International Women’s Day, marked annually on March 8th, is a global celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action for advancing women and accelerating gender equality. You can take action by supporting women-owned businesses in your community on this significant day.
Read about the women behind six Kailua businesses below, and click here for a list of more wahine-led businesses in Kailua Town.
Plus, check out Kailua Town’s IWD social media giveaway, March 8, featuring a $250 prize package from women-owned businesses in Kailua.
Tiana Gamble, Owner
When Tiana Gamble and Ally Lopez started their BikiniBird blog some 13 years ago to share travel adventures and fashion obsessions, they quickly gained a loyal following of subscribers. In 2014, Tiana launched the BikiniBird online store, which led to pop-up events and collabs with favorite designers in coastal towns across the globe. Not long afterwards, the BikiniBird name was on the door of a flagship store in Kailua Town with a mission to inspire customers with new styles and brands and exclusives from up-and-coming designers. Tiana believes in women doing big things. This local, minority- and woman-owned and operated business now has taken flight with three more boutiques across Hawaii.
Michelle Alpern, Owner
Perusing the display in Dogtown Bakery’s pastry case, it’s hard to believe that the frosting-topped “PupKakes,” colorfully glazed “DoughMutts,” artfully decorated cakes and other Instagram-worthy delights are, well, for the dogs. While owner Michelle Alpern acknowledges that these pastries are fit for human consumption, the shop’s primary customers are the canine kind. After building a successful business selling her Paradise Pawz brand dog treats at local farmers markets, Michelle opened her Kailua shop in 2021, complementing the bakery offerings with toys, collars, leashes and apparel for the “modern dog.” The concept has proven so successful that Michelle expanded to the space next door.
Erin Smith, Co-Director + Co-owner
After establishing a name for herself, performing alongside such notable Canadian musicians as Feist and indie pop duo Tegan and Sara, Toronto-born singer, guitarist and violinist Erin Smith was lured to Maui 20 years ago. There she formed The Throwdowns, an alternative/reggae band and multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee. Erin and her husband eventually relocated to Kailua where she is now co-director of Kailua Music School, a 30-year-old fixture in the community. Together with engineer/producers Aaron Carey and Samson Malani, they have attracted a top-notch coaching team to their renovated space. It’s an artistic environment where students of all ages come to learn music, and where award-winning musicians like Henry Kapono as well as keiki and teen bands come to rehearse and record music.
Lauren Roth, Owner
From Whole Foods artist to a worldwide following, Lauren Roth has found a remarkable path to success that any business owner can appreciate. She has collaborated with such companies as Hermes, Nordstrom, RipCurl, Kate Spade and LeSportsac. Opening Lauren Roth Art Gallery with husband and business partner Jonathan in 2018 has pushed her to grow as an artist. Her joyful, nature-inspired art now graces apparel, home goods and fashion accessories. Lauren also has opened her space to support more than a dozen local artists, so shoppers can always find something fun and different. As a new mom, this busy entrepreneur still finds time each week to work on new paintings and textiles.
Lauren Mordue, Co-owner
Lauren Mordue, OD, wanted to be an optometrist since childhood. When she was 20, she began working as an optometric technician for her own optometrist in Florida, who inspired her to pursue a career in eye health. After graduating as a Doctor of Optometry from the New England College of Optometry in Boston, Lauren and her husband – and now business partner – Brian Daniel, moved to Kailua in 2017. The couple had visited Hawaii many times over the year and got married on Waimanalo Beach in 2015.
Out to See Vision, a newly opened optometry and eyewear boutique, is a dream come true for Lauren.
Carole Jacobs, Owner
Carole Jacobs fell in love with Kailua’s small-town feel when she moved from Maui in 1988. After an inspiring trip to Bali with five girlfriends, she returned home with a containerful of goods. Fortuitously, a storefront space soon became available, and Carole opened Red Bamboo in 2007. The store moved to a larger space in 2014 to accommodate large furniture pieces but, seeing a trend towards more boutique-type shopping, Carole returned to her original space last year. You will still find a fun collection of art and home décor as well as Red Bamboo’s new clothing line made in a small family factory in Bali. Eighty percent of the shop’s products now come from smaller, women-owned companies, and Carole plans to carry more one-of-a-kind items in a range of prices so anyone can walk in and find a treasure.