I came across Leolani’s Instagram account almost 2 years ago during the 12 days of Christmas. I loved the idea and enjoyed filming and playing for each challenge they proposed. What made me admire them, was not only their generosity, but they always had time to like or comment on each and every video people were posting.
Sabeth agreed to share with us the amazing Leolani’s story.
Leolani Ukulele is a family run, locally owned and operated ukulele company based in Honolulu Hawaii. Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2022 means there have been many seasons Leolani Inc. Though much has changed, the main things remain the same and that is what sustains the resonating tone of Leolani. The Hawaiian words leo (voice), and lani (heaven) combined to mean “Voice of Heaven” are the foundation of the company. We are blessed to be one of the premier importers of ukuleles today, and take joy in being known for their hoʻokalakupua (enchanting) customer service.
After 20 years of breaking ground in the industry we are working as hard as ever to bring forth affordable and superb instruments. Our vision for the future is to continue to innovate and incorporate new ideas into our instruments and community bringing more music and more aloha to all our Ohana. Each ukulele begins with local inspiration and comes to life through the work of our designer, Keli’i. You can learn everything from his take on ukulele finishes, wood types, design techniques, favorite artists, historical facts, playing tips, product recommendations and more at https://www.leolaniukulele.com/blog
I, Sabeth, first started my journey at Leolani Ukulele as a freshman in college in 2004. I just so happened to pick up playing the ukulele with my fellow dorm residents who would gather on the rooftop or at Haleiwa Joe’s to jam and enjoy each other’s company. When I was invited to work at Leolani, I had already experienced the power of this instrument to bring strangers together and spread its unique aloha. Jenny quickly took me under her wing as one of the only female CEO’s in the business, a fact that remains true to this day. Together as a small staff we served the local ukulele retailers across waikiki’s International Market Place, and throughout the Hawaiian islands. We provide their customers with memories and pieces of aloha to bring home with them. Fast forward 20 years and I’ve returned to the company to continue spreading aloha expanding from the streets of Oahu to dealers around the world. You can see our list of domestic and international distributors here: https://www.leolaniukulele.com/contact
We entered the world of social media and online retail sales in 2019. It has been an incredible journey to expand the presence and power of the ukulele through genuine relationships and treasured artists online.
In 2020 as the global pandemic hit Leolani launched #UKEUPLIFT giving away one ukulele a day for 100 days. Thousands of players from all around the world joined in on the opportunity to uplift each while entering for a chance to win. Later that same year the Annual Leolani 12 days of Christmas Ukulele Giveaway was born spreading holiday cheer across the globe once more. We hosted a different artist giving away a different ukulele for each of the 12 Days of Christmas. These historic and now annual giveaways were birthed from a desire to give from what we have been given and share the ukulele joy that we know can change the world. The ukulele community is one-of-a-kind and has among it some of the kindest world-class artists anyone can imagine. We love the opportunity to spread aloha with them as far and wide as we can.
Although the expanse of Leolani reaches far and wide, day to day operations are maintained by a small team. On any given day there are four to five of us making all the magic happen from designing ukuleles, building orders, delivering, planning, developing, engaging online and more. Our bond of ohana is strong and has kept us connected through the decades after changing life seasons. Many of the team members are parents of young kids, raising up the next generation of joy spreaders.
We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with Ukulele Safari and expand the influence of these four strings for generations to come.