This collection has been a long time coming. So let us start before.
I was born to a young couple, who would later have another daughter, get married and eventually build an empire together. But that was way down the road. For now, my mother was a student, a mother, and bartender. She is from the east side and was and still is hard working, never taking no for an answer. The words “I can’t” never leave her lips. My father, is a dreamer, always following his gut, letting his heart lead the way. He moved to Hawaii in the 90’s to make his dreams come true. Surfing pipe, fixing dings, sanding and then eventually shaping.
Together, pushing and shoving they made ends meet, bought a house and continued to raise their kids where they wanted to be, taking us across the world despite the lack of funds. If they wanted or needed something, they figured out how to make it work. Life wasn’t stress free for them, but it was good, and it was clear it always would be.
I was never told no. Maybe in the small materialistic ways when I asked for the expensive sugar cereal, stupid toys, or if I could have sleepovers on weekdays- But when it mattered, no wasn’t something I ever heard. Instead is was always “how?” How are you gonna do it, get it, make it work? My parents pushed me. They knew when to help, when to watch and when to look the other way. Something that really frustrated me when I was younger, but what I’ve grown to appreciate more than anything.
I watched my parents and learned there's no separation of church and state, home and work.
I think it was then when I realized I wanted to work for myself. I wanted to make my own hours. The kind of stuff that you would only do for something you have created.
The passion that goes into updating a website at two in the morning. But also being able to drink a bottle of wine while you do it.
In 2013 it started… Not the wine - that’ll come later, but the passion.
At five years old, I don’t really remember life without Luna. She was and still is the most artistic person I know, drawing things I could only dream of with ease, while I struggled with stick figures. She was quiet and observant. I remember before her name was added to the list of numbers on the side of the fridge, I would call 4-1-1 to find her home number, not knowing how to spell Courtois, the operator just as confused talking to a seven year old on the phone. Luna would leave voicemails stating the time, asking if I wanted to hangout, always stating her full name as if I knew any other Lunas. We never had classes together after 1st grade. We grew apart as elementary friends do, but became close again in middle school, Kahuku has a way of getting everyone to stick together, the fear of the new and unknown.
Like most of the girls on the North Shore, our common ground were bikinis, the beach, starbucks, surfing and that stupid bunker hike. Riding our bikes everywhere we went, Since we couldn’t legally drive when we started Benoa.
At 15 years old we didn’t know about alterations, or swatches, or anything really. So we cut four pieces - including the dog collar and went for it with the other nine. We called it the Element Collection; A 50 piece order, all black. Our parents helped pay for it, one of those times parents know to help. The little shove of encouragement being an “I believe in you, dream big.” without any words leaving mouths.
And that's what led us here. To "Grown from home"
Lots of people ask us how to start a bikini company, how to make it work?! And here’s the big secret… Benoa didn’t make it out of the starting phases because it was great, or a game changer, we are getting there now.... But, It worked because of our community- Small knit, proud, loving and supportive. We are part of a crazy creative, smart, hardworking community and everyone helped us. Our friends and family bought suits they probably would never wear, just to show us that they believed in us, and they were proud of us. Our community believed in us way before I ever did. Over the years so many people have stepped in and helped us.
The push of encouragement, the pieces to the puzzle.
And here we are, a long way from where we started but with a lot of growing ahead of us. This is Grown From Home. This is us. xx Enjoy