Designs That Look Good And Do Good

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - April 14, 2010
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Michelle Smith, owner and creator of Bali Designs, in her Kapolei warehouse. Photo from Michelle Smith.

\Michelle Smith is a Jill-of-all-trades: formerly a clothing designer, health care activist and artist in Bali, the Ko Olina resident has combined her cultured background with her entrepreneurial spirit to start her new company, Bali Designs.

Through it, Smith creates tropical-themed furniture and home decor that showcase the easy-going, colorful appeal of the Islands.

“When I moved to Hawaii I was looking for something substantial to do here,” Smith said, “and since I still had all my contacts in Indonesia, I decided to change from clothing to furniture, which has been a really interesting and fun ordeal. Some of the things are my own design and others are things I find through my suppliers, but either way, people love them.”

Smith has generated a faithful following of clients since first opening her doors last December at her present Kapolei location.


“My customers are always amazed at the quality and selection that I have, and prices that seem to fit within their budget,” Smith said. “I just knew I didn’t want a showroom people would visit and be inspired but not be able to buy because of high prices.”

The company also regularly gives back to the community, donating a percentage of sales to a birthing clinic for women and children in Nuhkuning, Bali, that Smith helped co-found 10 years ago. Since that time, the clinic has provided health care and safe birthing practices for hundreds in the local community.

“The clinic has been a passion of mine for years,” Smith said. “I was involved when they first put the floors down and it was still mostly a vision of Robin Lim’s. Now, more than 10 years later, it has helped give so many mothers and their babies an incredible, nurturing, safe birthing experience.”

Smith also strives to incorporate socially and environmentally friendly products without sacrificing style, a philosophy highlighted by her furnishings produced in Indonesia with durable, sustainable materials like sea grass, water hyacinth, teak and banana leaf.

“There are so many toxic things we are exposed to on a daily basis, and I feel that by offering consumers items for their homes made from natural materials I am definitely doing my part to reduce the carbon footprint of my family and those who purchase our products.”

The Bali Designs showroom is located at Aloha Island Self Storage, 2009 Lauwiliwili St. in Kapolei (one block past Costco) and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday and at other times by appointment.

Visit or call 298-1774.


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