Fall 2015
Paradise Found By Julie McCallum

Getting sweet on retail in the Sugarcane Shop

Locally made Pieces of Me decorative pillows are a best seller for Sugarcane Shop.
Locally made Pieces of Me decorative pillows are a best seller for Sugarcane Shop.

Funky, fun, beachy and hip – those are all words to describe the cozy little space called Sugarcane Shop in Honolulu, Hawaii. Selling furniture, home accents, locally made home items, jewelry and gifts, the shop features new and vintage conservation-minded items.

Jill Hatch-Fong has owned the shop for four years. She moved to Hawaii eight years ago from Los Angeles, leaving behind a job as an interior designer. “Hawaii was the last place that I ever saw myself ending up. After getting tired of the traffic and fast-paced lifestyle in LA, we packed up and moved to Honolulu,” she said.

When her four children were all in school, Hatch-Fong decided she was ready to get back to work and needed something where she could interact with people, be creative and be close to home. When a local shop near her home came up for sale, she jumped at the opportunity.

“On July 1, 2011, I took over the shop and have never looked back,” said Hatch-Fong. “It has changed my life in more ways than I can count and has made me feel even more like I am an important part of this paradise,” she added.

The Sugarcane Shop product mix is 95 percent made in Hawaii.
The Sugarcane Shop product mix is 95 percent made in Hawaii.

Hatch-Fong recently spoke with Gift Shop about running her little shop in paradise and what makes it unique.

GS: How would you describe the shopping culture in your area?

H-F: Hawaii in general is all about the local culture — more than any other place that I’ve even been or know about. Their love of these islands is evident everywhere — the music, the food, the clothing and jewelry and the art. I am astounded at the talent that comes out of these tiny islands and I consider myself so lucky to be a part of all of that.

GS: Tell us about your product mix.

H-F: My shop definitely caters to the local culture by selling 95 percent Made in Hawaii products. We sell everything from housewares and home décor to children’s and baby items, books, accessories, stationery and island-inspired gifts. Items in the shop range from just a few dollars to a hundred or so. We try to keep our price point pretty low and most items average around $25-$40.

GS: How do you describe the style of your shop?

H-F: Having a design background, merchandising the shop is definitely one of my favorite things. I’d say the shop has the look and feel of a beach cottage — I love white with pops of color and the interior of the shop shows that. I also love to bring the outdoors in whenever I can. I have 26 windows in the shop so we are looking out at the mountains, the sky and the trees all day long. I love incorporating flowers, wood items and anything else that has an outdoor island feel into the mix at the shop. I know it sounds like a broken record but I am most inspired by the islands and their beauty.

My Manoa charcoal soaps retail for $14.
My Manoa charcoal soaps retail for $14.

GS: What is the busiest shopping season for you?

H-F: We are pretty busy year round as we get business from both the locals as well as tourists. We definitely have a peak during the holidays and in the summertime.

GS: How many employees do you have?

H-F: The shop is mostly run by myself and my 20-year-old daughter, Kennedy. I am lucky to have another employee, Sabine, that helps out when we travel as a family and a few days each week to give us each a day off … together.

GS: What makes your shop special?

While there are dozens of darling shops and boutiques located throughout Hawaii, I think we are different because we really are the only shop of our kind that carries so many locally produced items. We even source all of our service providers from local companies, have our business cards and stationery designed and printed locally and even our bags and packaging come from a small locally owned family business. I’m all about supporting each other and building each other up.


Julie McCallum

Julie McCallum is editor-in-chief of Gift Shop Magazine. She is formerly the editor of Museums & More and has more than 25 years experience in publishing.

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