Maui mom turns her style into an indie design career
By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Paula Rath
When Andrea Akeo was single and carefree (and still known as Andrea Wicklund), she worked in the high-powered world of advertising and visual merchandising. An original member of The Advertiser's fashion forum, the Moanalua High School and BYU-Hawai'i grad would arrive for meetings breathless and wearing stylish, trendy clothes and fabulous accessories.
Channeling her creative side, Akeo launched Pixie Petals, a line of hair accessories that sold well at T&C surf shops and boutiques such as Silver Moon Emporium on the North Shore.
Then she married Ladd Akeo, the Kamehameha football standout who went on to play for BYU Provo, winning the 1984 national championship.
Akeo was soon pregnant, and her life changed radically. A stint in Utah and Idaho (where Akeo snowboarded) was followed by a move to Kula, Maui. By then, the Akeos had two children, La'akea, now 5, and Anuhea, 4. When a third child, Nainoa, now 2, was an infant, Akeo missed the creative outlet she had had with Pixie Petals and sought something she could do while staying home with her children.
The result: Golden Child Jewelry, a sexy, sassy jewelry line that's beginning to take off on Maui and O'ahu. The big, bold pieces are characterized by unusual pairings such as coral and bone, feathers and leather, and shells and teensy kimono. Prices range from $20 to $400.
Akeo's penchant for using semi-precious stones led her to create LA ANUmaui, a sister jewelry line that features tiny stones in dainty settings, priced from $20 to $100.
While the keiki are napping or at preschool, Akeo also stitches madly, making her Kula Cushions line of spa products.
Kula Cushions began with a single item, eye pillows ($23 to $28) made with colorful Chinese brocades and filled with Maui lavender. Now Akeo has added "petite sachets" with little Swarovski crystal or golden tassel details ($16 to $23). The item works well for wedding guest books or coffee-table books, Akeo said. The most recent addition to the line is a neck pillow or neck roll ($48) that can be heated up and placed under tense muscles to relieve the neck and shoulders, something the mother of three keiki under age 5 should know something about.
Akeo's new Web site will offer online shopping starting Monday. In the meantime, Golden Child and her three golden children are keeping the Maui mom quite busy.
Reach Paula Rath at firstname.lastname@example.org.