Designing Beauty at Ui Mau a Mau

Boutique shopping center Na Lama Kukui offers design services of all kinds, from home renovations to ribbon-lei making.
Photo: Aaron Yoshino

The Hawaiian tradition  of  giving lei represents many things, from affection and friendship to celebration and praise. “Giving a lei is a way to share the aloha spirit Hawaii is known for,” says Tracy Harada, owner and lei designer at Ui Mau a Mau, a shop at Na Lama Kukui that specializes in ribbon lei and yarn-lei supplies. With more than 90 percent of its ribbon-lei designs original to Ui Ma a Mau, it’s no wonder many regard the boutique as the go-to shop when it comes to the art of making lei.

Making ribbon lei originally started as a hobby for Harada, but has since developed into a passion that she is eager to share with anyone who is willing to learn. “It brings joy and happiness to those who receive lei and that joyful appreciation is reciprocated onto the lei maker/giver,” Harada adds, speaking on the importance of lei. Ui Mau a Mau means “beautiful forever” in the Hawaiian language, a name that’s not only reflective of the physical lei, but of the love and aloha that go into making and giving them as well.

Ui Mau a Mau warmly welcomes people of all ages, as its staff serves clients ranging from 3 to 96 years old. The store happily offers free lei-making sessions on all of its lei designs with the purchase of lei-making materials. “We believe that the beautiful art of lei making should be shared and preserved,” Harada says. Although it depends on the type of lei and the experience of the client, sessions typically last about 15 to 20 minutes, although there are designs that may take up to 45 minutes, or multiple sessions, to complete.

The cost of materials ranges from $10 to $50, depending on the number of different ribbons and yarn needed and the intricacies of the design. All ages are welcome to join in, so pack up the family and spend some time together as you head down to Ui Mau a Mau at Na Lama Kukui, to create something beautiful that will last forever.

Appointments preferred, but walk-ins welcome.

Categories: Industry Insider, Spaces