A Couple’s Creativity Is In The Bag
Carol D’Angelo and Dexter Doi are thrilled when they see their artwork come to life on three styles of canvas bags.
One of the latest silk-screened designs by their company, Ecolicious, features hibiscus flowers and a butterfly on a large hobo-style canvas bag with a single strap, a snap and a zippered inside pocket. Their new line includes an embroidered shoulder bag with an adjustable strap.
“We wanted something pretty that people could use,” says D’Angelo about how the couple started their business. “We’d talked about putting our art on evening bags a long time ago.”
Doi says they thought starting off with canvas bags would serve the community better. “It’s the right thing to do to serve a purpose,” he says.
Six of their designs are showcased on an earlier line of canvas tote bags.
Customer Laura Clagstone proudly uses several different styles of the bags simultaneously on a daily basis.
“I have some extras at home that I give away to people as gifts,” says Clagstone.
All Ecolicious designs have the word “Hawaii” intricately placed. Several stores carry them, including North Shore Swimwear, Barefoot Dreams, UH Bookstore, Global Village and Na Mea, just to name a few.
The couple started their business in 2007 after noticing a canvas tote bag with big green letters that read “This is not a plastic bag.”
“We both looked at it and said we could do something better,” D’Angelo recalls.
The Kaneohe-based artists sketch out ideas independently, show them to each other, then decide on finishing one together. To start off, the husband-wife team launched their line with two bags.
“We didn’t know anything about how to start a business,” she says. “We’ve started from step one and learned along the way.”
In addition to showing their paintings in art galleries at least once a year, running their business and selling at craft fairs once in a while, they also maintain full-time jobs. D’Angelo works as an instructor at the Apparel Product Design and Merchandising program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she also is the curator for the Historical Costume Collection, which consists of more than 20,000 pieces. Doi works as a senior artist at Tori Richards.
He admits there are some challenges to running the business.
“Every time we do a new design or a reorder, there are minimums from the manufacturers,” he says.
To expand their product line, Ecolicious plans to debut its artwork on reusable stainless steel water bottles to reduce the use of plastic drinking bottles.
“You want to be eco conscious, but I don’t want to pound someone on the head with it,” Doi says.
They hope to introduce more bags, T-shirts and silk scarves in the future.
For more information, call 225-2045 or log on to www.doidangeloartworks.com.
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