Earlier this year, as I was physically preparing for my wedding, I fell in love with Corepower Yoga for my daily workout routine (specifically yoga sculpt, wooo that class is intense!). As someone who never really had a workout routine before, I not only enjoyed the class, but all the shopping for new activewear that came with it ;)! As someone who love supporting local brands, I found it super frustrating that I couldn't find a cute activewear company from Hawai'i that I could proudly rep in class. So I took the conversation to Instagram Stories, asking our followers who their fave local activewear companies were. With an overwhelming response, that is how I got connected to Kawaipunahele and her amazing activewear company: Lehua Lole.
From concept, to colors, prints to the final product, this activewear set is the result of a true girls supporting girls collaboration and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you all!
I got a chance to get to know Kawaipunahele and the incredible company she's built and you can read more about her amazing journey here!
How many years have you been in business and what made you start Lehua Lole?
I have been doing Lehua Lole since 2016. This coming November will mark 4 years ! What made me start Lehua Lole was my love & Passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I figured since I already live in activewear, I should learn to make it myself. Since starting jiu jitsu back in 2015, I realized not a lot of women did the sport and you almost had to Prove to people that being a women you can also be good at the sport. So I’ve made it my goal to empower wāhine because what men can do women can ALWAYS do better. So I created my activewear to make women feel strong & confident because no matter how you feel when you wear something that makes you feel empowered, you get things done !
Where does the name "Lehua Lole" come from?
It took me a long time to come up with the name of my business. I chose Lehua because it is indigenous on the big island and no matter where my business goes I want people to always know where it came from. Lehuas also come in all different sizes and colors. That represents all of the women that are in this world. No matter who you are, you are beautiful and deserve to know it. Lole is the Olelo way of saying clothing.
How did you learn to sew so well?
I never knew how to sew. I am so grateful that my Older cousin who owned a business selling handmade baby leggings ! When I decided I wanted to get into activewear she was sooo nice to take time out of her day to teach me what she knew. From then on everything was self taught. It is a learning journey that I am still on, there was a lot of failing in order for me to learn. I am so grateful I came as far as I have.
Where does the inspiration for your different top designs come from?
Most times when I create my tops it is just an idea in my head that I draw onto paper.
Lauhala Sports bra got its name from the crisscross on the back. Hala is used to create hats, mats, bags, etc using a weaving technique. It is not exact but the way that the straps intertwine with on another reminds me of the Lauhala weave.
Tehani Sports Bra is my simple Racerback Top. There was no specific reason why I chose Tehani except for the fact that it starts with a T and Tehani is such a beautiful name. I chose a name that starts with a T because Racerback tops remind me of that letter.
Nōhie Sports Bra is my Two strap Top. It is just one strap that goes over each shoulder. The reason I chose the name for this top is because of the simplicity. The name Nōhie means simple & uncomplicated which is exactly what this top is!
Lastly my Lau Niu Sports Bra is yet another simple Top that has a scrunch in the front. When I first made this top the scrunch reminded me of a frond! Which is where it gets its Hawaiian name Lau Niu.
Where do you see Lehua Lole one year from now?
In a year from now I hope to see Lehua Lole in more pop ups or craft fairs ! It’s the best thing to be able to meet everyone that buys my activewear in person. In a year I see Lehua Lole becoming a bigger brand in Hawaii and maybe even outside of Hawaii. It is my only source of income so in a year I see Lehua Lole supporting me & my family with no worries of when am I going to be able to afford the essentials in life.
Anything else you would like to share with us :)?!
Before starting Lehua Lole I was never the type of person that enjoyed working a 9-5. If you told me what to do I would always do the opposite. I jumped from job to job. Most times I felt lost, like I was just wasting my time because I didn’t know what I was here for. I always wanted to create my own business but never believed in myself. I want to encourage more people that are like me that the only time you grow is when you fail. I almost didn’t carry on with this business because everyday I would fail trying to sew my first pair of leggings. If your anything like me, you don’t like failure, but that is the most important part of following your dreams. Do what makes you happy and fail often because if I would have quit when I said I was going to I wouldn’t be where I am today. Also believe in yourself and trust your journey!
You can shop our exclusive collaboration HERE. Proceeds from the sale of this bra will be donated to Women's Fund of Hawai'i, an incredible non-profit with a mission to improve the lives of women and girls statewide.