Eco-luxe Activewear Brand, Lilikoi Wear, and the Love Story Behind It
By M the Writer
January Barros met her husband and future business partner Rodrigo hitchhiking one morning in Kona. Rodrigo, a Brazilian expat from São Paulo, was on his way to helicopter pilot school at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport when he spotted her on the side of Ka’iminani Street, thumb outstretched. She had recently moved back to Kona from the mainland and was trying to get to the Honokohau Harbor to go sailing. He had just landed on the island a few months prior, to earn his U.S. helicopter pilot’s license and he spoke very broken English.
“Live Passionately” is the motto behind the couple’s popular activewear brand - Lilikoi Wear - so it’s only fitting that their business starts with a love story. After their chance meeting in 2014, the pair fell fast and tied the knot in 2015. Both entrepreneurs at heart, Rodrigo grew up working in his family’s event management business, and later built and sold a successful pet accessories company in Brazil. January has always had a love for fashion, designing, creating, and selling custom handbags, hats and hairpieces. After getting married, starting a business together seemed like the next logical step. They founded Lilikoi Wear in January 2016, seeing an opportunity in the women’s activewear market.
Characterized by bright, limited edition prints and inspired by the colorful culture of Rodrigo’s native Brazil and the Hawaiian Islands, Lilikoi Wear offers high-end activewear made with a new generation of “intelligent yarns” that support the wellbeing of the wearer and the planet.
“Our goal is to create a positive impact,” says January.
“To help women feel powerful and beautiful when they put on their Lilikoi Wear, and for that garment to be at the cutting edge of social and environmental responsibility, while also protecting the wearer from the harmful rays of the sun.”
Lilikoi Wear fabric is made from the first synthetic fiber that is fully biodegradable. Knit from a blend of polyamide nylon and elastane spandex, it’s able to break down in landfill conditions within three years. Additional benefits to the wearer include UV protection rated UPF50+ (blocking 99-100% UVA/B rays), highly breathable, sweat-wicking, quick-drying, odor-resistant, and anti-microbial. It’s also luxuriously soft!
Basically, Lilikoi Wear is about as close to a superwoman suit as you can get. Which is why, naturally, January and Rodrigo will have a pop-up shop for Ironman week, right next to Big Island Running Company in Coconut Grove Marketplace, October 9th - 12th from 9 am to 7 pm, and Saturday, October 13th, from 9 am to 3 pm. Lilikoi Wear can also be found locally at Beaches Resort Wear in Kona, Polynesian Paddling Products in the Costco industrial area, Bike Works Beach and Sports in the Waikoloa Queens Shops, and at the Lucky Cat Boutique in Kainaliu. They are currently looking to partner with more stockists across the Hawaiian islands, and on the mainland in California and Florida.
What’s next for Lilikoi Wear? The couple just launched their online store - Lilikoishop.com - this week, opening doors for national and international sales. They plan to expand into a men’s line in the future. They are also seeking to connect with social media brand influencers and models who would like to help showcase upcoming collections, and share the “Live Passionately” brand message.
So, what does “Live Passionately” mean? Rodrigo distills it down to a simple but powerful four words.
“Do what you love.”
M the Writer
Is a content writer based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She uses the power of words to help entrepreneurs reach their dream clients by telling their story in a creative way. She offers content writing for websites, landing pages, blog posts, as well as editing and proofreading services. She loves working with people in Hawaii and around the world. Need help telling your story? Contact her at email@example.com.