Upon return to the lower continental 48, the idea for Kapena Kai sprung forth from the experience of aloha from a month-long exploration of the quaint island of Oahu. The adventure brand that exists today started simply with the mission to spread aloha to the ends of the earth.
This idea brought designs, goals, and dreams but lacked a direction as to where ‘the ends of the earth’ would begin. This hurdle was relinquished when founders, Mikey and Jesslyn Hayes, traveled to India for a mission trip which put them in close contact with local pastors who brought them to a local school to show Christ’s love, a whole lot of aloha, to students. Some of these students were encouraged to attend this school for the meals it provided in addition to the education they received. The interactions with these children gave purpose to Kapena Kai- to create a brand that looked beyond itself, cared authentically, and empowered the planet and its people. This is where the nutritious, efficient, and readily accessible banana theme began and continues today.
The ensuring passion brought Kapena Kai on a 2,500 mile family road up the East coast, on a mission trip to Nicaragua, with friends to Japan, to partners back on the Hawaiian Islands, on countless hikes, camping trips, beach sweeps, and features with local surf shops. All through its OG five panels and plain white tees that were frequently cut and tie dyed to add a little flavor.
The transformation in labeling and branding that is now seen reflects that of the coagulation of narratives, conversations, and relationships that have come to be the foundation stone of Kapena Kai. The same values of spreading aloha, empowering the majority world, and enabling the consumer to trustingly love their neighbor have remained but have molded to better accommodate the nomad; in true nomadic fashion.
Kapena Kai aims to create premium products that will last for years from a position of transparency, allowing confidence and comfort with investing your money to develop. At the intersection of an entirely imperfect human essence and desire to move from a position of love, this brand exists to be in continual motion- to love and do better for every brother and sister that crosses its path.