Kelley Chapman and Anna Lieding are opening a brick and mortar version of their successful “mobile bikini popup shop” in Lahaina. The partners’ business, Manakai Swimwear, is Hawaii’s number one ethical and sustainable swimwear company. The Maui-based company will celebrate its Grand Opening on July Fourth.
Chapman and Lieding have been running every aspect of the company for nearly three years to build a brand that features fully reversible swimwear that is sewn in the USA and made from regenerated nylon fishing nets. They have taken every opportunity that Maui has to offer for small businesses looking to grow: they bring their bikini popup shop to nearly every Friday Town Party, they set up at the Maui Swap Meet, and they host private evening bikini parties. Also, in addition to handling design, branding, photoshoots, marketing, finances, and the renovation of their shop, they both hold second jobs.
Chapman said that in the beginning, they were concerned that bringing Manakai Swimwear to the Friday Town Parties and the Swap Meet would cheapen their brand. “But what we found is that we could really connect with women from all around the world, share our story, be their personal stylists, and form long-lasting relationships that are the foundation for small businesses,” Chapman said.
A year ago the partners were tipped off by a woman in the stall next to them at the Maui Swap Meet that there was a spot opening up in Lahaina just off of Front Street. Then nearly a year later a friend told Chapman about a spot that had just opened up – 888 Front Street.
“We did not expect to open our first brick and mortar this quickly, but when the right opportunity presents itself, sometimes you have to jump onboard and make it happen,” said Lieding, a Hana-native. “We are so excited to be taking this step not just for the growth of our company, but also to serve as an inspiration to other women looking to grow their ethical and sustainable small businesses,”
Their ethical and sustainable boutique is the first and only of its kind in Lahaina, the partners said. In the midst of large corporations taking over Front Street, they said they are confident that they will stand apart and provide the conscious consumer with a shopping experience that they can stand behind 100 percent. In addition to Manakai Swimwear, the boutique will sell other products that compliment an ethical and sustainable lifestyle.
Photo: Manakai Swimwear