Hi I'm Kristine Ichikawa! Thank you for visiting the site and being interested in Kawaii Designs Hawaii. I have spent the last 13 years in the event business in one form or another and am so excited to share all the services that I am so passionate about!
I get asked all the time about the name of the company and told that I spelled Hawaii or Kauai wrong - don't worry there's a reason for this: One of the first Japanese words I remember learning was kawaii. It stood out to me because I was born and raised on the island of Kauai and the word sounded similar. Kawaii is the Japanese word for cute, adorable, pretty, etc. (You may have heard it a time or two when Gwen Stefani was in her harajuku girl phase) Kawaii is a little nod to my (half) Japanese heritage, this beautiful island I'm from and making every thing kawaii is my goal!
I started my photography business the second I turned 18 when I found out that I was unable to accept my offer to attend Brook's Photography Institute in Santa Barbara due to finances - Boo :( I dove in head first into teaching myself and taking hundreds of thousands of photographs and learning the hard way. By the time I was 21 photography was my full time job and I loved every second of it! Photography will always be my first love and everything I do is meant to be "picture perfect"!
As a kid my mom had me busy doing arts and crafts all the time, so when I was 25 I was eager to do something artistic that was a little more tangible than photography. I also was working part time in the food and beverage industry and fell in love - like for REAL - with delicious, beautifully presented food! At the time I lived in a studio with a single hot plate, microwave and toaster oven. I wasn't about to become a great chef. I watched the movie "Julie and Julia" and wanted to start a project like Julie did. I found a cupcake pan that fit in my toaster oven that held 6 cupcakes. This sparked an idea and from there I baked a different cupcake recipe every week for a year. Fast forward a couple years and I'm baking ALL the time - almost more often than photography! Making tiered cakes, cupcakes and having less and less "Julie and Julia" style meltdowns in the kitchen. I got my hands busy creating something tangible AND delicious :)
KAWAII DESIGNS HAWAII
From delivering cakes and cupcakes and being a wedding photographer I was at weddings ALL the time. How can you not like weddings? They're so pretty, everything looks amazing, food is phenomenal, desserts are incredible, everyone is happy! Between the ages of 25-30 it will seem like everyone you know is getting married! I started helping friends plan their weddings since I had made friends with other vendors and knew the ins and outs of what goes into making a wedding a success.
Event coordinating just seemed like the next step in my career. I was an assistant coordinator for a couple companies and had a blast helping a lot of couples with their big day.
I wanted to brand my business differently from all the others and decided on the following principles:
1. I want to make both the clients AND vendors happy at the end of the day. Vendors are who essentially make the wedding a success or a very expensive disaster. I only work with vendors I trust and respect 100%, who offer amazing services, and who are great to work with both during the planning process and in person at the event. As a vendor myself, I have realized that this is SUPER important for a successful event.
2. This is not just a job - this is someone's special day! It could be easy to think of this as "go in, get it done, get paid, done." but I know that this is a special time for you. My goal is to never lose sight of that fact.
3. The journey is just as important as the end result. It may seem outrageous that you could be spending $20,000+ on ONE day but it's the process and excitement that makes it all worth it. My job is to make the planning process fun and enjoyable! Hopefully it will even straighten your bond with your partner that much more!
4. Budgeting is different for everyone and usually is the least fun part about this whole process. I will make sure you're not wasting time, energy and money on details that aren't important. I try to streamline your ideas and make sure we fit in what's the most important. My vendors are worth every penny they ask for so I will make sure you get quality products and service.
I can't imagine doing just one job anymore! I really like having the variety of my work to keep everything exciting. I'm always looking at new ideas and upcoming trends! So if you don't have any idea, I do! Or if you have an idea, I have a bunch of suggestions to help make it the best it can be!
When I'm not frosting a cake, focusing a camera or designing an event, I can be found
...at the beach with my fur-babies, Kyle and Charlie
...decorating my first home (my favorite shopping has gone from Nordstrom to Williams Sonoma and Home Depot)
...drinking matcha soy lattes and A LOT of sparkling water
...adventuring with my boyfriend, Bryan
Follow us all in real time on Instagram @kawaiidesignshawaii