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January 20th is Founder's Day!

Aloha Kākou Collective ‘Ohana!

Wow, we feel so blessed to see our hui growing so fast! Whether you’ve been with us since the start when we were putting on hand-lettering and illustration workshops, or you’ve just found us recently, aloha! Thank you for supporting our Native-Hawaiian wahine (woman) owned business. It is truly a dream come true for us here at Kākou Collective!

We wanted to take a minute this January to celebrate Founder’s Day, which for us is January 20. January 20 just happens to be our founder, Kea Peters’, birthday! Hauʻoli Lā Hānau (Happy Birthday), Kea!

In honor of Founder’s Day, we are looking back over Kākou Collective’s journey. We wanted to share about our history and how we became the company we are today. It’s been a wild ride and we’ve loved every second of it!

In the beginning...

After graduating from Kamehameha School, Kapālama Campus, Kea studied Communication Arts. Through this program, she focused on how to effectively communicate using visuals and graphic design tools. She credits these courses as the foundation for Kākou Collective! She worked in a print shop and learned the ins and outs of producing print product, which is one of the reasons why Kākou Collective has so much stationary mea today.

After school, Kea found work as a freelance graphic designer. It was during this phase of her career that she realized she had a passion for telling people’s stories in modern, less traditional ways. And boy was she good at it! One of her first clients was a long-term pop-up clothing company called Valerie Joseph. Kea was hired to revamp the Valerie Joseph esthetic in preparation for the company’s opening in Ala Moana Shopping Center. She learned a ton about marketing along the way and the results were stunning!

Years later, Kea had amassed a ton of connections with other small businesses. She was working as a full-time graphic designer for a property management company but also doing freelance work on the side. It was a lot! In 2016, Kea took a step back to figure out what she wanted to do with her career long-term. She began hiking and it made her realize how much she missed connecting with nature during her working years. She became reinvigorated and started drawing plants, flowers, and journaling more. This led her to teaching herself how to hand-letter.

The first Kākou Collective event...

The next year, the Pa‘i Foundation asked Kea to lead a hand lettering workshop. Kea focused on infusing ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i into the program and it was a hit! It was like all the skills she’d built over the years fused together for the event! After the workshop’s wild success, she began branching out, including drawing tutorials on lāʻau (plants and flowers) in future workshops.

Then she took a leap: a friend asked her to be part of PlannerCon (an international stationary-focused convention). It was a two-hundred fifty-person event! Kea sold stickers featuring ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i that people could use in their journaling. It was another huge success! Kea found her groove in the market: there was a massive need for an authentic Hawaiian brand in the world of stationary…and Kea had the skills and passion to fulfill it!

2020: the PANDEMIC!

When COVID hit, Kea pivoted to online workshops to connect with people. She wanted to be a bright spot in people’s day and bring them a little of the outside world into their quarantined ‘indoor’ lives! By drawing plants and flowers, she hoped to transport people to Hawaii, and bring some nature into their homes. It was at this point that Kea started the product-based aspect of Kākou Collective, and when some of your favorite mea was born!

And now...

Fast-forward to today: Kākou Collective has gone far beyond the stationary world and now has mea ranging from apparel to charcuterie boards to microfiber towels! Little by little, Kea has taken courageous risks to slowly grow her business, making incremental gains which has resulted in the wide variety of goods you know and love. True to her mission statement and her values, Kea meticulously checks all her sources to ensure that everything Kākou Collective sells is grounded in mālama ‘āina (taking care of the land). Whenever possible, Kea will source local companies to supply Kākou Collective in order to keep business and money within Hawaii’s community.

We are so proud to be part of the Kākou Collective ‘ohana and so grateful that you are too! Your support is what allows this small business to thrive and continue expanding beyond our imagination! This year is going to bring so many new adventures and we can’t wait to share about all of them. Make sure you’re subscribed to our Hap-E-Mail list to get all the latest deets on new drops and upcoming in-person events.

Mahalo and a hui hou! (Until next time)

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