Reviving The Art Of Letter-writing

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - July 08, 2009
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Letter-writing environmentalist Shauna Kahiapo at Fresh Inc.

In a world of computer instant messages, e-mail and texting, Shauna Kahiapo hopes to revive the art of letter-writing with her eco-friendly stationery store Fresh Inc.

“Writing a letter is something that you take your time to do,” she explains. “A letter is something you can look at over and over again. I want to get folks to reconnect on a personal level.”

Every few months she’ll offer a letter-writing station at the shop where the store will supply a sheet of paper and an envelope to each customer who wants to write a letter, then Fresh Inc. will mail it.

Kahiapo believes stationery can be beautiful, practical and environmentally friendly. The Waste Not Paper line has writing paper with matching envelopes made using hydropower or wind power.

Its note sets, for example, are often made of cotton or bark fiber.

Two of the most popular items in the 450-square-foot boutique are lined journals and colorful ecobags. There also is a line of sticky notes that Kahiapo, a Koolau Baptist Academy graduate, designed herself, as she has a graphic design background. She also can custom design invitations.

It was when the Kaneohe resident lost her job that she was able to focus on a dream she’s had for some time. Her grandmother’s letters were one of the reasons she decided to perpetuate the nearly lost art of letter-writing and open the stationery store.

“I didn’t want to put limits on myself,” she says about the family business. “I let myself dream and follow through with action. I’m so very blessed to be doing something I’m passionate about.”

Kahiapo thanks her friends and family for their support, especially her husband Kahai Fukumitsu, and their 2-year-old son Seth, and admits that one of the challenges of running her own business is finding the balance between home and work.

“I focus on work when I am at the store so I don’t bring it home during family time,” she says.

Her goals include spreading her message about the environment and upgrading to a bigger store.

Fresh Inc. is located at Windward Mall at 46-056 Kamehameha Hwy. in Kaneohe. The hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 236-3203 or log on to

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