When I was back home in April, my sisters and I ventured out to the Merrie Monarch Arts + Craft Fairs — multi-day fairs of local Hawaiian vendors from across the state that accompany the annual hula festival. There are hundreds of incredible artists at the various fair locations throughout Hilo, and it seems like the entire population of the island turns out to see if their favorite Hawaiian brands have booths, or if the newest upcoming Hawaiian designer has a pop-up where you can get their new designs.
It can be crowded and intimidating, which definitely usually isn’t my scene. But because I’m so rarely home during the festival, I couldn’t resist and I’m so glad I went — it’s totally worth it to brave the traffic, crush and the Hilo rain to get your hands on some of the best of the best Hawaiian-made arts, crafts, fashions and products.
My favorite part of the craft fair this year was the fact that I bumped into one amazing vendor in particular that — because I’d gone to high school with her! — I’d been following on Instagram for a while.
Mamalani | Handmade by Hawaiians
One of the reasons I’d been dying to try some Mamalani products — which range from deodorants and body powders to oil blends, sunburn sprays, wellness tinctures and more — is because they’re handmade, all natural, and organic. In the past few months (and obviously ever since I found out we’re expecting), I’ve been making a concerted effort to clear out the environmentally harmful, often unhealthy if not downright dangerous, products in my medicine cabinet and self-care regimen, especially those that aren’t cruelty-free. Plus, I love that when I use these products in particular it feels like I’m incorporating a little bit of home into my everyday life here in California.
So I was beyond excited when Mamalani owner, maker (and fellow Kamehameha Schools alumni) Mele Kalama-Kingma told me that she was offering a monthly health and beauty subscription box she curates not only with her own products, but with amazing products from other Hawaiian makers. Each month’s box features a new theme that highlights a native practice or plant that is essential to overall health, along with a recipe.
It’s called Go Native! and it’s my new favorite thing.