working in financial services in New York City.  In 2006 I seriously considered moving to Maui.  But I was a single mom with a very young child and I didn’t have the guts to do it.  I also didn’t feel like I had much to offer to the community even though I had an MBA from Columbia with years of business experience.  In 2010 I took Chris and Lilah to Hawaii on a vacation, while we were living in China.  They both loved it.  Chris went on a tour to see lava flowing into the ocean on the Big Island.  He likes that kind of stuff.

In 2012, Chris and I decided to leave China, for a multitude of reasons – quality of life, Lilah’s education, career, the usual stuff. Chris wanted to move to a country in southeast Asia, as he is from the Netherlands and loves the tropics.  More importantly Chris was all set on pursuing a career as a professional triathlete and he wanted to be at a place where he could train all year round.   I had enough of third-world country shenanigans, and wanted to return to the US to start a business where I’d be able to leverage my fine pastries/confection-making skills and business experience.  For a long time we couldn’t agree on a place both of us would be happy to call home, until Maui came up as a potential destination.  We are still congratulating ourselves on making such a wise decision, on moving to Maui.

MM: Any tips for others looking to turn a passion into a business? 

Lin: When you are passionate about something, you want to do everything your way, according to your vision.  That’s why you are passionate, because it’s your baby.  When you go into business, you’ll quickly discover that market forces will take over, and your own ideas are less important.

For example, I’m passionate about creating an artisanal product that is free of food coloring and flavoring, that is as natural and authentic as it can be, using the most environmentally sustainable packaging materials.  This means my costs and therefore prices are high.  If there is not enough of a market segment to support our products, then we’d be at a cross-road.

I obviously believe that there will be enough of a market for our products.  But if I’m wrong, then I would have to decide between 1) lowering the quality and price points of our products in order to appeal to a bigger market segment so that I’d still have a business, even if it’s not producing the exact same product I set out to produce, or 2) folding the business.

If you are more passionate about your products than the idea of just having a successful business, and are willing to fold the business if your products are not immediately accepted by the market, you will do your everything in your power to find and even create markets for your products.

If you are more passionate about having a successful business no matter what it takes, you will be less hung-up on your products, and more flexible in adapting your products to the market.

Hopefully you will find the perfect balance between retaining the integrity of your products, and running a successful business.

MM: What’s next for Maui Fruit Jewels? 

Lin: We have so much work to do.  We are planning to place our products in several high-end specialty food-related retail store before the 2013 holiday season.  We also plan to make our products on other online e-commerce sites including Amazon.com

In 2014 We will be expanding our sales and marketing efforts to cover the other islands, the mainland, Europe, and Japan.

Mahalo to Lin and best of luck with this delicious venture!

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