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Business // Entrepreneurs
Christina O’Connor

Dad-baby Clothing Combos At Expo

A T-shirt, says Ku’ulei Vedder, “can be a form of expression and a representation of yourself.”

With Altered Ink LLC, which Vedder founded and co-owns with boyfriend Jerald Aio, she runs with that concept, offering digitally printed, customized shirts. The pair can create shirts from photographs or prints, and also can work with clients on design concepts from scratch. Altered Ink has created custom shirts for small businesses, as well as special occasions including weddings, baby luau and family reunions. Plus, many people enjoy getting a custom-made shirt “just because.”

In addition to these personalized products, Altered Ink also has created three lines: Homegrown Hawaiian, which celebrates Hawaiian culture; Homegrown Keiki, which features fun, colorful children’s clothes; and Ku’uleiu’i Originals, which offers women’s clothing. Altered Ink sells its products at Na Mea Hawaii, the Castle Medical Center gift shop, and currently is working on getting into other stores.

Vedder, a self-described “chronic crafter,” loves tackling new art projects.

“We’re always crafting, building and designing something at home,” says Vedder, who is the district operations manager at the Navy Exchange. “This was a way for us to channel our energies.”

It’s been about a year since they launched Altered Ink, and according to Vedder, “it’s growing every day.”

Part of that growth includes introducing more infant products, such as onesies with matching beanies, as well as a line of combination shirts for fathers and babies. The father-baby line includes, for example, a shirt for dad that says “Me” and a shirt for baby that says “Mini Me.” There are also the funny-because-it’s-true combos like, “I’ve Created A Monster” and “Monster,” and “Sleep Deprived” and “Sleep Depriver” for daddy and baby.

These designs, along with Altered Ink’s other lines and customizable looks, will be available at the New Baby Expo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17-18 at Neal Blaisdell Center. Look for them in booth #150.

“For the New Baby Expo, the focus is really on the mothers, so we wanted to focus on the fathers because you don’t see a lot of that,” Vedder explains.

Vedder and Aio may guide the creative process when working with clients on custom shirts, but in the end, they just want to make their clients happy.

“We keep the focus on what the customer wants and what they’re looking for,” Vedder says. “My favorite moment is when somebody looks at a design we have created and it evokes emotion.”

For more information about Altered Ink, visit facebook.com/homegrown-hawaiian or etsy.com/shop/alteredinkllc, or email alteredink@gmail.com.

coconnor@midweek.com

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