Cute, Affordable Fashions

Casie Riopta at her boutique in Hanamaulu. Coco Zickos photos

Casie Riopta
Co-owner of Island Love

Please tell us about your business. My sister Amber and I sell really cute products at reasonable prices at our boutique Island Love in Hanamaulu. We have clothing from regular sizes to plus sizes. We also have local brand products that people search for that you can only find here like Miss.Hillary bags and Kaua’i Original. We have hats like Kaua’i Girl, Born and Raised, as well as Live, Laugh, Aloha. In addition, we sell a lot of handmade flowers. Everybody loves their flowers. The flowers we get from different people off-island. They are for anything, wearing in your hair, whatever you want to do. We sell really large sizes that people are using for decoration like putting on their dashboards. Everybody goes crazy for the flowers. We mostly sell items for women, but we are slowly bringing in more men’s items. Our business opened in February.

What sort of style do you cater to? Our style is very simple and casual. We also have some dressier items for those who want to go out, but it’s more of a laid-back, everyday-wear feel.

Where do you get your clothes? All kinds of vendors. We did some shopping in L.A. prior to opening and made some contacts there, and we also buy some products online from contacts we’ve made. We also sell previously owned clothing. We have people bring in things that aren’t even used. But we’re not taking any more clothing until after the holiday season.

Bags by Miss.Hillary are some of the many locally made products available at Island Love

What is your general product price range? There isn’t really anything for more than $30 here in clothing. We also have really cute accessories like earrings for less than $5. We’re really reasonable because I love shopping and at good prices, too, so we try to keep it low for people who don’t want to break their wallets.

Do you make anything in-store?Yes, we make our own garments and our own hats here. Design Time is the name of the printing business owned by my brother Donovan, who operates out of the store. We can provide the designs for a T-shirt, or people can bring in their own. What separates our printing from traditional silk-screeners is that ours are direct-to-garment printing. It’s a spray-on, a new technology that is state-of-the-art. We’ll be coming out with new designs for the holidays.

How did you start this business? I think it’s every-body’s dream to open up their own store, their own little boutique. My sister and I had the opportunity to do it, and so we thought we might as well and went with it. I’ve also always worked in retail, like Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21. My first job was at a retail store in Anchor Cove. So I’ve always been around it and know what to do. Also, when I was in Las Vegas, I would always shop at the smaller boutiques around the town. Their prices are lower than the mall and I figured that we needed something like this here.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of what you do? Hearing people when they come in tell us how cute our things are, and how good our prices are and that we are offering something different.

What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do? Figuring out things like what to bring in and how to keep people excited. Also, keeping the store looking cute, which my mother, Esther, helps me with.

What makes you get up every day and go to work? It’s just exciting, I love it. It’s my own place that I run, and I have to think of everything and challenge myself with what to do and what to order. If you have a passion for it, you look forward to it. I also love to help people pick out their stuff and listen to all of their suggestions on what to do to make the business better.

Do you have a business motto or philosophy? We have boutique style without boutique prices.

What sets your business apart from others? Friendly service. We love our customers who walk in, and we really do cater to them and give them the attention they want. We make sure everybody gets help the way that they need. And, of course, the low prices.

What are your future aspirations? To stay open.

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday except Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

3-4221 A Kuhio Hwy. 245-0033