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"...like visiting the eclectic home of a well-travelled friend."

Jun 15, 2015

In the Spotlight: Red Pineapple

Filled with everything from a range of greeting cards to pocket notebooks, small zipper pouches to canvas tote bags, animal plushies, organic honey and jellies, homeware ceramics, a variety of soaps, lotions, candles, and more, Red Pineapple at Ward Centre is overflowing with items for the home, gifts for loved ones, and the perfect destination to find "that item" that you can't find anywhere else. It's exactly what owner Nalani Holliday hoped it would become.

"Every little town in America has a store like this," says Holliday. "The one that you can go into for a birthday card, or a going away present, or something for a baby shower; just the perfect little thing."

With over 5,000 different products arranged on shelves, stands, and displays throughout the store, a visit to Red Pineapple feels less like a shopping experience and more like visiting the eclectic home of a well-travelled friend. Despite the large number of items and customer favorites, Holliday maintains a 20% rotation on products, so there's always something new and fresh to find. Red Pineapple is an adventure, with new discoveries available upon each return. And for Holliday, part of the journey has been to discover the shop itself.

Before Red Pineapple, Holliday ran a cookie manufacturing business in Kalihi, providing oatmeal and chocolate chip treats to shops and airlines for resale or giveaways. At one point, she was interested in acquiring a welcome basket company to offer in conjunction with the cookies, but the deal fell apart. Holliday had already proven herself an astute businesswoman; her husband suggested, why not start her own gift basket company?

So she did. And what began as offering small baskets filled with snacks and food items developed into having a store that showcased the basket items for customers who wanted to create a custom gift set.

"I started with having a little of everything [in the shop], and it turned into a lot of everything," laughs Holliday. "And it grew from food to all sorts of items. I always feel like if I like something, other people often like it too; I want to share it with them."

Holliday's finds come from what inspires her; what she sees in boutique stores and markets from travels around the world, interior decorating magazines, recommendations from friends, and beyond.

"I'm passionate about items that have a history." Holliday says. "It's not about just selling people products, it's about sharing a story."

Where does this object come from? Who made it, and how? These questions are important because these items are oftentimes purchased as important gifts for others. Holliday's customers are shopping for baby showers, for weddings and graduations. One visitor entered Red Pineapple looking for a gift for a woman with breast cancer, and they didn't want to get the wrong present.

"I almost just want to give someone a hug and say, let's find the right thing together." Holliday says. "The people who come into the store are my favorite part of the job. The items in the shop are so people oriented, so it's about starting a dialogue and helping to find out what's best. After all, what would you get a best friend?"

Perhaps a big cuddly throw pillow that has "best day ever" embroidered on? Or a 2016 calendar that says "I Am Very Busy" across the front?

Holliday listens to the requests of her customers, and is constantly bringing in new items based on popularity. After Borders closed a few years ago, Holliday began offering more books. Same too with cards. The hot thing now for Holliday are gift baskets; funny to note considering everything began inspired by baskets, but they're particularly in season. With Red Pineapple having more products now than ever, it's the best time to build your own basket for a recent grad, birthday celebration, anniversary, or otherwise.

"When I first started Red Pineapple I wondered, what do I do when the thrill wears off? But ten years later, it hasn't. Every day, I'm excited to come into work; to look for new products, talk to customers, and continue to grow," says Holliday. "As a retail location, our biggest competitor is the Internet. But when people come into the store, they see our stationary and feel it, or they smell a candle, and they can't have that experience on a computer. It's about being here for the customer."

Find Red Pineapple at Ward Centre, and online at www.redpineapple.net

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Red Pineapple

1200 Ala Moana Blvd

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