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Fun fact: International Women’s Day (IWD) was honored for the first time in 1911 when more than one million women and men attended IWD rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland to campaign for women’s rights to work, vote, hold public office and end discrimination.

Today, IWD is a global movement celebrated on March 8 and powered by the collective efforts of all, from conferences, rallies and networking activities to local events that celebrate the achievements of women, support gender equality and help ensure a bright and rewarding future for girls.

As IWD marks its 110th anniversary, we proudly hold our hands up high and recognize the more than 50 women-owned companies – most of them small businesses – that make Kailua Town a diverse and vibrant community. We introduce some of them below, and invite you to join the movement by supporting these women-owned businesses, too!

Plus, check out Kailua Town’s IWD social media giveaway, March 8, featuring a prize package from three women-owned businesses: Bikini Bird, Island Bungalow and Under a Hula Moon.

Aloha Salads and Paniolos. First came Aloha Salads in 2006, with owners Sara Lufrano and her husband Chris sharing a commitment to serve healthy, fresh, locally grown food at affordable prices. Eight years later, Paniolos rode into Kailua Town – a build-your-own taco, burrito and bowls eatery opened by Sara and Tamara Valdivia with the same promise of fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers and ranchers. Located side by side in Kailua Shopping Center, the popular restaurants have opened locations across Oahu, but their roots remain in Kailua.

Crepes No Ka ‘Oi.  Kakay Tarvyd and her husband Chris have honed the art of the crepe since opening Oahu’s first gourmet creperie, in Kailua, in 2008. At last count, the menu boasted 31 varieties of sweet, savory and breakfast crepes, plus more than a dozen kinds of gourmet loose-leaf teas, coffee beverages, beer and wine.

Fighting Eel. Versatile and comfortable. Uncomplicated yet sexy. For nearly 20 years, co-owners and designers Rona Bennett and Lan Chung have been on trend with each new collection of their Hawaii-made women’s apparel.  

Kailua Moon Boutique. New inventory of season-specific dresses, separates and accessories arrives almost daily, and in limited quantities. That’s by design. From sophisticated and edgy pieces to casual chic, co-partners Kathy Keller and Pam Miller-Sofos want to ensure their customers enjoy their own exclusive look.

That Barn Hawaii. Tucked away off Hekili Street’s main pedestrian corridor, Krimsen Poki and her husband Kekoa’s “farm shop” has received rave reviews for its custom-made floral arrangements and lei as well as seasonal food products, from kulolo to fruit preserves made from the bounty of the family farm. The shop also showcases the work of local artisans: lauhala hats, jewelry and home accessories.

Ocean’s End. Vegan leatherhandbags, designed by company founder Dani Gosiaco, are the core of this Hawaii-made brand “for the women with sass and class.”

Saeng’s Thai Cuisine. Since 1989, Joanne and Tony Douangphoumy’s have earned a devoted following with Saeng’s authentic Thai fare and house specialties, many of which are family recipes passed down from Joanne’s mother, “Chef” Pat.

Calvin & Susie. Dog-lovers will find a healthy dose of retail therapy at Alli Kim-Yamane’s cozy shop stocked with toys and beds, Hawaiian-print apparel, collars other accessories for your favorite pooch. The shop also boasts one of the state’s largest selections of premium pet foods, including Calvin & Susie’s own line of Hawaii-made treats – all made with good, clean ingredients. 

Click here for a list of other women-owned businesses in Kailua Town.