Our Islands, Our Future

Sarai Stricklin, an artist, teacher and fashion designer, is “honored and excited” about her first wedding dress designs debuting at the first Made in Maui County Festival. Held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, the first-time event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November 8. “I’ve been waiting to bloom from Maui,” said Stricklin, who moved from her studio home in Hana to Waihee in part to grow her business. Stricklin is a lifelong textile artist who has created traditional batik art pieces for home and corporations. She also designs women’s clothing, silk neck ties for men and began recently designing hand sewn wedding pieces inspired by Hawaiian history.

She said the Made in Maui County Festival comes at a time when she’s ready to grow her business. “I have finally met the most incredible people and they’ve been so supportive of my work and my business,” Stricklin said, referring to the festival organizers and the encouragement she’s received to participate in the event. A cancer survivor, Stricklin said she’s been unable to attend off-island events that spotlight Hawaii made products. “It’s just too hard to travel, and really and truly, it’s great that I can show my work here on Maui,” she said. “There is where I want my business to take off.” The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Maui Chamber of Commerce are calling the inaugural event “the largest product vendor show” this year in Maui. Products to be showcased include food, art, crafts, jewelry, fashion, gifts and collectibles. There will be demonstrations plus a fashion show in which designers like Stricklin will show their work.

“This festival was created to help grow our islands’ businesses,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa. “There’s such incredible talent here at home and we’re hoping to open doors for these hard-working entrepreneurs…Our small businesses are the backbone of our islands’ economy and their success will ultimately benefit our community at-large.” A complete list of the 130-plus vendors participating can be seen at: