Au Revoir & Bon Voyage Sophia!

We said au revoir & bon voyage to our lovely Sewing Assistant & First Hand Sophia Gallegos! At the end of August she was on her way to the other side of the world to study Fashion Design in Amsterdam! We could not be more excited and proud of her! We celebrated her last day in the Atelier with a Fancy Dress Day and kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns)!

We wanted to do a little Q&A with Sophia to reflect upon her years at the Atelier and to share more about her future plans. Find out more below:


Q: Sophia, can you share more about your experience working with Jennifer the last three years? 

A: I have absolutely loved working for Jennifer! I was a very inexperienced, self-taught sewer when I first got the job and Jennifer taught me a multitude of professional techniques which I’m so grateful for. Jennifer’s studio is so pretty and peaceful and everyone is so so kind which made work wonderful and I looked forward to it every week. I loved having afternoon tea every day and being able to learn how to sew in a safe and caring environment. I really appreciate how much Jennifer trusted my sewing ability as I often felt super nervous but her trust gave me reassurance that I could do it. 

Q: What was the most valuable lesson you learned?

A: The most important thing I learned was how to efficiently problem-solve. The studio gets very busy, especially during prom season and each dress has its own quirks. There’s not a lot of time to sit around and think, so you just have to be creative about how to alter the dress, and get it done. This skill makes me plan ahead and be able to find the most practical solution in my own designing and sewing without feeling stressed or flustered. Jennifer set such a good example as I rarely saw her get worried and no projects ever stumped her.

The photos above are from Sophia’s prom dress she designed this year!

Q: What was your favorite project you worked on over the years?

A: Definitely helping design the Mother Ginger costume for the Nutcracker. I had so much fun getting to be the designer for a moment as I did not have to do all of the sewing but I got to make the decisions. It was also so wonderful to help with a show again as I love how over the top the costumes are for live theater and the hectic but thrilling feeling of getting everything done before opening night.

Q: What are you most looking forward to as you enter a career in fashion design?

A: I’m really excited to be challenged by having to work around/with other fashion students who I can share ideas with and be inspired by. I also feel like I know very little about fashion history and how the industry works so I’m interested in becoming more educated so that my designs can become more complex. 

Q: Can you share a bit about your plans for the future?

A: This fall I am going to Amsterdam for three months for a gap year fashion program at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy! I’ve never been anywhere in Europe so I’m overwhelmingly excited to explore the city and be influenced by all the fashionable people there. In the spring I am going to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco which is a four year college that I am going to try for fashion design! After that, who knows, but whatever I am doing, I hope it will be fashionable!

It has been a pure joy having Sophia being a part of the Atelier the last few years. She has seen JOA grow in a number of ways and she has been a part of that growth every step of the way. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented and passionate fashion designer! We will miss your sun-shining, contagious energy! We are beyond excited for you to enter this new chapter! Congratulations Sophia! “Oh the places you’ll go!”

Maui Highlights: Photographer Tad Craig

This week we wanted to highlight Maui-based Photographer Tad Craig! We asked Tad to share a bit about himself and his approach to photography. Find out more below!

We first met Tad when we worked together with his wife Cory on her custom wedding gown! Below are some photos. Tad and Cory are both so lovely and kind. Tad recently offered to take a photo of The Sewing Hui volunteers for our Cookbook Fundraiser. So sweet of him! Find out more about Tad and his art below…

Cory and Tad on their wedding day at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. Photography by Scott Drexler.

A photo Tad Craig took for The Sewing Hui’s Cookbook Fundraiser.

Q: How would you describe your style and aesthetic with your work as a photographer? 

A: One of the most beautiful things we have here is the amazing colors of the Hawaiian Islands. I absolutely LOVE color & creating imagery that is Bold, Vibrant & Colorful. Of course I am constantly searching for those beautiful fleeting moments of raw emotion & joy that really express the moment too. Let me also say that I also love B&W. B&W has such a classic & timeless look to it & is perfect for some images at weddings & sometimes LESS is MORE! 

Q: What is your favorite part about photographing weddings on Maui? 

A: It would have to be the crazy beauty & amazing color that we have as a backdrop.

Q: Why did you choose Maui as your home for your business?

A: I was struggling in Hood River Oregon with a low paying job & my friends all had banquet jobs in the Five Star hotels on Maui’s South Side. I was an amatuer photographer pursuing a sports photography career & the three banquet jobs I had helped support that until I jumped ship & became a Romance/Family Photographer not looking back at my other jobs, but as a lifelong career.

Q: What are your favorite moments to capture with your photography? 

A: My most favorite moment to photograph hands down are surprise proposals. I LOVE capturing that moment when she realizes her life has just changed & her expression on her face reveals it perfectly. My most favorite part of a wedding to photograph is when it’s just the couple & I getting creative  right at sunset. However, photographing a big crew of friends all celebrating rowdily comes in quite close to that. 

Q: What drew you towards photography?

A: I grew up in Telluride, Colo. It’s a tiny little ski town nestled in the mountains of southern colorado. One of the locals was named Ace Kavel. He was a wildman on skis, but adventured into the wilds of the mountains to get these insane images all the time. He became famous & a local legend when he started gracing the pages of Patagonia catalog & earned a living from that type of photography. That was my dream! My stepfather gave me my first camera in 1985 which was a Nikon FE2. It was a manual film camera that I still have. It took me a REALLY long time to get serious, but right when I moved to Maui I started taking photography classes on B&W Photography & printing at the Hui No’eau. In those days we just used to put our hands right in the chemicals to fish the prints out & it was in one of those B&W printing sessions that I had my “AHA” moment & it all came together with all the photography concepts!  I turned pro a few years later when one day the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel came to me & said, you have to choose to be a  BANQUET WORKER, or a PHOTOGRAPHER, because you can’t do both professionally at this hotel! I chose photography!

Of course it came FULL CIRCLE when after I had proposed to my wife & we were looking for venues that I had told my fiance about the Hui No’eau & she fell in love with it. The roots of my photography were formed in the basement of the building & then the beginning of my marriage was formed in the lawn in front of the Art Studio surrounded by all of the most important people in my life!  And of course my wife was in a dress made by Jennifer Oberg! LIFE is Sweet!

Cory and Tad on their wedding day. Photography by Scott Drexler.

Cory and Tad on their wedding day. Photography by Scott Drexler.

And we just love those full circle moments!! We loved working with Tad’s wife on her gown and meeting Tad. Brides and grooms looking for a wedding photographer, we highly recommend Tad! You can follow his work on social media on IG: @tadcraigphotography or visit his website at

Maui Highlights: Photographer Madelynne Lorraine

This week we wanted to highlight Maui-based Photographer Madelynne Lorraine! We asked Madelynne to share a bit about herself and her approach to photography. Find out more below!

We first met her at Kristin and Sven Lindblad’s wedding ceremony at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. If you have been following our blog, you know that Kristin is the bride with the wedding heirloom gown and the peacock cape. You can find the past blog about her dress here. When we met Madelynne, we were so impressed by her style and approach to photography. She has a meticulous eye for capturing the precious little moments of the day. Like a fly on the wall, she sees the world through her camera and knows just when to hit the shutter on her camera.

Madelynne also graciously came to take photos for The Sewing Hui, a community organization directed by Jennifer Oberg. This was another great moment where she really captured the spirit of The Sewing Hui volunteers. Also, we wanted to share that both Madelynne and Jennifer are members of Maui Wedding Creatives, a collective of ‘like-minded wedding creatives aiming to elevate the Maui wedding industry through community, education, transparent business ethics, and client-centered practices. Brides-to-be, be sure to check out MWC for all your wedding vendor needs. 

Find out more about Madelynne and her work in a short Q&A we did with her:

Q: How would you describe your style and aesthetic with your work as a photographer?

A: My aesthetic is classically inspired and timeless. The right mood for the right moment. Light and bright images for playful, fun photos and moody photos for deeply emotional moments. Lighting, posing, composition and editing all play together to tell a story. The imagery should match the mood and tell a deeper story. I’m not one for fads, the only thing I want dating your photos is the fashion and wedding aesthetic! No toning or style changes based on what’s popular at the moment, because true classics never go out of style. I strive for vibrant imagery with true to scene colors as I know many couples put a lot of thought into their color schemes. Final galleries are a feast of visual variety…natural light to creative flash with influences from fashion to photojournalism. I appreciate photography with range.

Q: What is your favorite part about photographing weddings on Maui?

A: My favorite part about photographing weddings on Maui is the light, natural scenery and couples! We have absolutely gorgeous light in Hawaii, unparalleled sunsets and stunning scenery! I never feel I’m lacking inspiration. I love to show off the scenery in my photography, I mean why choose to have a Hawaii wedding if not for the amazing backdrops? The couples that choose Hawaii often do so because they want a more intimate wedding with those that are truly close. A destination wedding cuts out a lot of extras, and usually distills the day to what and who is most important. I also have to shout out the amazing wedding community out here, we have some really talented and heartfelt folks that truly embody community over competition.

Q: Why did you choose Maui as your home for your business?

A: Sometimes I don’t know if I so much chose Maui and it called to me. I moved here on a whim, a call that made no logical sense but felt right. Something was pulling me to take another leap of faith in life (my first being my decision to move to California and attend art school ). I had phenomenal opportunities in Los Angeles, but I think I was searching for a more grounded, heartfelt community. Maui and its people have transformed and challenged me in the best of ways, and I hope to be here for as long as the island will keep me.

Q: What are your favorite moments to capture with your photography?

A: This is a hard question, as one of the reasons I love weddings so much is the diversity it offers! I remember being encouraged to pick a specific photography field during college, to which I always struggled. I loved fashion, photojournalism, landscapes and macro nature work…how was I to choose? I didn’t realize how diverse of a shooter you need to be to photograph weddings until I first tried my hand at it. I instantly fell in love because I get to create imagery influenced by all my favorite styles. I do have a special place in my heart for candid moments, and apparently I’m something of a ninja…popping up at the right moments out of nowhere. It’s something clients have mentioned many times, though I have always been a fan of people watching and searching for the little things that speak to deeper truths.

Q: What drew you towards photography?

A: The ability to transport the viewer. I’ve always felt entranced by photography, ever since I was young. I wanted to experience all the world had to offer and often did so through images. I love how it connects us, and how it can be the link to our memories.

Brides looking for a wedding photographer, we highly recommend her! A wonderful person and a talented photographer. You can follow her work on social media on IG: @madelynnelorraine and FB: @madelynnelorrainephoto or visit her website at

Below are just some of the many beautiful moments she has captured:

A Q&A with Sophia Gallegos on the Making of Her Paper Dress

We are excited to share a Q&A with our First Hand Sophia Gallegos on the paper dress she created for Hui Holidays at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center! Jennifer highly recommended her to the Hui for the annual creation of the paper dress. We love watching Sophia shine with her unique style and design aesthetics. We asked Sophia to share a bit more about her inspiration and process for creating her paper dress. Find out more below…

Q: What was your inspiration for creating this paper dress for Hui Holidays?

A: I wanted to create something magical, so I was influenced by vintage clothing and fairy aesthetics.

Q: What was your artistic process like?

A: I am very messy when it comes to making art. I had a completely different design drawn out when I started but I scrapped it about two days in. I didn’t really have a plan, I basically just started draping the petal skirt and then my idea formed as I kept working. Using the butcher paper was a challenge because it didn’t always do what I wanted it to, so my design had to adapt to the materials I was using. 

Q: How was your experience working on this project?

A: Overall, I really enjoyed constructing this dress. There were some times where I got tired of doing so much detail work, but then I would step back from the dress and be so happy with how it looked that it didn’t matter.

Q: How has working with Jennifer at JOA prepared you for a future career in fashion? 

A: My experience working for Jennifer is incredible because I learn something new every day. I have learned so many technical sewing skills which help me create my own designs at home and show me what’s possible in terms of garment construction. She is also so supportive and generous, for example she helped me get the opportunity to make the paper dress and allowed me to design the Mother Ginger costume for the Nutcracker. I appreciate my job so much because it shows me that my fashion career is not just a dream but a reality.

Q: What are you most excited about for your future in fashion?

A: At the moment, I am really looking forward to college and going to a school where I get to completely focus on learning about fashion. I also want to figure out the exact career path I want to follow, whether it’s to become a fashion designer and have my own line, a stylist for music videos and photo shoots, or a costume designer for film and TV. 

Thank you for sharing Sophia! We can’t wait to continue to watch your artistic voice grow in all of your unique creations. And we look forward to seeing where your passions in fashion will take you in the future. Congratulations on a beautiful creation of your paper dress! If you’d like to see Sophia’s dress in person, it is on display at our studio in Makawao.

Mālama Maui Nui’s Art of Trash 2021: Featuring Sophia Gallegos

Our Sewing Assistant Sophia Gallegos participated in Mālama Maui Nui’s Art of Trash Virtual Trashion Show this year! She received ‘Honorable Mention’ for her fabulous College Junk Mail Paper Dress. We chatted more with Sophia to share some background about her outfit, her inspirations, and her reflections. The virtual event runs from April 3rd through the 30th via Check it out to see all of the other trashion outfits and vote for your favorite one!


Q: What was your trash art created out of?

A: I made my trash dress out of all of the college junk mail I received. I had a huge stack of it and I didn’t want all of the paper to just be thrown away so I used it to make a dress.

Q: What was your inspiration for creating your trash dress?

A: I had a design for a dress in my head that I wanted to make out of fabric but I didn’t really have the time to actually create it so I just did it out of paper.

Q: How did you go about creating this dress?

A: I basically just stapled everything together and the ruffles on the sleeves were definitely the most time consuming because they were like little paper pleats that each had to be stapled on in a row over the shoulder. I started with the bodice though, to make sure I got the fit right and then then the skirt was just a lot of accordion folds.

Q: Did this trash art fashion show inspire any future projects for you?

A: Yes! It’s so much fun to make dresses out of paper because it takes way less time than the actual thing and I already have more ideas, but I’m not sure if they will become reality or not.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

A: I made this dress when I was bored and because I didn’t want to waste trees, but I think it’s important to mention that recycling is an easy way to help the planet and one of those things that’s not a huge lifestyle change so I would encourage people to recycle and be a bit more aware of what they buy and what kind of trash it will leave behind. 

Thank you so much Sophia for sharing more about your paper dress with us! We can’t wait to see what other trash art you create in the future! And we hope this inspires others to be more environmentally-conscious about their trash and purchases. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the trash art at and cast your vote for your favorite art piece and trash outfit!

Link to Virtual Trashion Show Video – 

Link to Sophia Gallegos Dress – 

Link to vote –

Sophia on Instagram –

Q&A: featuring local clothing shops of Maui

2.0 – Jasmine Bustamente, Owner of ÂME Maui, Paris

Continuing our Q&A series highlighting some of our favorite boutiques of Makawao and Paia is Jasmine Bustamente, Owner of ÂME Maui. In this series, you will hear about the passions and inspirations behind these local shops, some words of encouragement for the future, and reflections/lessons on navigating a business during the pandemic. Read all about what Jasmine’s insights and reflections below…

Q: Tell us about your shop, your ethos and your inspiration for starting your boutique!

A: ÂME Maui, Paris was born from Bulletproof Aura (Callie Mahoney) + Jasmine Honey Jewelry (myself) brainstorming ways to bring our own product and designs together as a collective as well as other artists and designers that are less known or not available on Maui. From that idea ÂME was born, just an online boutique and pop-ups for the first year, then we moved into a showroom for another year and now we have expanded into a proper brick and mortar in Makawao town. 

Q: How are you navigating your way through COVID-19 times?

A: Navigating through the pandemic has been interesting to say the least. I was fortunate enough to acquire our current location because our friends, Holoholo Surf moved into a larger space, so I wasable to move into their previous space. I wasn’t sure what to expect opening our first brick and mortar mid pandemic, but friends, family and the community have been very supportive. 

Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned from the pandemic so far?

A: The biggest lesson from the pandemic is being flexible and ready for anything.

Q: What can you share about sustainability and fashion?

A: It has always been important that everything is ethically sourced. I hand make all Jasmine Honey Jewelry pieces from start to finish so I understand the amount of work it takes. It’s important that the products at ÂME are ethically sourced and produced.  

Q: What is one product you are raving about right now in your shop?

A: The French vintage work bleus, popularized by French factory workers in the late 1800’s, they are highly coveted treasures hand selected by Callie in Paris.  We offer jumpsuits, overalls, trousers, and jackets, most pieces sell out almost immediately. 

Q: How can the community help your business and other local businesses impacted by COVID-19?

A: The biggest way people can help is shop local! Tell your friends and family to shop local, post your favorite places to shop on social media and there’s always the good ol’ coconut wireless. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to for the future of your shop and the community?

A: Pre pandemic we loved hosting pop-ups with lots of people & drinks flowing, we’re looking forward to the day we can do that again.


Thank you so much Jasmine for sharing more about your shop with us and how it has been navigating through the pandemic. We can’t wait to see what is next for your beautiful shop! As Jasmine mentioned, shop local to help your local businesses through these tough times. Check out ÂME in Makawao and support this amazing local business, or shop online through their website Thank you Jasmine and stay tuned for the next Q&A! 


Meet our Studio Office Assistant: Yasmine

Yasmine performing in Karen & Allen Kaeja’s work in London, UK.

Our Studio Office Assistant, Yasmine Lindskog, joined us this past September. She works behind the scenes at JOA doing administrative work, social media marketing, writing, and more. Aside from working with JOA, she is also a professional dancer and choreographer! Find out more about Yasmine in our Q&A below…

Q: How did you get interested in dance?

A: As a child I had so much energy! My parents put me in every activity, from softball to soccer to tennis to gymnastics to horseback riding to ballet. They put me in baby ballet classes when I was 4 years old and I loved it. I kept taking classes and started taking loads of different styles as I got older. I haven’t stopped dancing since! 

The early stages of ‘Places’ by Project Syntrex.

Q: What’s the most favorite dance you’ve been in or choreographed?  

A: This is such a tricky question, I have had so many wonderful experiences! Hmm one of my most memorable experiences was working for the multimedia art collective, Project Syntrex, in London, UK.  We were a group of artists living in London coming from Lithuania, China, France, and the USA. We spent a year developing and presenting a project that combined sound design, movement, and animations. What I loved about this project was the meeting point of art mediums, the DIY nature, its experimental essence, and the very humble beginnings of it all. We were working on a tight budget so our rehearsals jumpearound from an array of spaces: the Royal Festival Hall Cloakroom Foyer, classrooms in the University of London College, Studio Wayne McGregor, our kitchen, an East London Village Hall, and Guildhall School. It was fun to be jumping from space to space. We performed this piece in Haarlem, Netherlands, and at a few venues in London, UK. The piece in its entirety was performed at The Pickle Factory in East London. Definitely a fun and memorable experience!

Q: What led you to Maui?

A: A  close friend, Katie,  from my undergraduate was from Maui, we had lived together for three years in Long Beach, CA and collaborated on multiple projects over the years. When I was living in London, we would always talk and just start snowballing different ideas we had about art and dance. She called me one day in 2018, with this idea that I should come to Maui and collaborate with her on a project for Adaptations Dance Theater. I thought that was a wild idea, but the following day I called her back and decided to come visit for a period of time. I fell in love with Maui, its community, ADT, and the gorgeous nature.  I went home for the holidays and then moved in January of 2019 to start an exciting new chapter working for Adaptations Dance Theater and teaching dance for several schools across Maui. 

Q: What do you see in your future?  What are your goals for dance?

A: I see myself entering more collaborations and multidisciplinary projects. Recently, I have been experimenting more with finding movement through other art mediums such as film photography, sound/audio design, and video editing. Some future goals for dance are to choreograph/direct movement for an opera, an immersive art exhibition, a large-scale site-specific piece, and a film or tv series. I also want to continue to explore ways to make contemporary dance more accessible to people. I would love to develop an intergenerational dance company/art collective. And one day I would love to have a space of my own, a meeting point for artists, a place to experiment with new ideas, share, collaborate, create, and talk. There are so many possibilities, I am constantly stumbling into new ideas and areas of art that I want to explore. I especially love working for Jennifer and being more exposed to the fashion and design world. It has given me so much inspiration and new ideas to draw from! Thank you for welcoming me into the Atelier Jennifer! You are such a talented artist and inspiring boss! 

Thank you for sharing with us Yasmine! Find out more about her work at And check out some backyard dance films she made with her roommate Hallie during the pandemic. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @jenniferoberatelier to stay up-to-date with happenings at the Atelier!

Performing at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Artmixx in February 2020.

A story behind the gown

We worked with the award winning graphic artist, Wailani Artates of Artistry8, on a custom wedding gown a few years ago. Wailani came to me with a clear vision of what she wanted her wedding gown to look like. It is always such a treat to create and collaborate on a dress with another artist.

Wailani recently won her 4th Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for the graphic designs of Amy Hānaiali‘i’s 15th album, Kalawai‘anui, alongside Kumu Hula and fashion designer Micah Kamohoaliʻi of Waimea. We did a Q&A with Wailani to chat more about her custom wedding gown inspirations and process, memories of her wedding, and about her recent award! Find out more below…

Q: What was your inspiration for your wedding dress?

A: Well, at the time, I despised anything sparkly and lace for some odd reason. My tastes were more structured, less traditional. I actually couldnʻt find a single silhouette that had this shape without sparkles. We even traveled to Oahu to find something that sufficed. 

Q: What was the dress design process like for you?

A: Being a designer, I literally took two silhouettes and photoshopped them together to create what was in my head. I then found Jen by googling “seamstresses on Maui” and was so lucky to have found her.

Q: How was it working together with Jennifer? 

A: She is the most amazing person, with or without a needle and thread in hand. We became fast friends andended up creating together at different capacities beyond my dress. She suggested this structured translucent fabric for the bottom half of the dress to provide some texture and it was gorgeous, something I didnʻt think of. She also created a bra in the dress because the back was low and it held up literally so well.

Q: What was your favorite memory from your wedding?

A: My favorite memory was seeing my husband cry when we said our vows. He is a reserved person and doesnʻt show his emotions publicly ever, but as he said his vows he cried. It was unexpected for me and such a beautiful memory Iʻll always hold dear.

Q: Can you share more about your recent win at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards! 

A: Sure! The Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards is like the Hawaii Grammyʻs. Itʻs such an honor to just be nominated. Iʻve been nominated 7 times and won my 4th this year. The gravity of being a Hoku award winner is huge for me, being on a stage and holding an award that music legends my grandparents grew up with, music that we were raised appreciating, itʻs just so big for me and my family. Music plays such an important role in life, it takes you to a time in your past, an instilled memory. We create these memories for our children and music plays a big role in our day to day from morning jam out sessions to bbq live streams (these days). 

The other part of this event that I love is the fashion. Oh, the fashion!!! Jen and I should get together one year. Every year, my husband and I try to be thoughtful of the album Iʻm nominated for by being inspired by  the experience, the name of the album, or even the artist to honor them and that process in some way. We also love to honor our ancestors and Hawaii. One year we wore kapa, another lauhala. I took my daughter one year when it was too difficult for my husband to leave our baby, and we wore lā’ī (ti leaf) that was treated to look like leather. Always so fun to do it up and try to top it every year. 

We can’t wait to see what Wailani creates next! Such a wonderfully talented artist in the community. We wish you all the best with your beautiful family! Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections with us! Follow her Facebook Page to see what she is up to next: And for any custom gown inquiries send us an email! Mahalo!

Q&A: featuring local clothing shops of Maui

1.0 – Jana Andrews, Owner of TRIBE Maui

What a year it has been! Small business owners have not had it easy during this pandemic. We have been sad to see so many local stores close their doors. To keep things light, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite boutiques of Makawao and Paia for this ongoing series. In this series, you will hear about the passions and inspirations behind these local shops, some words of encouragement for the future, and reflections/lessons on navigating a business during the pandemic. Starting off our series is a Q&A with the owner of TRIBE Maui, Jana Andrews

Q: Tell us about your shop, your ethos and your inspiration for starting your boutique!

A: My love for fashion started very early on….From the age of 3 I was picking out my own outfits and was pretty decisive about what I wore from then on…just ask my mother! Choosing what to wear—and how to wear it—was a type of creativity that I gravitated toward without really understanding the significance of fashion. I could channel Madonna one day and Janis Joplin the next…the inspiration never ended! But as I got older I started enjoying styling other people as well, and I guess that’s where my career in retail was born.

My husband and I moved to Maui 4 years ago and every Friday we enjoyed a date night at Casanova’s. Year after year I would look across the street and tell my husband if I were ever to open up a retail store…the location across the street—where Tribe is located—would be it!   Styling is my passion and both the window expanse and the exposure of this particular space was absolutely perfect for me. When the location became available I jumped at an amazing opportunity…and within 6 very busy weeks, Tribe Maui opened in September 2018. I had been in retail for over 20 years and worked for Urban Outfitters for 13 of those as a Visual Merchandiser overseeing 40+ stores at one point. I learned so much from that career and was able to apply much of that knowledge into the opening and running of Tribe.

Tribe Maui embodies the playful, yet fearless side of our island “Tom Girl”…seamlessly merging retro beach and streetwear with flirty and classic silhouettes to create a unique and unexpected vibe. Her body is an ever-changing canvas representing an innovative and creative sense of style through risk-taking and being true to her imagination. Our Tribe girl enjoys being outdoors and strives to make healthy choices for her mind, body, and soul. She surrounds herself with encouraging and loving people and embraces their individuality. She is bold…she is the leader of her Tribe.  

Q: What are you most looking forward to for the future of your shop and the community?

A: As I continue this adventure, one of my biggest goals is to bring in more pieces that are made locally. There is such an amazing talent base here on Maui—and on outer Islands—and being able to support that within my four walls feels extremely fulfilling. While I love styling and merchandising…I really love buying as well! We’ve got a handful of diverse shopping options in Makawao and I strive to always offer something different and unique.  I adore researching new and upcoming brands and introducing them into Tribe.

Recently, one of my associates showed me a beautiful jewelry line called Kisiwa Designs out of Oahu.  I immediately fell in love with her work as it’s so different from any other local jewelry line I’ve carried so far. Gaeda uses Japanese glass beads to intricately create colorful patterns which can be seen on necklaces, bracelets, earrings….and now face mask straps! I love that no two pieces are the same so you can buy one and gift one to your bestie and never feel like you are wearing the same piece! So clever!!!

While I wanted to bring new brands to Maui and to support local artisans, I truly wanted to create an environment where people could come, hang and decompress. Tribe has become so much more than just a retail space…it has become a second home to me—and my puppy Aiko—and hopefully to many of my customers as well. The absolute biggest win for me on any day at Tribe is watching someone try something on and seeing them absolutely glow in confidence. Their smiles and sheer delight in feeling beautiful not only energize me, but also fuel my desire to continue to do what I do.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned from the pandemic so far?

A: As I anniversaried my first year open…I breathed a sigh of relief as so many people said that the first year would be the hardest; however, my relief was short-lived… Covid hit quickly and by March we were forced to close our doors. For the next six weeks I felt like I was in a battle I just wasn’t sure I could win. There were many prayers and many tears… and little by little the darkness began to lift. I taught myself how to build an online store which was my saving grace throughout this process. I evaluated and re-evaluated my business plans and took risks so that Tribe could sustain this uncertain time. But the biggest take-away from all of this is how much I realized I love and adore my community in Maui. I have been supported in so many ways which has encouraged me to keep fighting even when times have been rough. 

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for this amazing community…and their strength has given me the strength to persevere. I have been blessed and am excited to share that communal love and compassion for many fashionable years to come!

~Mahalo Maui

Thank you so much Jana for sharing your story, your reflections, and your hopes! We are so lucky to be a part of this very special community. We wish you much success as you venture forward in your business both online and in store. If you haven’t checked out TRIBE Maui before, then check out their Boutique in Makawao or visit their website at Now you can purchase their beautiful collection of clothes from anywhere!! Thank you again Jana! Stay tuned for the next Q&A!