Who is MaruMaru Hawaii?
We are two sisters born and raised in the small town of Hilo, Hawaii. The pic above was from 2014 when we just happened to be pregnant at the same time. Tania's on the left and Kara's on the right. And yes, we know we must have looked like a waddling comedy show when we were together. And no, we didn't plan the matching outfits in this pic (or the matching pregnancies!), but somehow we did manage to give birth only two days apart. :p
Having our own store has always been a daydream for us. A long time ago, before Facebook, Instagram, Etsy and Pinterest, we started making jewelry for fun. We sold our necklaces, earrings and bracelets at craft fairs, and although it sold well, being on different islands at the time made it difficult to keep the momentum going. Tania was in Honolulu working in the advertising/communications industry, while Kara was in Hilo working as an elementary school teacher.
Tania eventually made the move back home to Hilo, we both got married, started our families, and were lucky enough to experience motherhood together. As new mommies we were always looking for fun tees for our kids to wear. We quickly realized that there wasn't a whole lot of cute "Hilo" stuff out there, so we decided to start making our own keiki tees for fun! Thus, on November 2, 2015, MaruMaru Hawaii was “born” and our online shop was officially open!
How do we think of our designs?
What started as a fun little idea has grown so much over the last two years, we can hardly believe it! We’ve already gone through over 65 designs and have expanded our product selection to include tote bags, pouches, hats, stickers, and even some adult tees! We create all the designs ourselves and the tees are all screen-printed right here on the Big Island.
When people ask us how we think of our designs, we don't really know. haha! They just kinda "happen!” Some are local words or phrases commonly used in Hawaii, some are inspired by our crazy kids and experiences as moms, some are based on our local-Japanese upbringing, and some play on the nostalgia of the 'good ole days'....but our most popular designs by far, are the ones that showcase the love for our hometown of Hilo. We had no idea that our "Hilo Love" happy cloud design would bring us to where we are today.
The best part about our designs is that we get to know a little about your keiki based on the tees they wear! So whether its "Jus' like da faddah" or "Hilo das why" or "100% Hapa" or "Second child syndrome" or "I love musubi" or "Urusai"....their tees will say it all!
How did we get the name MaruMaru Hawaii?
We get asked this question a lot. The answer is simple. Our maiden name is Ishimaru. "Maru" translates to "circle" in Japanese and when you put two circles together, it looks like an infinity symbol. So since (whether we like it or not) we are sisters for life, MaruMaru Hawaii just seemed right!
Where can you find MaruMaru Hawaii?
Our full line of MaruMaru Hawaii infant and toddler apparel and accessories can only be found online at www.marumaruhawaii.com. We also do a couple of pop-ups and craft fairs throughout the year - mainly during Merrie Monarch and the holidays. Sign up for our email newsletter (scroll to bottom of website), and check out our Facebook and Instagram pages to find out about pop-ups, promotions and new designs!
What's next for MaruMaru Hawaii?
Honestly....we don't know. haha! Many boutiques throughout the islands have inquired about selling our tees in their shops over the last couple of years, but we're not ready to let our "baby" grow up that fast! haha! Right now only Crib Hawaii in downtown Hilo sells a few of our tees (as available), because we know Sesha will treat our baby like her own. haha!
One thing we do know for certain, MaruMaru Hawaii has reminded us that while Hilo may be a quirky little town with quirky little sayings, the LOVE and SUPPORT we've received from our community is truly humbling, and we're just really proud to be from such a special place!
So please "come inside" and take a look around! We hope you find something you like, whether it's for your sweet little one or someone you know! And if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, feel free to email us! Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter (scroll to bottom of website), and check out our Facebook and Instagram pages to find out about sales, promotions and new designs!
Thank you very much for your support! Love ya!
~Kara and Tania....and Brody, Mia, Koa + Kai