In 2001, a bright eyed, Hong Kong born, go-getter named Jenny had a grand idea. She saw how the ukulele made everyone within ear shot relax and smile. After a move from Hong Kong in her late teens, and later a business degree from Ohio State University, she planted roots here in Hawaii. Having traveled the world, Jenny realized the potential locked within this remarkable Hawaiian instrument. So she did what any responsible Hong Kong native planted in Hawaii would do: spend the next 10 months working with an oversees factory, designing and fine tuning the first Leolani ukulele. Did we mention the name of the ukulele company Jenny founded was named Leolani? Leolani is a Hawaiian word combining leo (voice), and lani (heaven). So Leolani is ‘Voice of Heaven”. Fast forward a year later and in 2002 Leolani launched in Hawaii. It worked! All of Jenny’s hard work and perseverance paid off and she continues to design and develop the brand to what it is today.
We love living in Hawaii. It’s true! We get the warm sun, breezy Tradewinds, and cool tropical rain all year long. I know, I know, it’s tough for us locals living here. Living together with nature is a part of our local Hawaiian culture and it is important that we use sustainable methods while sourcing wood for our ukulele. And for our ukulele it’s all about the wood. Hawaiian Koa wood to be exact. In fact, our KUMU series is comprised only of this Hawaiian treasure! This prized wood only grows in Hawaii, and it is beautiful. In order to ensure that future generations of Hawaii get to enjoy Koa wood we work diligently with tree farmers. Yes… tree farmers. Tree farmers practice land stewardship by focusing on reforestation, management, growth, nurturing, and harvesting of trees. Many of them living up at high elevations, off the grid, next to their trees. They are serious about Koa trees and their propagation. They only use Koa that has either fallen naturally or is dead. And we know one farmer that plants 50 new Koa trees for every one that they process. It is safe to say that Koa wood will be around a long time after we’re gone. And this makes us really happy!