Just one week ago, I produced a fun photoshoot for Dolkii in Laguna Beach to debut our new "Love Your Wahines" collection. We rarely ever get to do photoshoots on the mainland, but this time around all our stars aligned and we were able to make magic with some amazing women, local to Orange County.
I first connected with Valerie, owner of Hakus and Love, on Instagram after noticing her goooorgeous floral creations! I was so surprised (and even more excited) when I found out she was based in Orange County and immediately reached out in hopes of one day collaborating on a photoshoot together.. and thankfully, she said yes :D! Even more than that, Valerie was kind enough to recommend the sweetest and equally talented photographer Kimberly.
I can't tell you all just how grateful I am to have connected with Valerie! Her energy is magnetic, and her passion for making lei is so inspiring. You can tell how much thought, time and aloha she puts into each piece; true works of art! If you're in the Newport Beach area, definitely check out her monthly lei po'o workshops where she teaches small groups the art of lei making! You might even get a special appearance from her gorgeous baby girl, Marigold!
Get to know Valerie and her inspiring journey to becoming a business owner below!
What made you want to start Hakus & Love and how long have you been in business?I stared Hakus & Love about two years ago in the spring of 2017. I had just been in a car accident and I was surrounded by tons and tons of sympathy flowers from friends and loved ones. While I was resting and recovering I turned all the bouquets of flowers into lei and was posting all my creations on my instagram. ALL of my friends wanted one so I made some for my friends, then for friends of friends, then word of mouth got around and before I knew it I was creating lei po'o every weekend! I loved being a part of celebrating others and that's what really inspired me to create Hakus & Love. Make Haku..share love and aloha.. it was, and still is, the best!
How did you learn to create such beautiful lei po'o?When I was about 14 I stared in hula lessons with a local halau. Part of my training there was learning the Hawaiian language, making ipu heke from fresh gourds at the gourd farm, and making lei po'o with the wili method. It taught me technique as well as the importance of tradition. As does my current hula halau. I'm so thankful for my kumu who inspire me and share their culture and aloha with me.
Where does the name Hakus & Love come from?I chose Hakus & Love as my business name because I feel like it gives a glimpse into what you're going to get when you come to me. Haku lei.. and so much love!! I put love into every single thing I make and I never make lei in a bad mood! Always full of love and thinking of the one who will wear it. Putting in all my positive energy with every flower.
Where does the inspiration from your beautiful leis come from?I am inspired by my home here in California a lot! I love a more modern, surf, bohemian look and that's a lot of what I create! Im also inspired by other lei makers in Hawaii likeHakus By Ki and The Lei Collective. These mamas inspire me more than words can say!
Anything else you would like our readers to know :D?I am just so thankful in my heart every day for every single person who supports me and gives me the opportunity to share in their special events in their life. It gives me so much joy that others can feel more beautiful and celebrated because of what I do, and I am honored beyond belief that I get to live my dreams in this way. Mahalo to all of you and to my kumu and hula sisters for sharing aloha with me so that I can pour out my love onto others. Xx Valerie