When I did my first clothing collection, we already knew that we would showcase a customer fave print of Lei Hulu (feather lei) in the collection. But I decided to take one piece
of feather from that lei print and make it into a pattern I call “First Cut”. You see awhile ago, my Kumu Hula tasked us with creating our first Lei Hulu for hula. So I brought my bag of feathers down to Aunty Paulette Kahalepuna’s shop on Kapahulu, all of my feather ready and prepped, cut into the “first cuts” of the feather, which is then used to make the lei. Here I was thinking, we’ll I’m crafty, I’ll be in and out of here in no time! But as I was going through the process, I was struggling, my feathers were going every which way, spaces and gaps riddled my lei. I was so frustrated. So my hula sister, Kau’i Ontai, looks and me and says “Ke, just keep going”....and so I did. Finished that lei Hulu, perfectly imperfect, with all of my hard work and good mana weaved into it. I was so proud of being able to do that beautiful lei Hulu myself.
I use that story as an analogy to the story of Kahulale’a. Many people only see the beautiful product in the end, that beautiful Lei Hulu. But to get to that, you have to start somewhere, with those little Lei Hulu’s, those little bits and pieces that one day you can weave into something beautiful. And along the way, we all need someone to cheer us on, to believe in us, to tell us again and again “Just Keep Going.....”