Businesses that support their communities
These four companies have built their brands by going beyond business as usual, and their communities appreciate them for it
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A display at Pad Hawaii.
Photos: Courtesy Pad Hawaii
If you show them how to build it, they will come and learn. That was interior designer Lauren Makk’s thinking when she started home-design workshops at her Kakaako home-decor and furnishings boutique, Pad Hawaii. Plus, she needed a way to share the bottles of champagne left over from her grand opening.
You might recognize Makk from her appearances in 2007 and 2008 on TLC’s home makeover show, “Trading Spaces.” Makk says she always told friends she was going to open her own store, so she packed her bags, left the City of Angels and opened shop in Kakaako last August.
“I took a leap of faith,” she says with a laugh.
Makk and Pad Hawaii are now Kakaako institutions: She participates in the Night Market block party, as well as its monthly brunch and shopping event, the Saturday Morning Special. She moved the shop down the street in March into Island Terminal’s former R/D space.
“I’m so thankful to be a part of Kakaako. I now live in this neighborhood,” says the Oklahoma City native. “Hawaii is becoming an even more metropolitan city, and that includes its design options.”
Makk describes Pad Hawaii’s offerings as affordable luxury and says your home should reflect you and your style – a place where you want to come home. Inside the warehouselike store, you’ll find modern pieces and unique furnishings, including prints by local artists for $12 to $80, colorful bedding, rolling side tables for $80, shoe cabinets for $100, and desks and tables for less than $500. “Everything has multiple uses,” she says.
In addition to designing homes and selling furnishings, she shares her skills in do-it-yourself workshops. Makk says that in “After-Workshops,” participants pay $25 to $30 to make “Pinterest-worthy crafts” and drink (enter the leftover champagne). In past classes, people made hanging brass planters, fabric rugs, 3D string art, plastic-spoon pendant lamps, pillowcases and more. The classes help build confidence among first-time homeowners and offer solutions to spaced-challenged apartment dwellers, says Makk.
“They leave reinvigorated and they are making their homes better,” she says, “sometimes even by using things that would end up in the landfill.”
Taking it to the next level, she debuted Homeschool this past September, a six-hour carpentry class for $300, which includes materials and the use of tools. The first class, featuring “Trading Spaces” carpenter Brandon Russell, taught students how to make a shoe-storage bench. Hawaii carpenter Richie Breaux taught the second class, where beginner carpenters crafted outdoor armchair-and-ottoman sets. Makk says Homeschool “graduates” learn to feel comfortable using saws and power tools, even if they’ve never used them before. One student made the chair and ottoman for his girlfriend and proposed to her with it. “How cute is that?” gushes Makk.
Thanks to these workshops, Makk is building a community of savvy DIY-ers who are making houses into homes.
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