A Monthly Delivery That Shares Aloha

Anybody with local ties who has lived anywhere but Hawaii knows that, when you’re away, there are certain things you miss, whether it’s the beach, the food or just the feeling you get surrounded by your family and friends. That was the case for Anuhea Nakahara, a Kamehameha Schools graduate, and Mari Aipa, who grew up in Oregon but spent summers here visiting family.

“We both spent a lot of time away from Hawaii, so we know that whether you’re from here, whether you’re visiting here, whether you have friends from here, there is something about Hawaii that when you leave, you have a lasting connection,” explains Aipa.

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Mari Aipa (left) and Anuhea Nakahara, co-founders of My Aloha Post PHOTOS COURTESY MY ALOHA POST

It’s that connection that Aipa and Nakahara seek to extend to people with a love for Hawaii, no matter where they are, with their company My Aloha Post, which launched in November. My Aloha Post sends “Hawaii experiences straight to your doorstep,” as it says on the website, with boxes filled with local goods.

“It’s a way for people to have items from Hawaii with them at all times that remind them of home when they see them,” Aipa says.

Subscription-based, the boxes are mailed monthly. Subscribers can choose where to send it — to their child in college on the Mainland, to their parents who vacation in the Islands. Even people who live here have bought a subscription for themselves. (“Everybody likes presents every month, right?” Nakahara says with a laugh.)

Each box includes four or five items centered around a different theme — the first box, for example, was themed “aloha” and featured a pineapple clutch, li hing mui and shaka stickers — but the contents of each are a surprise. In curating content, Aipa and Nakahara draw upon their own experiences.

“(The boxes) are trying to ignite a special moment that you have had — whether it is exactly the same as ours or not,” Aipa says.

Aipa and Nakahara met while studying business at University of Redlands in California — and reconnected a few years later when they both ended up on Oahu. In My Aloha Post, their skills complement one another: Nakahara, a teacher by day, spends her free time crafting and also runs a home-goods accessory line, while Aipa’s day job is in marketing.

On a larger scale, the co-founders hope My Aloha Post can serve as a vehicle to help other local businesses. With its Hawaii-centric content, it’s only natural for My Aloha Post to buy local — and supporting and cultivating relationships with other island businesses is key for Aipa and Nakahara. With that goal in mind, My Aloha Post cross promotes its vendors via social media, and blogs about each of them.

Nakahara explains that their list of vendors is “constantly evolving. We want to try to give everybody a chance, and we want variety.

“We live in such an isolated place with so many people who are creators,” she adds. “We have a lot to offer here as a state.”

Coming up, My Aloha Post has plans to invite guests, including artists and musicians with local ties, to curate boxes.

“We want people to feel like — even if they are ordering one for themselves — that they are getting a box from Hawaii from their friends,” Aipa says. “Ultimately, if we are able to give somebody somewhere an opportunity to open a box and experience Hawaii from afar, and reconnect and have that special feeling, then I’ll consider us successful.”

A limited number of boxes are available each month. Subscriptions are for one, three, six or 12 months. Currently, My Aloha Post only ships in the U.S., but international shipping is in the works. For more information, to subscribe or to find out how to be a vendor with My Aloha Post, visit myalohapost.com. coconnor@midweek.com