Paiko Explores: Upcountry Maui


Away from the hustle of Kahului and Kihei, centrally closer than the journey to Hana, and embedded in the slopes of Haleakala, lies a pastoral world of hills and ranches. You might even see a real Paniolo (Hawaiian for Cowboy) grilling a grass-fed sustainably-raised elk.

Upcountry Maui is a wonderful place to experience Old Hawaii.  The buildings and fields form a grand plantation full of stories linking to the mana of the island’s past. The weather is cooler, sitting high up the slopes of Haleakala, allowing temperate plants to achieve their full lifecycle including flowering and fruiting. This bounty is apparent driving the snaking roads through Kula and ‘Ulupalakua as farm stands pop out of curves bartering juicy starfruit, golden papaya, and beautiful hand-picked protea bouquets grown with love.

We spent most of our time in upcountry breathing in the heavenly scent of lavender at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm and indulging in cheese flights by humanely raised goats (we also watched some kids surf.)


Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is located 4,000 ft up Haleakala. Rolling hills offer vistas of Central and West Maui. Visitors are invited to tour their 13.5 acre farm exhibiting 45 varieties of lavender. The lavender smells like heaven, and begs visitors to roam freely, meditate and relax amongst a well taken care of land.  The cool climate of the farm allows them to grow a large number of botanical specimens rare in Hawaii such as hydrangea, apple trees, peach trees, olive trees and more.  We recommend ordering a cup of lavender tea from their cute cafe to keep you warm throughout your excursion.


Surfing Goat is a smelly yet delicious dairy with cute, little goats prancing about. Owned by an expatriate German couple, the 42-acre pasture welcomes visitors to sample gourmet goat cheese (our favorite was called Rolling Green and Garden Fantasia which definitely tasted like an entire garden inside of a scoop of cheese,), play with baby goats, and even milk some if you sign up for the tour. Surfing Goat Dairy cheese can be found in organic supermarkets across Oahu or you can check out their website for additional recipe ideas.





Protea are abound in Upcountry, and the farmer’s market is always overflowing with flowers.  The Upcountry farmers market occurs every Saturday at 7AM to Noon at Kulamalu Town Center. We cant wait to come back and are already planning on the Makawao Rodeo in July!

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2015

Paiko Ohana: Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee

Have you noticed how festive the shop has been looking this season? Meet Jordan Lee a 32-year old Oahu native (Mililani represent!) and Paiko’s new Visual Merchandise Director.  To find out more about Jordan’s aesthetic and creative background we chatted on Paiko’s patio while we sipped steaming coffee from Brue Bar.


Tell us about your visual merchandising and creative background.

It all started when I was living in San Francisco, I was a full-time student at the Academy of Art as an Interior Architecture and Design major. My focus was commercial and hospitality design. I was working part-time as a sales associate at Diesel. Eventually, a position came up seeking a visual merchandiser so I worked my way up through the company as a full-time employee. I was also working at a boutique design firm but left during the economic recession. It was difficult design-wise to get a job and I was faced with a fork in the path. Ultimately I chose visual merchandising and from there I never looked back. I transferred to Diesel in Waikiki and then started working at Kate Spade as the Hawaii regional manager. Then, I was recruited to Louis Vuitton, Waikiki and I’ve been there for 2 years this month. It gives me the creative freedom by focusing on a product.

Holiday Visual Change-up

How did you and Paiko meet?

I met Tamara and Courtney by living in Kaka’ako and walking through the neighborhood. I’d bring my dogs Lola and Pfieffer around and would visit the shop. Lola is a huge fan of Tamara. Tamara is Lola’s unofficial girlfriend so I guess we met through Lola! Eventually we all started running together through Ala Moana Beach Park- we do a 4 mile loop.


How would you describe the new Holiday visual change-up?

For Winter, we’ve taken inspiration from Tamara’s Tantalus home. Basically making it lush, green, and alive. I imagine it in my head: a cloud rolling through the mountain. That feeling is kinda what we wanted to do with the Tantalus theme. For the holidays we used pops of red amongst the greenery. We brought Pele’s hair and hanging plants to the outside of the shop to create a nice presentation. If you’re walking across the street or pass by the store you’ll see the elements of Paiko from the outside.

I love the shape of the Christmas tree and I’ve been told I merchandise in triangles. I was walking in Home Depot through their garden section and my boyfriend found a frame that was cone shaped. We used air plants and more of Pele’s hair instead of using traditional ornaments and created a Tillandsia cone tree for the holidays.
Holiday Change-up

How do you create? Do you have a vision board or any precedents that you follow? Where do you draw your inspiration?

