Who knew a few childhood favorites would become such an integral part in Ali McMahon’s life. A favorite food, favorite color and a dream to one day have her own boutique came together when she opened Olive Boutique in her hometown of Kailua a few years ago.Ali McMahon’s childhood dream come true, nestled in the heart of Kailua.
Splashes of olive green give the little store a nice accent that’s still subtle enough to fit in with the industrial side street it calls home. Inside, customers vibe off the casual chic atmosphere and clothing that’s inspired by a beach lifestyle.
“Most of what we carry is more classic than trendy,” 34-year-old Ali explains. “It’s a bit more spendy, but something you will wear for years rather than months.”
Olive offers a nice blend of local and mainland stuff. Hanky Panky, Rosebud Salve and Dolce Vita Shoes have made a name for themselves across the continental U.S. and now find a home in the islands at this Kailua boutique. But what I admire most is Ali’s continued support for local up-and-coming designers, all women who create a feminine atmosphere that’s alive with creativity.
(Left) Sunrise shell necklace handmade by Indi Ocean Designs. (Right) Wanko Wanko scarves made out of recycled T-shirts.
“I love being able to carry all the local jewelry I do and watching these designers grow as I do,” Ali explains proudly. She admits that she’s done a lot growing since opening Olive three years ago, when the economy was at its rockiest.
The Kailua native knew fashion and store/window display; in fact, she went to school in Seattle for it and worked in the fashion biz since 2000 as a visual merchandiser for Banana Republic, Escada, St. John, Gucci, Chanel and North Face. Today, she continues to do some visual merchandising with Gucci and Escada in Hawaii. But running a business of her own was an entirely new endeavor for Ali, one which she started with the utmost optimism.
“My motto was that it was a good time for me to open,” she said. “As long as I could sustain through the hard times, it could only get better.”
And it has. The boutique just celebrated its third birthday, bringing together everyone who’s supported Olive along the way. Even her fiance gets involved, making all the reclaimed wood frames and displays in the store. Guy, her pet chihuahua, makes for a good model (or at least one of the many cute aspects in her photos) when it comes to showing off the latest and greatest in stock.(Left) Guy swooning the ladies at Olive. (Right) Cute vintage cards for all occasions.
Even with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Olive still manages to give back to the community by feeding the homeless and donating to a pancreatic cancer research center. In 10 years, Ali hopes to expand into a store that offers more lifestyle options for their devout customers with a lot more clothing and home accessories. Best of luck to Ali and the Olive ohana!
OLIVE BOUTIQUE • Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm • 43 Kihapai Street, Kailua, Hawaii 96734 • 808-263-9919 • www.iheartolive.com • Metered parking available; Near bus stop
Photo Credit: Olive Boutique
Posted by: Bruce Fisher