Molly Watanabe

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - June 15, 2011
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One of Honolulu’s SMART girls has joined the HI Luxury team at Oahu Publications. Molly Watanabe, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover June 2, 2006, with business partners Amy Alston and Sarah Honda, is now working as a columnist and sales executive for HI Luxury magazine, which highlights high-end lifestyle, fashion and dining topics throughout Hawaii.

“For me, I am in the perfect place. I really feel in terms of what is going on in Hawaii and in publishing here, this is the place to be,” says Watanabe. “There is so much happening. There is so much opportunity and room for growth.”

Watanabe is more than a fashion enthusiast. She thinks outside of the common realm of fashion, understanding how to work its concepts into people’s daily lives.

“With my column, On Trend, my goal is to make high fashion come from a perspective that you can work it into your everyday life. I think fashion can be fun and I would like to make it playful, an escape,” adds Watanabe.


Prior to HI Luxury, Watanabe helped found and run local fashion and style publication SMART Magazine in 2005. Although the magazine did not make it through the economic downturn, Watanabe had the creative idea of combining the concepts of its editorial content with the business model of many of the new coupon sale websites. With that mode of thinking she helped create SMARTdealshawaii.com, which offers exclusive deals for subscribers from many of our hottest local spots, including boutiques, salons and spas. SMARTdealshawaii.com also offers features and profiles of many local business owners to get the public more accustomed to the type of style and service each store offers.

Outside of fashion, Watanabe is thrilled to be a board member of the community fundraising organization The Gift Foundation of Hawaii, which is comprised of young professionals who are in key positions within their industries, taking active roles to help charitable foundations throughout Hawaii.

“It is inspiring because everyone is so gung-ho about raising money for these causes and doing good for the community,” she says. “We do have a little bit of a reputation because our Halloween party is so fun.”


Watanabe also is on the board of directors of the EuroCinema Hawaii film festival, which works in conjunction with HIFF. Her creativity also has spread to the kitchen - on her downtime, Watanabe expresses a love for cooking, especially Italian cuisine.

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