Meanwhile, back on Oahu...
On July 7, 2007, we opened our first dedicated Pualani Hawaii boutique, located at Kaimana Beach in the New Otani Hotel. It was an ideal location and we had a fantastic ten-plus year run. When the lease ran out, we began searching for another location and found the perfect quaint spot on Monsarrat Avenue, just across the park from our former store. One challenge: we also needed to find the perfect person to operate it.
Kazusa “Kaz” Flanagan spent fifteen years managing ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro (Google him if you’ve never heard him play). Long hours, international travel, and the stress of promoting in the music business took its toll. Kaz became ill and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Treatment involved chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. Devastating to say the least.
Some time after, a mutual friend brought her (Kaz says “dragged her”) to the showroom for a fitting. Kaz was in a post-cancer funk, with no motivation to go to a bikini fitting. Iwalani’s positive, sparkling personality broke the ice – Kaz said that day was a life-changing event for her. Little did she know how prophetic that statement would become…
When we made the move to Monsarrat, Iwalani’s first choice to run the new location was Kaz. Iwalani said she had always seen something special in Kaz and invited her to sit down and discuss the idea. Kaz was lukewarm and a little skeptical at first but she decided to hop out of her comfort zone and go for it. Gordon went to work building out the new location and powered through it in three weeks. On January 18, 2018, the Grand Opening was a hit, with hundreds of friends and mermaids enjoying the celebration. Lucie Lynch sang on the sidewalk as people milled in and out of the store. Everyone circled up outside and Kumu Heidi Taam led a Hawaiian blessing ceremony, followed by Gordon imparting a Christ-centered prayer and blessing.
The climax of the day happened when Jake Shimabukuro slipped into the store and surprised Kaz by playing some of her favorite Beatles hits on his ukulele. There was not a dry eye in the house!
Here we are, two-and-a-half years later, and the boutique is smoothly swimming along. Now that she has some time and experience tucked into her bikini, we checked in with Kaz to ask her what she likes best about running a Pualani store: “I love the feeling of trust being built between me and customers by finding a perfect suit together.”
Surf by the store and get up to 25% off or go to her website and enter HAWAII25 for an online discount.
PUALANI HAWAII BEACHWEAR • PualaniBeachwearUS.com
3118 Monsarrat Ave. • Honolulu, HI 96815 • 808-200-5282