'Awa + 'Olena

 ‘Awa + ‘Olena (left to right): Rika, Amanda Watkins and Jason Watkins

‘Awa + ‘Olena (left to right): Rika, Amanda Watkins and Jason Watkins

Q: How long have you been doing this?

A: I started out by doing crocheting and jewelry (thanks to my husband and his mom), which led to launching my own original jewelry line called A.Wattz Dezigns in 2009. After a short stint in Maui and traveling for a little bit, I moved back to Oahu in 2009 and found a home in Kaimuki. Fast forward to 2015 and I had graduated from UH with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. At this point I was also doing jewelry way more than massages. Today I’ve completely transitioned my life into this new role and chapter of running my own business. I moved into and opened 'Awa + 'Olena in August 2018.

Q: What is the story behind your business’ name?

A: ‘Awa and ‘Olena are both roots, and canoe plants. The story of how these plants came to these islands and made a home here by providing sustenance and healing is something I use as inspiration and grounds my vision for this business. I used both plants in my massage practice for their therapeutic herbal qualities, and hope that the products I carry at ‘Awa and ‘Olena can provide a similar sense of healing and nourishment to our community.

Q: What do you love about Kaimuki?

A: I love the walkability of the neighborhood. I love the food options here. I love the contrast you can find of old and new. And of course the people and our sense of community!

Q: Where do you see Kaimuki in 5 years?

A: I hope we maintain a healthy mix of small and local businesses in Kaimuki. I also hope we see Kaimuki Community Park being utilized more and increased use of its bandstand. It would be great to see the community come together for outdoor movie nights, farmer’s markets, concerts, and maker’s markets.

Jordan Lee