When Maui County’s largest products show, the 2nd Annual Made in Maui County Festival, opens to the public on November 6 and 7, 2015 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, the event will boast a larger format with more products, more vendors, more food trucks, and more reasons to buy local.
This week, the Festival announced the final list of vendors who will be participating in this upcoming event. In total, nearly 150 product vendors and food trucks are confirmed, over 40 of which are new to the event.
Last year, the inaugural event attracted over 9,500 visitors and residents and 130 vendors participated. Vendors reported over $300,000 in product sales transactions, over 180 new accounts and wholesale orders closed, and over 1,000 leads for future sales and wholesale accounts generated. This year, the Festival is focused on expanding the event’s impact.
“Improving the business environment in Maui County is important to us, and this Festival has been very successful at doing just that,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa. “It was a great success last year and it is poised to be an even bigger event this year. It’s all part of our efforts to strengthen and diversify our local economy and I encourage everyone to stop by and check out all of our vendors.”
“This Festival is more than an annual event – it’s all about creating opportunities for our small businesses here at home,” said Teena Rasmussen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. “In an effort to accommodate more shoppers this year, we’ve expanded the show to include additional vendors. We also opened the Festival for the first time to the general public on Friday with our Shoppers Preview. Not only will these efforts provide vendors with additional opportunities to promote their products to potential consumers, but it will also help them to connect with potential wholesale and retailer buyers.”
“Prior to the 2014 Made in Maui County Festival, our chili pepper water was sold in approximately 28 stores on Maui and Lanai and I worked full-time at another business to make ends meet,” said Michelle Jones, Two Chicks In A Hammock co-owner. “After the exposure we received at last year’s Festival, our products are now carried in 128 stores statewide including one store in Canada and we picked up a distributor. I now work full-time on the business. The Made in Maui County Festival gave us the kick-start we needed to grow our company.”
Companies like Matsumoto Studio were also able to showcase their notecards and stationery to new wholesale clients at the Festival. Their products are now sold in T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods.
"The Made in Maui County Festival was not only an absolute success in direct sales and revenue for the day, it was also a fantastic opportunity to bring more brand awareness for our products which allowed us to connect with new and existing customers, and helped us establish further credibility that we are truly a made in Hawaii product,” said Shaun Bayles, co-owner of Chic Naturals.
While the business side of the event is one that Festival organizers are taking seriously, the general public can expect some serious shopping with a wide variety of products offered for sale.
The Shoppers Preview on Friday, November 6th, from 2 pm to 6 pm will give shoppers a one-day head start. Attendees will also enjoy the Festival’s opening ceremonies and VIP reception. Only 500 tickets will be sold to the general public for Friday’s event. Tickets are $35 per person and are available at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Box Office or (808) 242-SHOW (7469) or MauiArts.org.
On Saturday, November 7th, the Made in Maui County Festival will be open from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Public admission is $5 (at the gate), children 12 and under are free. Saturday’s festivities will include demonstrations, a fashion show, food trucks, and prize drawings. The first 2,000 attendees will receive a free Festival tote bag.
“The 2014 event reaffirmed what we already knew, that there is a tremendous demand for made in Hawaii products produced by Maui County businesses,” said Pamela Tumpap, President of the Maui Chamber of Commerce. “Those who attend this year’s event are in for a real treat with the opportunity to shop for a myriad of products produced by talented entrepreneurs. Best of all, you’ll be helping to grow these businesses while investing in our islands’ economy.”