(From FrolicHawaii.com 3/31/2015) – Amanda Stevens
Some people are born with that adventurer gene, you know the type – can’t sit still for long, and they light up when they talk about hiking, surfing, and traveling to Tahiti. One of them is Jake Mizuno, co-owner of Milo HNL, a new lifestyle boutique that opened at Kahala Mall. First things I noticed were the cool orange fireplace at the entrance, the massive vintage spotlight and the French radio station playing over the sound system. Not your typical surf shop.
I interviewed Mizuno in the new space. He, his wife Asia and I vibed – maybe because we all went to high school on Hawaii Island.
Okay, let’s start with the name of your store.
The name pays tribute to the milo tree (Pacific rosewood), resilient against wind and salt spray, and considered a sacred tree by early Hawaiians. That’s juxtaposed against HNL, a nod toward the modern airport where journeys start and end.
Your store has a definite masculine adventurer vibe, how is it different from your other stores?
My business partner Shyrah Maurer and I also run Quiksilver Board Room and Up & Riding stores at Kahala Mall. But Milo HNL is different. It offers clothes and accessories for men and women who embrace the idea that life is the journey, not the destination. Think of it as a style, travel and surf boutique. You’ll find tanks, board shorts, bikinis, hats, casual dresses, board bags, surf accessories, books and other gift items from brands like Patagonia, Deus, Mucho Aloha, Raen eyewear, Plate Lunch, What Youth, Brixton, Dakine, Apolis, Drifter, Quiksilver Modern Original and more.
Speaking of brands, what are some of your local brands?
We are always on the hunt for new creative talent and local brands, and our retail mix will change from time to time. Right now, we carry Milo-branded items, Plate Lunch tees and hats and Dakine clothes and accessories. By the way, Plate Lunch founders are the sons of the Dakine founders.
What’s next for Milo HNL, perhaps a Milo in Hilo?
I don’t know about Hilo, but we are opening a store in Kakaako real soon, that will be our flagship store. My longtime friend Kelly Slater is launching his new apparel line Outerknown this summer, catering to men and to women. We have been talking from the creation stage of the brand and it will be available in July. Milo HNL will be the first to carry Slater’s line in Hawaii.