WHY WE STARTED
MAD ABOUT MERINO AMIDST THE 2020 PANDEMIC
Martina together with her husband Mike Hough, have been co-owners and operators of Kauai Island Weddings, one of Hawaii's premier full service wedding companies, proudly serving the Island of Kauai for the last 20 years. Over the years the wedding business grew to become Kauai's busiest wedding company officiating between 300 and 350 weddings annually.
All this changed when the 2020 Global Pandemic hit and Hawaii imposed a mandatory 14 day Quarantine for all visitors arriving from the mainland. This quarantine was supposed to only last a few weeks, but who would have imagined that our elected officials would be able to continue keeping visitors successfully out of Hawaii until April 15, 2021, over a year later, when travelers could again enter the state with a negative COVID test.
Here we were 13 months, and about 300 wedding cancellations later. Day to day operations of our wedding company became a struggle, and just getting out of bed in the morning was difficult. Our life had completely changed, nothing was as it aught to be, and we had to reassess our company and our finances. Obtaining a PPP loan when they were first offered kept payroll afloat for two months, but after that we had to scale back operations to only provide a skeleton crew of one absolutely necessary staff member.
Life became so uncertain as we had no guidance from our State officials as to when visitors would be allowed to freely travel to Hawaii again. Mandates changed several times a month, many of them making no sense and feeling completely arbitrary. Overnight it seems the Pandemic had turned our successful business into a bookkeeping nightmare, as with each pushing back of the reopening of the State, heaps of cancellations would come pouring in making our business future & life ever more uncertain.
A couple of months into the Pandemic Martina realized that she had no power, no control over the situation whatsoever. And she realized then that in order to keep her sanity she had to let go and focus her energy and talents on something that she could control. Gathering her courage she invested most of her personal savings into the creation of a new merino wool fashion label, something that was very dear to her heart.
Falling in love with merino wool clothing on a trip to Australia, where most of the planet's merino wool is grown and harvested, Martina had changed her complete wardrobe to merino fashions within a couple of years. It's such a fantastic fabric, it's hard working, it's forgiving, and it's so easy to take care of. It's completely natural, sustainable, naturally fire retardant, UV protectant, temperature regulating, and just feels delicious on your skin. ...
Martina set out to source the wool, find a wonderfull knitting factory, and sewing facilities, and started designing her products and getting them made. Then she decided to include merino wool felt hats into her range as they complimented her merino fashions perfectly, deciding on designs and also having those produced. Next was the website design and production, and product & model photography, all of which she also completely handled by herself. In order to show her products on real women she chose to model her clothing line herself with the help of her daughter in law and son, presenting Mad About Merino to a generation of Millennials.
Spending her savings was a scary prospect especially in the looming economic aftermath of the Pandemic, but Martina reasoned that if she loved merino wool as much as she did, there must be others out there who would appreciate it just as much...she just had to find them, and establish her customer base.
Working diligently from September through November of 2020, Mad About Merino produced their first order of ponchos, scarves, shawls, cardigan wraps, and wool felt hats in a variety of colors. As a start up business we are still trying to find our customer base, so we would love it if you'd tell your family and friends about us, or anyone really who you think would find delight in our products.
For anyone who would like to carry "Mad About Merino" in their stores please contact Martina