Tamara, Courtney and I sit at our work table in Paiko and bounce ideas off of each other. Also when we’re running we bounce ideas off of each other. When I’m walking through Waikiki, I look at store fronts and hotels for more inspiration. I’m inspired by everything, the littlest things, the hugest things… I’ve been noticing I’m inspired by reflections and light, as of this morning. Tamara herself is a HUGE inspiration, she always comes up with really good concepts.
Holiday Change-up

What is your favorite piece of merchandise at Paiko?

I love Dee Oliva’s animal planters. I’ve known her for a very long time, we went to high school together. When she was making miniature dogs, I asked her to make a mini Lola and mini Pfieffer. We placed the final pieces in a terrarium we had at my house and couldn’t stop laughing. Tamara saw these mini dogs and that’s when she first approached Dee for her merchandise.

I also love the Weck Jars and the shapes they come in. I love that they aren’t just for flowers but for other things. They’re not too modern but not too contemporary.


What are your thoughts about Paiko in the community, your neighborhood?

I’m so proud for how Paiko has taken form. It really has transformed the neighborhood. People come to Kaka’ako to see the shop. It’s way bigger. Nikole Nelson really transformed the space and I’m amazed. Every time someone walks into the store, I look at their reaction. It’s amazing. It’s something Hawaii needed and something that’s different here. I feel like people can sense that in a way.


Paiko's Holiday Changeover


What is your dream visualization for Paiko?

Tamara and I are interested in lifestyling the store. I would love to see the idea of not just having plants but making it into a sanctuary or a place to relax in. We have that with the addition of Brue. I love the idea of plants mixed in with books or something else that you can take home. Just having it be a lifestyle or mentality, a way of living…That’s my dream for Paiko. All of the things that make Paiko what it is and bringing it home to wherever you live. Just like Hawaii has a magical quality about it, Paiko has it’s own.


It’s still not too late to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts. Swing by Paiko for unique gifts for your loved ones and pals this holiday season. We have extended holiday hours for your shopping pleasure.


Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Ohana: Ann Kadowaki


Paiko’s reknowned ‘haku lei master’ Ann Kadowaki’s holiday workshop is just around the corner and we wanted to introduce you to this busy bee! Ann invited us to her happy place at Lyons Arboretum in Manoa where she actively volunteers as the Vice President on the board. We explored the arboretum as she named off the various plants of Hawaii and chatted about her haku talents, inspiration, and future European garden travel plans –for the time being she’s kind-of booked!


Born and raised on Oahu in Pauoa Valley, her inspiration is drawn from her childhood. Both sides of her family were actively involved in the local flower culture. Her dad was an orchid grower and her uncles were commercial rose farmers. In fact, her first job was on a rose farm where she cleaned and bundled the flowers. “I was horribly slow because I was so OCD about maintaining the roses. They had to be perfectly in line, no odd ones out.”


Here are some questions we posed to the ‘haku lei master':

When and how did haku-making become your passion? How did you become involved in the art form?

I think I always loved plants and flowers. Flowers especially. I used to make ‘weed bouquets’ — little weeds that have little flowers on them. I would cluster them together in little bundles and stick them inside a rock. My Dad used to grow orchids and when they were blooming, I would collect the little buds. I used to think they looked like ‘chick’ heads and they were intriguing. He would spank my hand for plucking them. But I love flowers.


Where do you source your materials? What typical plants and flowers are found in your lei?

Usually my yard or my friends’ yards. Sometimes I buy them locally depending on what I am making. Most of the time, my lei friends and I gather from each other’s yard. A lot of us make little arrangements too in our other jobs. For Hawaiian table swags, I love to use a whole head of Ti. I love using the Song of India for its color and to brighten the piece. Also, Miniature Beef Steak leaves, given that name because they are red in color, can be included. I use Box Wood which is an ovoid type tree for filler. Depending on what I’m making, I love using different colors like reds or browns.


What is a Hawaiian table swag?

Hawaiian table swags are gigantic Haku lei, laid on the table. Normally I have this workshop at Lyon so I pick my materials here. I may have to go on some raiding sprees for my Song of India.


What type of method is used to create your Hakus?

I use a winding method. It’s the easiest to teach too. I find it difficult to braid.

What began the collaboration between Paiko and you?

