Paiko Ohana: Jessica Onetti & Sax

We are so thankful for our amazing staff. Our crew is made up of talented, smart, funny, people with hearts of gold, and half the reason we look forward to coming to work is just to see them. So meet Jess, our workshop director and shop gal, she's talented with the plants, the babies, and the needle and thread.

So, tell us about you.

Hi! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Seattle and came to live with my cousins in Kailua for my last year of high school. I went back to Seattle for some school, then ended up in Italy for 3 years where my mom is from. I moved back to Oahu over five years ago. I have always made things and been encouraged by friends and family to start selling, but it never really felt like a good fit. Sax is the first time that connection has made sense. My professional background is in teaching including traditional classrooms, ESL, urban gardening and much more! I have worked at Paiko for a year and a half and am doing a lot of the workshops- it's a very nice fit. 

What's the story behind Sax?

Sax was born because Courtney of Paiko wanted something similar to a plant sack she found in New Zealand (there are many amazing Sax type creations made in Australia and NZ!).  I put my own spin on it by sourcing cast away fabrics that would otherwise end up in the landfill, and I also hunt for beautiful vintage aloha wear at second hand stores. I create some of my own textiles and want to explore and learn so much more about natural dying!

Where do you source your materials from?

As soon as the word got out that I use up-cycled fabric, everyone and their mama wanted to give me their castaways and old fabric collections. I have gotten some of my best textiles from a friend who sells to the hospitality industry because she is left with a huge amount of small pieces that can't get used in her industry. I hunt at the thrift shops for my aloha patterns and other makers that use canvas have shared their extras. I also buy canvas new; I'm not 100% reuse. 

What's it like being a mom and having a creative business on the side? Does your daughter Alba ever influence or help you in the creative process?

Being a mom adds a layer of complexity as well as major motivation. My kid often makes it much harder to get work done but she has also been sitting on my lap pressing the sewing machine pedal since before she was two! Those moments when she sees herself creating are the best, and she wants to be my helper. Many people in Hawaii wear multiple hats when it comes to work and art and we are good at the balancing act. 











Photos and Interview by Kenna Reed