KAPA‘A — After only two years in business, Kilauea Fine Jewelry is bringing its diamonds, gems and pearls to Kapa‘a Town as it opens up a second location on Kaua‘i’s east side.
Jewelry is not new to mother and daughter co-owners Karen Friend and Tiffany Freepartner, nor co-owner Nicky Boyer. Friend and Freepartner have been in the business since Freepartner was a child, and the two first met Boyer after they began working together under another jeweler on Kaua‘i.
This situation would not last forever, however, as the jeweler went out of business after more than a decade of service, leaving the trio looking for new work.
At the same time, Friend and Freepartner received word that new storefront space was opening up in Kilauea. Suddenly, they had a plan.
“We’ve always talked about doing our own thing,” Freepartner said. “And when we heard about ‘Ahuimanu Shopping Center being built, we just thought, ‘Wow there’s not a lot of jewelers on island, especially on the North Shore.’ And I thought it would be a really nice location — we like the vibe of Kilauea, it has a nice mix of residents and visitors. That’s how the idea had started.”
Boyer — who had found work elsewhere — told the two that it wasn’t the right time for her take on such a significant business venture, so the mother and daughter duo went it alone, securing a storefront at ‘Ahuimanu in 2019.
Unfortunately for them, their planned opening date was in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to take hold.
“Because we had already invested all of our money and taken out business loans and bought all the jewelry — you know, got everything ready — the COVID hit kind of put us in a place where we weren’t sure if we were still going to be able to move forward with opening the store,” Freepartner said.
To avoid losing everything they had just built before the store even opened, the two made one final attempt at enticing Boyer into joining the business.
“We re-approached Nicky at that point, because she was no longer working where she had been at because of COVID,” Freepartner said. “She was like, ‘You know what? I would love to be your partner — the timing is perfect for me now.’ She believed in the business plan and is passionate about the industry, and so she kind of saved us.”
Kilauea Fine Jewelry finally opened its doors on June 1, 2021, and has been rolling ever since — selling rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets for North Shore patrons.
Since its founding, each co-owner has found their own strengths in the business, allowing the trio to run every aspect of operations smoothly.
“I do more of the jewelry design and the marketing,” she said. “Nicky really oversees our vendors, our books our office management — bookkeeping and all that. And then Karen is really our lead sales. She’s the sales rock star … So the three of us together, it’s kind of like a perfect team.”
While each co-owner has their own niche, there’s one thing that they all share in common — motherhood. Freepartner told The Garden Island that shared bond has driven their work since the beginning.
“My hope and goal is for them to see mommy doing something she loves, something that I’m passionate about,” she said.
“I know that will make an impact on them as they grow up and they choose career paths — like, ‘Well, I want to do something that I love, like my mommy does, and not just settle for any random job because I need a job.’ I want them to really go after their goals and be passionate about it, and love what they do.”
With only about two years of business thus far, the Kilauea Fine Jewelry’s owners had planned on limiting their business to just one storefront for a little while longer to better establish their brand.
However, when they discovered this year that longtime jeweler Jim Saylor was retiring, the trio immediately jumped at the opportunity to lease his Old Kapa‘a Town storefront.
“We kind of knew we had to,” Freeperson said. “It might not have been the perfect timing in our timeline, but it was an opportunity that we felt was worth taking the leap and going for it. It happened quickly, because Jim wanted to retire quickly, and so we really, really quickly worked it out and negotiated the terms, and we’ve been going full-speed ever since.”
Kilauea Fine Jewelry’s Kapa‘a location first opened its doors on Sept. 1, and to celebrate, the owners have planned an free Oct. 14 celebration.
Open to the public, the event will include food, beverages, and even a raffle for one of the store’s pearl strand necklaces.
“People get to enter the raffle for the pearl necklace just for coming to visit and celebrate with us,” Freeperson said. “(Anyone can) just have a good time and see what we’re all about if they haven’t already visited us. It’s just a time to celebrate.”
Jackson Healy, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-4966 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island