HOLDING ON TO FAITH: Leinani hopes for the best

HOLDING ON TO FAITH: Leinani hopes for the best

HOLDING ON TO FAITH: Leinani hopes for the best

We featured Leinani Hong earlier, the talented artist behind She Wood Go, a custom wood engraving business. So we checked up on how she’s doing after the horrific Maui wildfires that leveled the entire town of Lahaina.

“Like many, still a bit distraught, but just trying to make it day by day,” she said. 

The fires had a personal impact on her, as some of her family members were directly affected. While business operations were mainly based in Central Maui, Leinani faced the harsh reality of losing some major accounts in the west side that carried her products. But the dip in business was least in Leinani's priorities. She mourns with the community in the loss of a historic town, and empathizes with the suffering of the residents. 

During the very month the fires ravaged Lahaina, She Wood Go had been scheduled to participate as a vendor at the prestigious Made in Hawaii Festival held at the Hawaii Convention Center. This event, with over 40,000 shoppers, presented a significant opportunity for the small business to thrive. Leinani's initial hesitation to proceed was palpable, but she ultimately decided to push forward as a way to find healing in a time of adversity.

“It felt wrong,” she said. “But you can say this was a way to heal.”


Leinani's decision to take part in the festival was a challenging one, but it proved to be transformative. She discovered solace in connecting with people and experienced a sense of aloha from both buyers and fellow participants at the festival. She Wood Go secured several major accounts, including Foodland and Kona Bay Books, from buyers at the event. Moreover, Leinani established valuable leads, ultimately leading to a partnership with another empowered wahine small business owner, Kanoe of Pomahina Designs. 

Leinani harnessed the strength of the connections she made and channeled her creativity into crafting tools and toys for keiki that offered solace and healing. Her creations included stencils, bubbles, tracing boards, calming activities, and ohe kapala sets. In the process, she discovered the remarkable healing power of creativity and art.

In early November, Leinani geared up to participate in the Made in Maui County Festival at the Maui Arts and Convention Center. In a time marked by significant loss, the Maui community leaned on its small businesses to bolster economic resilience, and Leinani enthusiastically joined the business community in this mission. With unwavering hope and determination, she aims for the best while inspiring many on their journey to recovery.