God, that was a funny one! We are the current lei makers at the Punahou Carnival. Previously it was the Kapuna making the lei since the 70s. I enjoy making lei, learning more techniques and meeting people. We have a network of lei Goddesses in the booth at the Carnival. One year we were talking story and there was an overwhelming amount of lei orders. Sweet young Tamara came to the booth and asked to speak to a lei maker in the back and the crew asked me, I guess because I’m the bossiest [laughs.] She explained about her workshop and her earnestness was appealing. I was so tired but I couldn’t say ‘No’ with her 2 friends peering behind her. I gave her my email address, we corresponded and I stopped by the shop to understand. It’s a charming place!


Ann teaches a lei workshop once a year at Punahou school to mothers and students. This year she brings her knowledge and enthusiasm to Paiko to teach a different type of student.

On December 16th she will be hosting our ‘Holiday Table Swag’ workshop where you can dress your holiday table the Hawaiian way with a lush table swag crafted from local foliages and berries. Make sure to sign up via our RSVP website or calling the shop for more details before its too late!

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Explores: Tantalus


Paiko founder, Tamara Rigney, invited us to explore her ‘happy place’ for inspiration, her little cottage hidden away in Tantalus. Originally called Pu’uohi’a, the mountain was named after the greedy Greek God Tantalus, by students of Punahou who were studying ferns in the 1840s. The God is well known for his ‘eternal punishment: forever standing underneath a luscious fruit tree, full of bountiful fruit, forever out of his reach.’  Fortunately for us, the infinite amount of botanical treasures welcomes explorers to an enchanting magical forest.

Tamara guided us along the muddy, yet easy trails beneath canopies of Cook Pines, Areca palms, and beautiful Banyan trees. We kept our eyes open for strawberry guava, avocado, and orange trees. She paused every so often to point out different textures and contrasting colors popping out from mystical spots. We really felt like we were in the Secret Garden! Tamara told us of the African tulip, a bold tree sprouting blossoms of oranges and reds, an invasive species that entertained her as a child. ‘My friends and I would take the flower pods and race them down the gutters when it rained. It was one of our favorite games.’

Rachel and Tamara

Where do you normally find your inspiration? Is it ever-changing depending on where you are located?

I get inspired by everything- everything I’m seeing or doing somehow comes into play when I generate ideas. Lately, I’ve been spending lots of time at my house up here, and that’s been influencing my aesthetic. Travel is also very important to me.  Given that in Hawaii we’re out here in the middle of the ocean, it’s important to go find new experiences and bring that energy home.

Carpet Moss

What elements of Tantalus are currently placed into Paiko? What characteristics of Tantalus are you looking forward to incorporating into the shop?

We’re incorporating lots of different jungle textures and foliages into our winter look. Vines, mosses and lichens are going to be major elements.

Rachel amongst Heliconia

What are the consistent botanical themes that you continue to place into Paiko?

‘Tropical Modern’ is the name I give to the general aesthetic at Paiko.


What is your dream shop design and layout?

After our latest remodel this year, designed by Nikole Nelson of BlkCoral, Paiko is pretty much my ‘dream shop’. I seriously can’t believe how polished and beautiful it turned out.  We have a few things to finish up, but by and large the shop is almost perfect. I love going to work every day, especially now that I get coffee handed to me when I walk through the door from Brue!

Therapists and people in general believe it’s not good ‘chi’ to bring their ‘office’ into their ‘home’ life, how do you feel about this?

I do try to leave the office out of my home life, but I constantly bring my home life to the office. I live an amazing lifestyle up here in the jungle, and it’s a major part of what Paiko represents.

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

In Store: Paiko Holiday Workshops for December


paiko holiday workshop flyer

Tis the season for holiday decor and DIY gifts to share this winter, especially if you’re seeking some handmade goodies! This December, Paiko is offering a plethora of holiday workshops for your seasonal inspiration that we can’t wait to share with you. Want to have the best decked door on your block? Then maybe the Tillandsia Holiday Wreath workshop is for you. Attending the SALT Holiday Fair? Check out our Tillandsia Snowglobe class at Kaka’ako Agora. Curious about what a Kokedama is? We’ll teach you at the Christmas Kokedama workshop. Hosting a Holiday party? Haku lei guru, Ann Kadowaki will kick start your Hawaiian Table Swag inspiration.

These classes compose a tight knit network of like-minded nature-loving individuals who want to be involved and spark creativity in their community. Not only are these classes educational but they’re relaxing and productively stimulating.  A welcoming environment for pau hana play, pre-party girls night, or a date with your favorite person. Each class is taught by either Paiko’s very own Tamara Rigney, or other respected activists in the Hawaiian horticulture community.

