Family Business Center of Hawaii

Equipping, educating and celebrating families in business

Shidler College of Business

FBC Event

Oahu Meeting

“It’s all in the DNA – Continuing a 65-year-old legacy”

Speakers: Alx Kawakami (3rd generation), Director of Development, and Sarah Kawakami, Retail and Merchandising Manager, ‘IOLANI, Inc.

In late 2016, Alx & Sarah Kawakami decided to continue the legacy at ‘IOLANI, Inc. that spans three generations over 65 years. Although they now share in this adventure together, their preceding journey’s were much different. Sarah, who was always into fashion and is an accomplished professional hula dancer, helped open ‘IOLANI’s first retail store in their factory on Kona Street almost 10 years ago. She would go on to become the unofficial merchandiser until she moved to Los Angeles with Alx in 2014. Alx, on the other hand, never thought he’d be involved with ‘IOLANI and never had any urge to be in the family business. His music career led him around the world and he ended up writing and producing music in Los Angeles. One morning, in 2016, he woke up and had a realization that he and his wife needed to move back to Honolulu to continue the family legacy. Both Alx and Sarah continue to play music and dance hula full time while also working towards moving ‘IOLANI forward and continuing to adapt to changes in the market and changes in fashion.