“It’s really indicative about the lush environment the exotic nature of Hawaii,” the brand’s CMO, Kerry Konrady, exclusively tells FN. “That’s really the inspiration here, is just taking a glimmer of that Hawaiian lifestyle and trying to showcase that through what we do best, which is high quality, comfortable footwear.”
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Indeed, OluKai’s colorful “Fruit Stand” line takes direct inspiration from tropical fruits seen on the islands of Maui, Kaua’i, Hawai’i Island and O’ahu. Sales from the men’s and women’s styles will support its Ama OluKai Foundation, which — in addition to raising over $1 million in relief for this year’s Maui wildfires — aims to preserve Hawaiian culture, communities and island environments. Other new developments have also included a brand-new logo, featuring a thicker font and curved hook symbol to represent OluKai’s aesthetic in a modern way.
“What we haven’t delivered yet to the public is some work that goes deeper than that, in terms of what the brand means, its positioning and our commitment to values,” said Konrady, “and some really cool stuff that we’re really excited about to start launching in combination with the cool products out there.”
Hawaiian culture is core to OluKai’s collections and styles, which Konrady attributes to the international importance of humanity.
“It definitely starts with the aloha spirit, and the simple translation for [aloha] is a lot of love without expectation,” Konrady says. “It’s a great deep and meaningful concept, culture, and we’ve adopted that as one of our core values of the company. When you think about ‘aloha,’ it’s really a Hawaiian term. But it means humanity, and you can really find humanity, the human values anywhere.”
As OluKai continues its brand expansion, the label is preparing for a productive 2024. In the coming months, the Hawaiian brand’s followers and consumers can anticipate a range of new developments — including new golfing styles and a modern approach to retail.
“We have a ton of new products we’ve launched in the golfing category, which is an extension of the brand,” Konrady says. “And coming out of [COVID], we’ve recognized that need to balance the direct-to-consumer relationship with a wholesale relationship. Out of the feedback we get across all of those inputs, we’re able to really inform this next generation product.”
This interview was conducted by Charlie Carballo, with additional transcriptions by Aaron Royce.
About the Author:
Aaron Royce is the Digital Editor for Footwear News, where he writes stories on trending news, celebrity style, collaborations and in-depth profile interviews. Prior to joining Footwear News, Aaron wrote for publications including PAPER, Grazia and the Daily Front Row. He currently holds a B.S. in mass communications from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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