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


Paiko Expeditions: Medicinal Plants Tour

We always jump at a chance to learn more about the plant world, and this week was no exception. Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu offers a medicinal plants tour that guides you through their extensive collection (only $3 for residents). This walking tour is led by a knowledgeable docent who shares fun facts and interesting uses of plants from the Americas, Africa, and Polynesia. As an unrelated bonus, Foster is a great spot to spy some of the island's birds, from brightly colored parakeets to nesting waxbill finches in the cannonball tree.

Calabash Nutmeg

Calabash nutmeg is a large tropical tree from Africa. Alien-like, scented flowers hang delicately from the branches. The tree produces large fruits filled with pulp and aromatic brown seeds, used as a substitute for nutmeg. In traditional medicine, the seeds are used as a stimulant, to treat headaches and aid digestion. They are also used as rosary beads and are considered by some to have magical properties.


Also known as the Indian Mulberry, noni is a small tree with large leaves. The fruit is a rather lumpy, ovoid shape; translucent white to gray when ripe & smells "pungent" (to say the least) when broken open. In ancient times, noni was a valuable dye plant and producing a red or yellow color. Widely used in Polynesian traditional medicine, noni was used to treat everything from wounds and abscesses, to fractures, styes, diabetes. Noni continues to be used today by some who believe it can help treat ailments such as asthma & cancer.


Cuachilote is a short, tropical, fruit bearing tree from Mexico. The ridged, green- yellow fruits are reportedly sweet and edible either raw or cooked.  The fruit is sometimes made into pickles or preserves. Cuachilote was traditionally used as a remedy for colds and the roots were used as a diuretic.


Providing a perfect perch for orchids, the calabash tree has nocturnal, bell-shaped flowers. The shell of the fruit is hard and durable once dried, making it useful for maracas, containers for drinking mate, and a number of other items. In the Americas, the fruit was used as a purgative, cold remedy, and as treatment for coughs.

Sausage Tree

The sausage tree is sacred to many African communities and has a wide variety of uses in traditional and Western medicine. The dark red, pungent flowers open at night and are pollinated by bats and moths. Both ripe and unripe fruits are poisonous to humans, but fruits are sometimes dried and fermented to enhance the flavor of traditional beers. All parts of the tree are used in herbal medicines, for digestive and respiratory disorders, and to treat infections and wounds. The sausage tree is also used in a variety of commercial applications to treat skin complaints.

Blue Marble Tree leaves & fruit

A buttressed rainforest tree native to Australia, the Blue Marble tree is named for its distinctive blue fruits. The green leaves of the tree turn vibrant red as the edible, bitter fruit appears. Traditionally, tea made from the tree was drunk as a purgative, although the roots were also used for the treatment of rheumatism. The seeds have an oil rich kernel which was processed to treat skin disorders, and whole seeds are used for jewelry.

Otaheite Gooseberry

This species is believed to have originated in Madagascar, and is now commonly grown in Indonesia, South East Asia, and Guam. The star-shaped green fruits are very acidic, and are processed with sugar to make sauces, syrup, and jelly. In Indonesia, the tart flesh is added to many dishes as a flavoring. Medicinally, the fruits are taken as liver tonic, intended to enrich the blood. Syrup is prescribed to aid digestion, and the seeds are cathartic.

Author's Note:This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use.

Sources: Kew Royal Botanical Gardens www.kew.org

Whistler, Dr. W. Arthur. Polynesian Herbal Medicine. Pacific Tropical Botanical, 1992. Available from the Hawaii Public Library System or for purchase online.

Morton, Julia F. "The Calabash (Crescentia cujete) in Folk Medicine". Economic Botany Vol. 22, No. 3  (Jul. - Sep., 1968), pp. 273-280. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4252965

Morton, Julia F. "Otaheite Gooseberry". Fruits of Warm Climates. 1987, pp. 217-219. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/otaheite_gooseberry.html

More Paiko Expeditions: Koko Crater Plumeria Grove, Big Island, Manoa Falls

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

Paiko In Full Swing aka 'A Synopsis of Our First Fifty Eight Days'

Paiko Hawaii Honolulu Wow, where have the past 58 days gone? It's hard to believe that Paiko has been open for business that long. So much has happened and yet, there is still so much more to do! A few things are for certain, Tamara and I have been loving spending our days in the shop, chatting with our customers, laughing and finding our inner flower humor, learning oh so very much and finding out how little sleep we actually need to function.

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On Tuesday December 12th we invited a few friends, family and neighbors to the shop to help us celebrate the opening of our doors. We definitely felt the love and were touched by all the support we received from our dear friends, old and new.

Not long after we opened, the Rogue Christmas Honolulu Night Market took place and Paiko stayed open late to join in the festivities. We had yummy Christmas snacks and wassel in the shop along with leaf printing on Kraft paper by our dear friend and resident artist, Kristen Maize. The next day the first Pinch of Salt day market was held and boy were we busy. We love our neighborhood and were thrilled to be apart of these two great events! The next Honolulu Night Market is coming up on Saturday February 16th and we cannot wait!!!

After the holidays we were able to regroup and briefly catch our breaths, but just for moment- as we needed to spring into action for the Valentines Day preparations and in the planning for our first workshop on Tuesday, February 19th. Stay tuned for more on that....and for all the exciting things Paiko has in store for 2013!

More Paiko Storefront: Kaka'ako Here We Come675 Auahi is Open

Kaka'ako Night Market

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Here at Paiko we have a lot to be thankful for this year, especially the support and love from all of our amazing friends.  We could not do this next chapter in Kakaako without you guys!! We are especially grateful to Rich at RDC Design for the absolutely stunning work he has done on the build out of our new space. With that being said, this past Saturday's Kakaako Night Market was another occasion achieved with the help of our friends, many of whom were made in the Kakaako community in the past few months.  We especially want to thank Sean, Wei and the rest of the team at Interisland Terminal and R/D  for featuring our pop up flower shop, 'Feel Free Store', on the rickshaw at R/D that night.  The 'Free Store Rickshaw' is a creation by Tadpole Studios and is designed to be a transportable pop up store. Before its debut at R/D, the rickshaw was a part of the Fresh Flowers show at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Our other location that night was in the Pinch of Salt market around the corner.  This marketplace, constructed almost entirely of recycled materials, is awesome, and will be in place indefinitely.  It was a great place to have our first night of connecting with the public and displaying some of our living creations.  As the night went on, it brought huge smiles to our faces to see people walking around with giant pink king protea protruding from under their arms.  Kakaacool!

Paiko Pop up store

 Lady slipper orchids

Paiko Pop up store

 Courtney, Kalena, and Tamara

Paiko pop up store

We had great neighbors that night, and I've probably worn my organic tank from 'Life is Swell' at least three times in the past week..

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 Succulents were a big hit as were our bud vase creations

Paiko pop up store

 The "Feel Free Store' in R/D

Paiko Pop up store

Protea from Kula and uluhe fern curls from Hilo

More Kaka'ako: Neighborhood Guide: Kaka'ako