Interested? Check out our calendar for additional information on each workshop and to save a spot!

Here are some images from our past workshops:

Ann Kadowaki

Succulent Gardening

DIY Potting Bar


Paiko Ohana: Sara Mayko & Rachel Siegfried

In September, Paiko sought out a pair of nature-loving gals to bring onto the team. Welcome Sara Mayko, our social media director and Rachel Siegfried, our marketing director to the Paiko Ohana.

Sara Mayko

Sara Mayko was born and raised in the shore town of Milford, Connecticut. Early on she was inspired by her parents to take a creative path. Her father encouraged her as an editorial news reporter and her mother introduced her to the process of black and white photography.

Sara moved to New York City to study at the School of Visual Arts to obtain her BFA in Photography and Fine Art. A former intern of Glamour Magazine and office manager at the boutique photo agency Apostrophe, Sara developed skills in creative direction, production and artist management.

After almost 7 years of city life and yearning for adventure she found her way to beautiful Hawaii. Here, Sara sought out the native flora and magical forests.  Apprenticing at a local Kaimuki flower shop, and exploring the botanical gardens on Oahu, she fell in love with the color and variety of life she discovered. Taking inspiration from the brilliance of Hawaii’s plants her adventure continues as Paiko’s social media and events director.

Rachel is a recent graduate of Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania.  When she is not crafting a unique marketing tactic, you can find her on a trail or a beach. Rachel also has 16 years of professional art instruction and enjoys working in acrylics and oils. Her passion is creating custom works for clients seeking anything ranging from a landscape to pet portraits. Rachel is an animal rights activist and vegan. She also enjoys antiquing, tennis, skiing and getting lost in nature.


Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Ohana: Brue Bar

Brue Bar in Paiko

Brue Bar, a coffee bar stemmed from family-owned Honblue, is Paiko’s newest partnership. We interviewed Courtney Heim, the self-proclaimed ‘Head Brue Bitch’ and also our ‘Woman Crush Wednesday’ of the week! We got to sip on some of her coffee creations and also learn a bit about the art of making espresso. Curious? If you’re lucky she’ll let you put your hands on the ‘Slayer,’ a copper-made espresso machine originating from Seattle. Courtney describes it as being ‘sexy as fudge’ and she customized the details with Zebra Wood, as she felt fit in with Paiko’s aesthetic. She also introduced us to the ‘Steampunk,’ a techy dream machine that produces single-cup brewed coffee, emulating something that looks as if it was ‘patented outside of Frankenstein’s laboratory.’

The View from Brue

How did you fall into the world of coffee?

First it was out of necessity. I had a lot of sleeping problems in high school which I remedied with coffee. After moving to Seattle for college I became exposed to specialty coffee and it rocked my world. Just off of the Seattle U campus on 12th Ave is a Stumptown, and that’s where I fell in love with coffee and realized how good coffee could actually be.

Describe your role as the ‘Head Brue Bitch,’ how do you earn this title?

Again, my inspiration is derived from the influence of Seattle. There is a restaurant called ‘Biscuit Bitch,’ where each menu item has some kind-of dirty name including the word ‘bitch.’ It totally fits in with not just my sense of humor, but also my father’s; he was actually the one to start the name ‘Brue Bitch.’ I thought that would be a fun name for the baristas of Brue Bar and since I’m the manager I kinda just named myself ‘Head Brue Bitch.’ As the Head Brue Bitch I order all of the coffees (which is really fun since we get to try new things every week!), I pick out most of the machines we have, I help with the design, layout, and ambiance of each space, I create training programs for the Brue Bitches, and I do basic managerial things such as hiring, ordering, and accounting. Overall, my main goal is to ‘caffeinate’ people with quality coffee beverages and make sure that not only are they enjoying their beverage, but they’re also enjoying the environment and atmosphere of Brue Bar.

Courtney Heim

How did the collaboration of Brue Bar begin with Paiko? How do you feel Brue and Paiko relate?

Tamara and Courtney approached us. Coffee shops are filled with creativity: in the bar, the environment the cafe is established in, and the attendees who frequent. As with Paiko, our collaboration enhances the creative community. I was in a San Francisco coffee shop a few months ago and it was full of tons of succulents. It vibed together, in relation to the coffee beans and the plants. Paiko is a quality-driven boutique and Brue is a quality-drive coffee bar. We are catering to people who appreciate craft. It provides an additional setting for the creatives to mediate on a cup of coffee and having a place for creatives to gather. Who wouldn’t want to shop and sip?

