May 02, 2016
Sedona: A Unique Place to Find Yourself
For nearly three decades, Sedona has been a mainstay of the Ward Village community, a unique retail destination where customers can get lost amid the eclectic merchandise and potentially find themselves. When Malia Johnson, the store's founder, first opened the shop 28 years ago, she had plenty of experience working in the fashion industry behind her, bouncing between Los Angeles, New York, Milan, Paris, and Tokyo as a buyer and managing up to 16 stores. But when the opportunity arose to leave that career behind and focus on a new beginning back home on O'ahu, Malia leapt at the opportunity to create a space that was unlike anything else, a place where customers could embrace everything from metaphysical elements like psychic readings to hard-to-find jewelry items and children's books.
"We like to say that Sedona is a 'unique place to find yourself,'" says Malia with cheer. "We're a positive-lifestyle store and take a lot of pride in the way we do business. For nearly 30 years, we've been giving our customers an opportunity to explore things that they won't find anywhere else. That can range from metaphysical items and gems to aroma therapy. But we also offer so much more, like organic makeup and books and jewelry from local designers. It's really easy to come into Sedona and spend hours perusing through the store. We love to see customers open up themselves to new things here!"
Many of the items you'll find at Sedona can't be found anywhere else on the island, and that's because of the positive relationship that she and her employees build with vendors. In the retail world, exclusivity of a fashionable line can be hard to come by. But for the team at Sedona, they've found that by championing small businesses and fostering relationships with brands from their infancy, they're able to grow together and inspire each other. When the time comes to discuss exclusivity, it's often an easy conversation. "Our mission is to support people who are making things on their own. We feel good about supporting them when their line is just getting started and they love that support. We feel like they become a part of our family and, because of that, we're able to carry lines that no one else has in Hawai'i."
In addition to the hard-to-find jewelry, candles, Feng Shui items, rare stones and thousands of other pieces, Sedona is renowned for their metaphysical offerings, which include psychic readings and an array of classes that include teachings on henna body art and aromatherapy to name just a few. "We love our classes. They've been a part of who we are since the beginning and are a part of what makes us special," adds Malia. "There's always something going on here at Sedona and I think that's why our customers keep returning. As a matter of fact, we have some customers who used to come in the store as kids. Now they're bringing their children in as customers. It's really wonderful to see that the appeal of Sedona can cross generations."
So how does a storefront that's practically become a retail institution continue to grow in the coming years? They go online, of course. "Social media has helped us to connect Sedona to people all over the world. We've already developed a strong presence online and have customers from all over the world. With social media, we can instantly highlight new happenings in our store and receive instant feedback. It can be a lot of work, but we're talking to the entire world now. And that's pretty amazing!"
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