Dear Friends of ‘Alohi Kai,

As most countries have locked down and begun practicing social distancing, people and businesses are going through unforeseen tough times. And like most small businesses, we’re making some adjustments until things open up again.

At ‘Alohi Kai, our ethos has always been central – Sculptural, Slow, Sustainable. All that we sell we make by hand, from taking our underwater photos, to sketching, sculpting, and creating the final product.  Our slow values mean we put relationships first because without our customers and suppliers we are nothing.  It means we make things well, and to last – we need to live up to your standards, and we’re not fans of disposable.

We are a community of ocean lovers who care about how and what we consume, so we’ve always made decisions with an eye on how we are impacting the ocean, the land, and the creatures that live there.  This will not change, in fact, it applies now more than ever.

Farmer’s market booth

Received Gifts of Flour!

But in thinking through how we can support you our community in these crazy pandemic days, we saw that people are spending time on two areas, essentials and ‘tokens’. Essentials like going to the farmers market to support our local farmers and standing in 2-hour lines at Costco for toilet paper so our parents don’t have to. Essentials like creating mini-economies to fill in gaps in supply from passing little bags of yeast to friends so their son can make bread for mother’s day, to receiving buckets of flour from friends who have a surplus. This is how we lucky, un-infected people are living in the pandemic. Life is still good, just different.

But then there are ‘tokens’; these are all the little things that connect us to those we can’t hug or spend an evening with in person.  Zoom calls. Emails. A lot more texting. That flour I received was to needed to make food for friends and older family in lockdown or who were in quarantine.

Cookies for quarantined friends

Gnocchi for gifts and barter

Panforte for friends in the UK and Hawaii

A more elaborate dessert for Mother’s Day

We, like so many others, have lost people during the pandemic. Not necessarily to Covid19, but with the same need to blindly navigate loss under social distancing, the same inability to mourn with loved ones. So in Hawaii style, we leave gifts for family who are recovering from surgery or suffering loss. We can’t sit with them or otherwise physically comfort them now, so we leave our tokens of caring on their doorsteps, an acknowledgement of their presence in our hearts. Times are tough for so many people. Little tokens and gestures are not frivolous, they matter.

With this in mind, we’re switching from our planned new designs to creating small, affordable tokens of love and cheer. Little things you can send to people to replace the hug or the cup of coffee, something to reach out with to say “you matter” and “we will get through this”. Little things that mark this time in history; physical objects steeped in the lore of these times to tell our grandchildren.  And of course, things that are lasting, covetable, and made with aloha.

Introducing our new tokens – mask pins and touchless keys. Small, relevant, and useful. The pins are fabricated by hand in Hawaii with recycled sterling silver. The prices are discounted. Mask pins are useful to hold a filter in place, to personalize masks when your face is covered, or just to have some precious adornment when times seem difficult. A special stone, an initial, a favorite animal. If you have an idea from our existing designs, we’d be happy to try to make it for you!.

And the Free as the Sea touchless keys are finally here! Since the virus is transmitted by touching surfaces, these contact-free keys can help to open doors, punch key pads or elevator buttons, and pull open drawers to minimize touching high-traffic areas. They are cast in bronze, which is a copper alloy (copper is antimicrobial). And we’ve dropped the price from $120 to $59. For us, this is about safety of our community.