She’s Selling Seashells

Alana Folen
Wednesday - July 06, 2011
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Nakita Chun. Photos from Nakita Chun

Nakita Chun has turned a treasured pastime into a successful business venture with Beach Barrettes, which she founded this past December, creating and selling one-of-a-kind barrettes at various island boutiques.

“I wanted to make something special using the shells my mom and I have collected my whole life,” Chun says. “I began making these barrettes for my friends for Christmas, and people saw what I was doing and wanted to buy them.

“One day I was at Drift Boutique Hawaii on Waialae Avenue and mentioned it to the owners, and they began carrying the barrettes,” she says.

Each barrette, which Chun creates personally, is designed with love and care. In addition to Drift Boutique Hawaii, her barrettes also are sold at Pualani Kailua, Pualani Honolulu and Therapy in Kahala Mall for $20-$25 apiece.

Noticing that the art of hair accessories like Beach Barrettes was not yet mainstream, Chun, who also is a full-time student at UHManoa and works as a server at Cha Cha Cha Salsaria in Hawaii Kai, took on the task of creating a special niche for her business while showcasing a bit of island flair in her designs.

“The fact that each shell is something special to me and not shells I bought is really important to me,” she says. “Each one (barrette) is unique,” she adds. “No two can really be the same, since each shell and piece of beach glass I use is something I spotted and thought was special during a beach walk or a snorkeling adventure.”

Beach Barrettes made with seashells, beach glass, fresh water pearls and coral

Chun utilizes various North Shore shells, Hawaii beach glass, freshwater pearls and coral as part of her many creations.

“When actually making the barrettes, I lay out each one before I start gluing anything on to figure out what the general layout is going to be,” Chun explains. “Then I start gluing everything together, and the smaller pieces of beach glass and the pearls come in to tie everything together,” she adds, noting that each barrette takes about an hour to make. “Sometimes I’m brainstorming ideas for weeks at a time.”

For Chun, an important part of being an entrepreneur is the fact that it also allows her to give back to the community. Currently $10 from each barrette sold goes to a nonprofit organization or charity such as the Performing Arts Center of Kapolei. Chun is using the funds raised to help the students represent Hawaii and attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, next summer.

For more information, check out the “Beach Barrettes” Facebook page.


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