About Us - Mission and Vision
The Keiki Dept. (department for short) is owned and operated by Leilani, a Native Hawaiian mother of four. After the birth of her oldest son in 2015, she wanted to purchase clothing for him that featured Hawaii designs rooted in local and Hawaiian culture. It was at this time she discovered the world of small shops and the idea of supporting mom made at a few local markets. There were a handful of mom owned shops at the time but almost all made clothing exclusively for girls and if they were for boys, it was tacky aloha prints or t-shirts that just scratched the surface of local culture.
A natural DIYer, Leilani turned to YouTube, bought a sewing machine, and while on maternity leave, she taught herself how to sew. In 2016, she officially started The Keiki Dept. by selling baby bibdanas and harem shorts that featured locally inspired designs. This passion project was an outlet for creativity with the goal of paying for diapers and to help cover the cost of a babysitter.
In 2019, this passion project grew into a full-time business when Leilani left her teaching job to stay home to raise her keiki and run The Keiki Dept. By the end of 2020, Leilani could barely keep up with sewing the clothing and she began to move towards small-batch manufacturing the clothes. In 2021, The Keiki Dept. moved out of Leilani's home office and into their first warehouse space in Aiea, Hawaii.
The Keiki Dept is an e-commerce business with stockists throughout the state of Hawaii, and in the Continental US. A list of current stockists can be found here.
The Keiki Dept.’s vision is to create one of a kind pieces for keiki that inspire families to learn more about Hawaiian culture and the need to protect our island home by having conversations about the plants and animals depicted in our designs.
Based in Aiea, Hawaii, The Keiki Dept.’s mission is to create pieces that draw inspiration from Hawaii. By weaving the stories of various plants and animals found here in Hawaii, our goal is to:
- Create clothing and accessories that provide a starting point for conversation about the plants or animals depicted, and their importance here in Hawaii.
- Give back to Hawaii non-profits that provide services to Native Hawaiian keiki and their ʻohana.
- Collaborate with wahine artists, primarily from Hawaii, to illustrate our concepts and bring them to life.