Blessed With Many Kinds Of Riches

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - October 19, 2005
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Monica Hirai picks up a new bag from Lo Kaimuloa at Riches
Monica Hirai picks up a new bag from Lo Kaimuloa at

Lo Kaimuloa celebrates the 20th anniversary of her store, Riches, next month as she reflects on the deeper meaning of the store’s name.

“It’s been about riches of love for people,” Kaimuloa says. “How fortunate we are to have the life that we have.”

Her anniversary wish is to stay open another 20 years. The 87-square-foot kiosk, which has been at Kahala Mall since the start, sells bags, jewelry, hats, and other items made by local artists.

One of the store’s goals has been to stay a step ahead of what will be really big.

“We brought Kate Spade to Hawaii, and at the time people didn’t quite get it,” she recalls.

One of the newest lines of jewelry is the He’e Nalu series. The bracelet is named after the family’s surfing dog, Nalu. There are also Ku I Ka Pono pendants - where a portion of the proceeds go to the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center. Last month, a percentage of all sales went to help Hurricane Katrina victims.

The Kaiser High grad credits her store’s success to her excellent staff. Manager Kelli Coffin and sales associate Leigh Ann Agag have been with Kaimuloa for quite some time. Sales associates Samantha and Sabrina Tom are also on the Riches team.

Kaimuloa acknowledges the great foundation she’s had from her parents, Rip and Bunny Riddle. And she also appreciates the learning experiences she gained at previous fashion-related jobs. She’s worked as a manager for three high profile businesses: Paul Brown hair salon, Gil Gilbert photography and a luxury-retail boutique at the former Kahala Hilton with Bernard and Helen Hurtig.

“They are phenomenal,” she says.

It was about 21 years ago when Kaimuloa was invited by Robin Stephens Rohr to be a partner in this store. Kaimuloa took up the proposition so she could have more time to spend with her children. When Rohr went on to other things in life - including writing the Hawaii Chicken Soup for the Soul book - partner Sissy Sosner stepped in for a while until she too moved on.

“We’ve always survived, thanks to the grace of God,” she says.

And now, Kaimuloa’s partner is her husband, Clyde, who also runs his own flooring business.

“He goes on buying trips and he has a good eye,” she says. “And now he recognizes certain designers.”

The Hawaii Kai resident says “The store has been like a little gift. It’s almost like a Cheers, where we know our customers and we share a bit of our life stories together. I’ve gotten to know my customers’ children, and my clients got to go through the growth of my children.”

She’s now a grandparent - the Kaimuloas’ son Kamakana and his wife Emi have named their son Kamakanoeli’ili. The Kaimuloa’s younger son Pono, recently graduated from college.

Riches is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 737-3303.

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