This is Us.

This is Us.

Posted by Ashley de Coligny on

Hi there! It’s been a while since we’ve blogged. We’re taking a moment to reintroduce ourselves to all our newfound friends and followers, since Wings Hawaii recently turned 21. (How?!? We still feel like teenagers!) If you’re new here, welcome! And to our longtime besties, thanks for being here, and welcome back.

We’re Wings Hawaii, a woman-owned small business on the beautiful island of Maui, in the north shore town of Paia. Our jewelry and garments are lovingly handmade by local artisans, with eco-consciousness at our forefront. We adore finding vintage gems and giving them new life with an artsy twist. We create heirloom-quality pieces to cherish for years, plus a fun mix of accessories and gifts for anyone who loves Hawaii, and the beachy, free-spirited, “real-life mermaid” lifestyle as much as we do.

Behind every single Wings piece is a dream team of badass craftswomen who are deeply passionate about their “one of a kine” creations. Each hand-crafted item has a story behind it, and we like to think of them as wearable pieces of art. The creator of Wings Hawaii, Samantha Howard, says it best herself: “We’re not just a store or a brand; there is SO much heart behind what we’re doing.”

 It all started in 2003 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a couple of surfer girls. Alongside her best friends, Samantha had a dream to create a business making the jewelry and clothing she loved: hand-made and unique, using hand-gathered Hawaiian shells, recycled metals, and repurposed fabrics. But at that time, these lofty ideals weren’t necessarily seen as “good business.” Sam recalls: “If I had listened to all the business people who told me it wasn’t going to work, then I wouldn’t be here.” Luckily, Sam, Mel and Becky listened only to their own hearts, and to the flocks of fans who eagerly scooped up their goods at every campus sale. Wings Hawaii took flight; and has been soaring high for 21 years now as a business, and 17 years as a brick-and-mortar location.


Flash forward to today – and Wings Hawaii still embodies that vision and spirit, with a peek inside our workshop as proof. Behind the doors of Haiku’s historic Pauwela Cannery, you’ll find our seamstresses and jewelers pouring their hearts into their handi-works, while using sustainable materials like organic cotton, bamboo fibers, nontoxic dyes, recycled metals, reclaimed fabrics, and vintage dishware.

These creations then make their way to the Wings Hawaii boutique on Hana Highway, in the heart of Paia. We’ve stocked our lovely little shop with all the things that make us smile: the signature Wings mermaid screen-printed on tees, tanks, hoodies, pants, and more. Perfectly tailored trousers, cool-girl retro shorts, overalls, dresses, jumpers, and vintage flannels retouched with intricate lace detailing. Fine 14k jewelry with one-of-a-kind gemstones and shells. Pins, patches, stickers, totes, hats, dishware, hand-drawn notebooks and cards. Crystals, treasures, and trinkets – all those perfectly giftable items for any lover of Hawaii, and for those who shop with intention and care for the people and stories behind their thoughtful purchases. We may be biased, but we just think there’s something so special about picking up a hand-crafted item from a local artisan on Maui. (And until your next in-person visit, we’ve got ya covered online.)

Our philosophy has always been about supporting our small-but-mighty team of dreamers. Just take it directly from the women of Wings themselves:

“Wings takes the idea of the real-life mermaid and truly brings it to life through repurposing; keeping clothing and other items out of the ocean and out of landfills, creating pretty things with objects we collect from the environment, and having a community mindset that expands over oceans and through mountains.” –Maiya, Studio Assistant/Screen Printer

“One of my goals for working in fashion was to work with a sustainable company. Wings is a good fit for me, because I could have worked for a company that was making fast fashion and had a lot of waste… but here at Wings we have very little waste. We use natural fibers; cottons and linens, low-impact dyes, so a lot of our stuff has always been sustainable. It’s nice that now it’s also a trend, but Wings has always been like that.” –C.J., Associate Designer/Sewing Studio Manager


“There is a lot of love in every Wings creation thanks to the beautiful, genuine people behind the products. And we really appreciate all our supporters!” –Kat, Store Manager

“Not only is it a local business, small business, and women owned/run business…but it is the coolest place that I’ve ever worked. All my coworkers have become friends, even the owners! A great little family! (Also obsessed with the merch, ask any team member about my spending problem, haha)” –Lyssa, Sales Associate


“To see a small business survive and thrive with a close-knit team of women who deeply cherish one another is mind-blowing, for lack of a better word. AND to witness the owners encouraging, motivating, and loving when any of the girls take time off to swim with whales, or focus on another aspect of life that they also find joy in, is incredible.” –Maiya, Studio Assistant/Screen Printer


[Side note – a bit about the writer: My name is Ashley, and although I nominated myself President of the Wings Hawaii Fan Club twenty-something years ago, I’ve finally joined the team in a more official way as their new blogger. I’m proud to be one of Wings’ first customers and “models” (lol, just for one DIY photo shoot on Waikiki beach in 2003 – the first and very last of my modeling career). My house also served as a makeshift Wings workshop whenever Sam and Melody traveled to Oahu. I have fond memories of Sam tagging items on my couch, and Mel screen-printing shirts on my lanai, late into the night before early morning sales at UH Campus Center. I love these women dearly, and continue to be inspired by their ambition, ethics, artistry, and creativity still to this day, 21 years later. I’m so excited to start blogging for Wings, and I can’t wait to share more.]


Clearly, we’re all stoked on Wings Hawaii, and we love sharing it with you all. Keep a lookout for upcoming blogs sharing what we’ve been working on, and why it’s so important to us. Thank you for supporting a woman-owned small business on Maui. Cheers to 21 years, and here’s to many, many more!


1 comment

  • Congratulations to the women of Wings on your 21st year of creating and sharing beauty. Through your dedication, devotion and steadfast endurance you have manifested your vision of ‘making jewelry and clothing, handmade and unique’. They said it couldn’t be done. Yet it is happening everyday in in your workshop and shared with joy in your lovely store in Paia.

    Shellie Fielden on

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