One thing I love about events is meeting individuals and families from our hui. Every time we do a pop up, I leave so humbled with sore feet and a full heart. I had a realization as I was driving home, that I have all of these amazing interactions amidst events and I never share about it, so this is something I hope to do post-events.
Why I wanted to participate in the Mom-Made Market
I had heard about the Mom-Made Market last year when my friend Tanya of Lahaʻole Designs participated and we drove all the way from ʻEwa to Ward amidst covid to support her pop up. (My mom was on a mission to get her hand made bath mats). Going to the event, I told myself I would never miss another Mom-Made Market ever again (as an attendee or perhaps a vendor). I was so amazed by all the momtreprenuers that were there with their ʻohana and creations made for their community. The event flow was so well thought out with such a wonderful mixture of vendor types and product. You could tell that everyone was so happy to be out and about despite COVID and the mask mandate. Everyone was so appreciative to just have something to go to again. You could bet that I wasnʻt going to miss my chance to be part of that: a community cultivated with purpose.
Pre-Event | Mom-Made Market April 2022
Fast forward to my first Mom-Made Market as a vendor, and I was in complete amazement. Iʻm a first time mom, so I was amazed by the amount of moms that were there to support and participate. Momtreprenuers were setting up their booths with keiki in tow - some keiki that were old enough to kōkua [help] were carrying boxes and pushing carts. Husbands were pulling wagons of product through the mall in the early morning - sometimes with a keiki to top off the product. There were even some moms with their moms there setting up their booths, just like me. It felt so good to be surrounded by other family-owned, multigenerational, and wahine-operated businesses.
Even one hour before the event officially started, there were moms with coffee in hand and keiki in-tow, patiently waiting for the official start. Some moms with infants, quietly asleep with their Keiki Dept. swaddles covering their strollers. Moms with their "letʻs get it done" Tita buns up - some towing two or even three keiki along for the adventure. Most were representing many of the brands that would be there and other brands I also love (Short Stack Hawaiʻi, YIREH, and Mahina Made to name a few). This was somehow so comforting knowing that I was with "my people" because honestly, my closet probably looks exactly like theirs! I was just in awe of the super moms (and families) that were gathered in one place for this special event (might I add that it was put on by a mom-made business that I also love - Izzy and Luke?).
I was sort of having this grounding moment where I was just thankful to share in the same space as some of my own personal favorite brands and some amazing moms.
Filled with gratitude
For the first hour, my head was down getting work done. Many of the first in line mentioned that they saw our email [thank you if you're reading this] and they had come to make a day of it. Let me just pause here and say mahalo for coming out to support my hustle and creativity over here. I am so so thankful. Ok, continue...
About one hour in, Edlyn mentioned to me - "can you believe its only 11am!?" Completely shocked, I thought at least three hours had passed! I stood there - feet sore, and completely filled with gratitude for all of the amazing small business supporters that were there on their Saturday to shop small, and then went back to checking out customers.
Visit from artist friends (that weren't already part of the event)
So blessed to have awesome friends like JT Ojerio of Aloha de Mele and Joy of Joy within Hawaii! JT was doing a pop-up at Magnolia, celebrating her collaboration with Kahala Mall, and Joy came to support other mom made shops (and probably taking a break from sewing).
I was chatting with a mom who had a stack of notebooks and asked “oooh! Are these gifts?” and she replied “These are perfect for teacher appreciation week - stationery is perfect because its one size fits all!” On one hand, I was like - wow, totally going to use that from now on. On the other, I was like - “What? Teacher appreciation week?"
Ok, people - where is this magical list that Iʻm not signed up for that tells you about these things? My son just started preschool and I absolutely love his teachers - but I totally didnʻt even know! You can bet Iʻll be putting something together to thank them for being part of my little dudes life.
She and I got to chatting about her notepad choices and she mentioned that she made a small makana for each of her childrens Kumu that included one vinyl sticker, and one notepad. Hearing about why you choose the things you do always makes me so happy. One of the things that are most important to me is that the product we make is made with intention so that you can gift with intention as well. She picked this "Stop and Smell the Puakenikeni" sticker because she was hoping the sticker would remind her keikiʻs Kumu to take a moment to herself because she works so hard [oh my heart!!!]:
At about the half-way mark of the event, a kind aunty looked at me sternly and said "eh, you gotta put your name on these!" I went up to her and apologized for us not having branded stationery. She said, "no Tita, I've been looking for you since last year." My heart was so completely filled with gratitude as I talked story with her about her journey to find us. A friend had gifted her a Pakalana gift set. When her notepad was just about to run out, she realized that there was no name or branding to tell her where the notepads were from. I explained to her that I was a new business owner at the time and since then learned to brand our notepads. She thanked me and then checked out with several Pakalana notepads, and some new pīkake notepads that she wanted to gift her friend in return for Lā Mei (May Day).
Event hot wash
Pluses: this was an amazingly wonderful event with such a great community and awesome event organizers, we have a beautiful and supportive community that humbles me every time, my family is an awesome group of hard working souls and I couldnʻt do it without them.
Things to work on: We implemented a barcoding system that day for the first time and there were definitely some kinks that affected the checkout process as well as the online shop. Our goal is to be able to do in-person events and not shut down our online shop (especially during the Holidays) because we have supporters beyond just Oʻahu. Good thing is that we tried it out and we know how to fix it, so our next event at the Queen Emma Summer Palace is our next opportunity to put it to the test.
I hope to do this event again - you can bet if there's a chance to, we will! If you were able to come out to the event, mahalo piha for supporting our small shop at the latest pop-up. If you have other events in mind for us to attend that youʻd love to see us at, please email us email@example.com.