Wehiwa Soap Company has been handcrafting soaps for over 15 years in a small workshop in Wai‘anae, Hawai‘i, selling their products at local craft fairs. Vaalele Malaki, owner, decided to quit her day job and rebrand her company. We were hired to develop an entirely new brand which included a logo, packaging, website and collateral material to include signage, post cards and business cards in both English and Japanese. Vaalele wanted her products on store shelves, have a larger distribution reach and communicate that her soaps are all handmade in Hawai‘i with natural, organic, local ingredients. Wehiwa’s primary goal was to foster a Native Hawaiian perspective in a respectful way that is true to Hawaiian culture and traditions. In addition, Wehiwa requested a packaging system that would highlight the organic, handmade aspect of their natural soaps—allowing the smell of the essential oils and soap to come through but still have a wrap to protect it. The overall budget for packaging was small, so the solution needed to be mindful of overhead costs.
Design Solution: Our company redesigned Wehiwa’s overall brand by creating hand drawn illustrations with a Native Hawaiian sense of place. We designed cultural elements representing the Hawaiian goddess Laka (the goddess of hula and the forest) and incorporated them into the branding to reflect the connection to the ‘āina (land). Wehiwa’s new logo and packaging is clearly different and unique amongst other local competitors and is appealing to both the local and visitor markets. Our company incorporated a tapeless wrapping technique using thin vellum to protect the soap along with a belly band that showcases the ingredients with custom hand-drawn illustrations. Techniques in printing and design were kept under a very tight budget, keeping in mind future reprints.