Brazilian Bikinis And More
Owner, I Heart Hanalei
Please tell us about your business. I Heart Hanalei is a beach boutique. We sell bikinis and workout wear, and we have midto high-end clothing. It’s for an active lifestyle — to go to the beach or to work out — and then if you want to get pretty at night, we have that too.
Where are you from and when did you move to Hawai‘i? I am originally from Brazil, and the surf brought me to Hawai‘i 27 years ago — I am a water person: standup, longboard and Boogie board. I spent my first six years on the North Shore of O‘ahu and then I moved to Kaua‘i.
Why did you start this business? Being Brazilian, I brought some bikinis and workout wear with me to Hawai‘i. My friends liked what I had and wanted to own it as well, so I started selling workout wear and swimwear from Brazil from my home. It was appointment-only for a few years, and then I opened this business in Hanalei two years ago.
What sets your business apart? The workout wear and swimsuits that are special-made in Brazil. We have a large variety for kids to 60-year-olds, and all types of coverage.
Why do you do what you do? My passion has always been clothing. I’m not into this business because of the money. I’m in this business because I love being here, I love looking at clothes — it just makes me happy.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of this business? Walking in and looking at the clothes and colors — it’s a passion of mine. It’s fun to have someone who can never find a suit and they are just so happy to find something here. Making the young, local girls happy is super fun. What I also enjoy the most is coming to work and dressing up. You don’t get to do that on Kaua‘i, so it’s just so nice. I come from the city, where people go to the beach and dress up at night.
What’s the most challenging aspect of this business? Making sure you’re fully stocked and the sizes are in. It’s hard to keep things fully stocked, it takes a lot of work.
What are your plans for the future of this business? I would like to stay in business in Hanalei. One store is perfect.
What advice would you give a small-business owner?You have to spend time at the business. It takes a lot of time and energy, it becomes your life. For me, because it’s such a passion of mine, I love it, so it’s worth it.
What makes you get up every day and go to work? I get in the water first, and then I’m always happy to come to work. My two favorite things are the ocean and clothing, so I just combine my passions.
How many swimsuits do you personally own? Oh, my gosh, I cannot even begin to count — so many. I have three drawers full, probably hundreds of suits.
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer season, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the fall and winter seasons
5-5061 Kuhio Highway, Suite 1A