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

Tanatalus 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


In the Shop: Sunprint Kits

Check out our newest way to have some fun in the sun! Sunprint Kits let you create beautiful artwork with light sensitive paper, sunshine, & water.  For those of you photo buffs, sun printing is based on the cyanotype process, which has been used by artists and photographers since its development in the 19th century. Objects that eclipse the sun’s light will show up in white, with the rest of the paper turning a vibrant Prussian Blue. This fun little kit makes a great gift & is suitable for kids & grown-ups alike! Large Kit  = $19 Small Kit  = $9

In The Shop: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

An heirloom seed is seed from a plant that has been passed from one generation to generation. The  seeds are carefully grown and preserved for specific qualities such as flavor, productivity, or hardiness. Many heirlooms have been grown, saved and passed down for more than 100 years. Baker Creek continues this tradition by providing one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century.  Stop by the shop & check out our new display with a selection of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds -- always non-GMO, classic favorites. Heirloom Seeds Hawaii Heirloom Seeds Hawaii  Heirloom Seeds Hawaii

For more information on the benefits of heirloom vegetables, check out this article by Mother Earth News.

More In the Shop: TillandsiaWilder Magazine

In the Shop: Bud Vases

Glass bud vases Glass Bud Vases

Paiko's fun, tropical modern bud vases are looking extra bright and colorful for summer. Using local flora, these signature pieces are hand created by our creative director Tamara Rigney. At $15 they are the perfect way to brighten up your desk, delight your dinner host, or show a friend some love.

More In the Shop: Summer Planters, Tillandsia More Pincushion Protea: Kei Iki Tropical Modern

Paiko Ohana: Tricia Beaman

At Paiko, we have the pleasure of housing many of our succulents, air plants, and tropical flowers in elegantly understated, hand-crafted vessels by local artist Tricia Beaman.  I met with her recently at her home on a quiet, tree lined street near Diamond Head for a chat about her craft, Paiko, and Kaka’ako. Tricia Beaman

How did you get started creating pottery?

I started in 2009, my neighbor asked me if I wanted to take a clay class at Hawaii Potter’s Guild. The Guild is like this cooperative studio, it’s been around since the 60s and Yvonne, my neighbor, when she was a little kid, her friend’s mom used to take her there to glaze pieces and that it’s this awesome place under the freeway and there’s this big garden, and she said “Do you want to try and take a class?”. Clay has always been interesting to me, I’ve always been creative, and really interested in things that are functional, and art that’s functional, so you know, I thought I’d just try it out and see what it’s like. I kinda got hooked right away, so I just started making bowls, learning about the process of clay, firing, glazing and throwing pieces, and I’ve been at Hawaii Potter’s Guild since then. So it was kinda accidental. I had always enjoyed working on different projects, and fixing things up, and so this was a very accidental foray into a new art form.

I’ve been experimenting very slowly with hand building; I’ve just made some shapes to put together a wind chime, (laughing) which I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. I really just find the process of working on the wheel to be very meditative, and relaxing, and also just fun. I’m definitely interested in just making functional pieces. I think the wheel kind of lends itself to that more.

Why do you think your pieces work so well with Paiko’s shop?

When I saw Paiko, I was right away blown away, I love their branding, and the shop inside is very clean, and simple, and organically modern, I guess you would say. That’s totally the aesthetic I’m going for. So I think I just saw their shop and was “oh this is beautiful and it looks really cool” and I had been experimenting more with making different kinds of planters, so it seemed like it would fit. Definitely Tamara’s aesthetic, the way she arranges flowers, and the way they’ve been putting plants into my pieces, lets the work speak for itself.

You recently got started in clay, do you work in other mediums?

Yeah, I’ve done projects around the house, like sewing, and refinishing furniture, but I’m definitely not like a formal art student or anything like that. Everything I’ve found interesting has been for the home. I think everything I’ve been inspired to do creatively is because it has a need, (it is) a functional thing. I think it’s really cool that “craft” has become something that’s valid to do and it’s not seen as this really cheesy thing, you know…

There are great design blogs, and great magazines right now, that are showing that it is a craft, it’s not “crafty”, and that’s something that should be elevated, and these people should be treated as artisans.

When you are creating your pieces, what is your inspiration?

I’ve definitely taken inspiration from other potters at the studio, at Hawaii Potter’s guild, some of my instructors there that have just been doing it for so long, that I’ve learned a lot from them, and find inspiration at the studio, you know you see other people working, and (The Potter’s Guild) has this great garden, that’s a huge inspiration for me to like take a break and walk around the garden.

I think I’ve just always been interested in a really modern aestheric, like Heath Ceramics. Edith Heath was around in like the 30s and 40s, and she was one of the first modern American production potters, and actually, all of her forms are still in production today, and made in California. They have a studio and they use all her molds. We use all her plates and bowls, we got like a few place settings when I got married, and it’s all I ever use, they’re really nice, like very simple lines, so I think I’ve always been inspired by simple forms, whether it’s pottery or like furniture, I think I just have a clean, simple aesthetic.

What are your thoughts on Kaka’ako?

I think it’s really exciting to see creative people doing such interesting creative work and just to see what’s happening. I love Paiko’s aesthetic, and I love that it’s really simple and modern, and the other shops are doing really cutting edge cool things. Limb has had great shows, and that space is amazing. Ian’s a really talented furniture maker. There is affordable art work, it’s local, and that’s awesome. R/D features really interesting stuff. I think (Kaka'ako) has some of the freshest and most inspiring spaces in the city and it’s cool that they’re all coming together.

Written By: Hannah Grgich