How does coffee relate to your art? We follow your instagram and see examples of your paintings. We love how the textures and colors can relate back to your coffee creations! It reminds us of the beans itself.

The painting on Instagram is my project called #theyearof25. It’s a single 11×14 canvas that I paint on each day. The subject matter is what I call ‘emotion paintings’ since each day’s painting is meant to reflect how I’m feeling that day. Basically, I’m chronicling my 25th year of life on a single canvas. Each day represents a layer which builds up over time and potentially influences future layers, like the texture, and that kind of represents how life works, at least to me.

Courtney's Cappuccino Creation

Where does Brue source it’s coffee from?

Currently we order our coffees from mainland roasters. We normally use Caffe Ladro’s espresso blend and decaf blend on the Slayer and we like to feature a bunch of different seasonal coffees from Verve Coffee Roasters for our Fetco-brewed coffee, Steampunk-brewed coffee, and our cold-brewed iced coffee.

Brue Bar at Paiko officially opens November 8th and will be open during normal store hours. Come enjoy the outdoor seating area, indoor window bar, and super fast free wifi!

Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Floral Styling for Honolulu Magazine


Paiko’s Tamara Rigney channeled the energy of Hawaii’s fashion scene and the look of the tropical jungle, to create head pieces for Honolulu Magazine’s October cover. We are blown away by Hawaii’s local fashion talent, and Tamara was thrilled to have her pieces featured with garments by designers such as Matt Bruening, Andy South, and Salt Liko.

Paiko Ohana: Dee Oliva

Dee Oliva

Meet Dee Oliva, local artist and a member of Paiko’s ohana. Dee’s ceramic pieces each have a life of their own, and her adorable animal planters have become an instant shop favorite. We treated Dee to a spooktacular picnic last Wednesday with homemade pumpkin seeds, Hawaiian kettle corn, and lots of caramel chocolate. With Dee’s animals joining us, it was like a picnic at a miniature zoo.

Picnic With Dee

Picnic With Dee Oliva


Dee is a ceramacist, teacher, and mentor to children island wide. Originally, she attended UH Hilo as a botany major, then transferred to UH Manoa to complete her education. Working with clay was only an extracurricular activity until one of her closest professors encouraged her to switch from botany to ceramics. Initially, Dee’s creativity flowed through her 2D pieces in drawing and painting, but embracing the 3D art form of ceramics allowed Dee to see her ideas come to life.

Her ceramic creations started out as just for fun, being able to sell them is an additional benefit. Her artistic mantra is “If you do something you love, it’s your passion, when you make money, it’s a bonus. If you’re driven and forget the anxiety or fear [of being an artist], doing what makes you happy, sooner or later something [will come out of it.]”

Animals, especially her friend’s dogs, are a major inspiration to Dee. Each pup has a different personality, and most of the ones Dee chooses tend to be quite comedic, something that becomes clear when she sees their selfies posted on Facebook. This began her extensive collection of miniature dogs, which caught the eye of Paiko’s Tamara Rigney when she spotted a couple in a friend’s terrarium.

Dee's Pots

After being introduced to Paiko, Dee started creating mini animal pots, not only of dogs, but of reptiles, dinosaurs, giraffes and more. Dee admits to being addicted to nature documentaries. When exposed to a new species on one of the 45-minute shows, she tries to envision how a plant can fit into this animal’s shape. Right now she is wrestling with the idea of an octopus.

Dee believes her pieces aren’t complete without Paiko’s touch. “1 or 2 plants can make or shape my final piece. The colors of green and grey: grass and stone fit together. It makes sense with my terra-cotta pieces,” she says, “And the whole circle of life. My pots begin with mud (the clay from the earth I use to mold,) then after it is fired another element of life is placed into it: Paiko’s succulents and soil.”

Dee describes our encounter as a magical moment: “Paiko accepts my vision and what I see when I touch clay, giving me the creative freedom to express my animal’s personalities.” To see more of Dee’s work, come by the shop and explore her curated pieces. Also you can check out her online portfolio


Dee Oliva


Photographs by © Sara Mayko 2014

Paiko Discoveries: Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn

PC Fritz Haeg

PC Fritz Haeg

We love this article in the Splenid Table blog on Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates project. We should all be growing more of our own food, and Fritz’s designs make edible gardens beautiful enough replace your landscaped front yard. Check out the full article here at the Splendid Table.