Together my wife and I operate Maui Dad, a local, family-run, small business located on Maui, Hawaii. I met my lifelong best friend and wife for the first time in the sixth grade nearly twenty-four years ago. Since falling in love and graduating from high school together, our adventurous spirits have taken us around the country and the world. Both being people who are drawn to helping others, I became a teacher and she became a nurse. When we moved to Honolulu to work in our respective fields we both fell in love with Hawaii. We married each other on a beach in Kailua in 2010 and when our first child was born on Maui in 2012 she filled us with more love, gratitude, and inspiration than we’ve ever known.
As an ecstatic new father, a local artist and illustrator, and the Maui High School art teacher, the love I felt for my new daughter naturally flowed into my artwork. She napped best on long car rides so we’d often drive around the island talking about parenting while I’d draw in my sketchbook. My daughter and I have always had a special way of expressing our love with “forehead kisses” (gently touching foreheads). It was this bonding expression, and our deep love for Maui, that inspired a series of playful drawings on one of these family car rides. The drawings illustrated Maui’s wild animals, as fathers and babies, gently touching foreheads. We screen-printed these drawings on unique infant and toddler apparel such as stylish raglans (baseball tees) and infant-sized surfer hats. Our family business, Maui Dad, was born.
I started this family business with two intentions: to use my drawings to share the joy and inspiration of fatherhood with others, and to bring my own family closer together. Whenever possible we choose the most ethical, sustainable and local options for the production of our products, a mission that is of major importance to us. This is why we chose American Apparel as our provider of blank garments and all other aspects of production are done by hand on Maui. We are proud to say that our Keiki apparel is made with Aloha on Maui, 100% made in the USA, and guaranteed sweatshop free.
Image Credit: Maui Dad Apparel