Petal Pushers


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BYOB and your imagination to Paiko’s private and pop-up workshops—and get your dainty hands a little dirty! Dig into raw materials and savory dishes, such as Cocina’s colorful, locally sourced tacos, in the company of cohorts and soon-to-be friends.

Scattered Across Table~ Tops: Glowing Candles, Colorful Leaves And Blossoms Freshly Foraged From The Isles, Clippers, floral binding and twine, cups of sweet ros? … The harvest: crowns of flowers worthy for the most whimsical of summer festivals, toques of greenery suited for Greek deities, and a few new friends. This is just one charming scenario you may experience at a Paiko Hawaii workshop.

Called “Kaka‘ako’s botanical boutique,” Paiko Hawaii is blossoming creativity beyond its Auahi Street workshop-store-barista bar: the fruit of Tamara Rigney’s, founder/COO/creative director, and Courtney Monahan’s, partner/VP operations, visionary labors.

“I’ve just always been a flower nerd,” Rigney laughs. “I had a little plant book, and I memorized all the plants when I was, like, 5 years old. It was my thing.”

Fashioning landscaping and architecture roots into something fresh upon leaving the corporate realm’s creative restraints, Rigney began doing flowers out of her grandmother’s home in Paiko Beach— but missed working with people. So, she locked down space in Kaka‘ako, looped in Monahan, and Paiko was planted.

“We wanted to offer something for the community with the workshops,” Rigney says. “So we started planning a schedule, getting involvement from the community; it just evolved from there.”

The Hawaiian Floral Crown Workshop, detailed above, was a delightfully amusing affair I had the pleasure of enjoying on two occasions. The privately organized soirées, complete with wine and light bites, courtesy evening taco selections from neighboring eatery Cocina, commenced with mingling in Paiko’s quirky, plant-festooned locale—before guests migrated to an alfresco table, lined with mirrors, floral tape, pens and other tools, just outside the shop. At the head of the table: buckets of the freshest seasonal flora and foliage available, curated from O‘ahu and the outer Islands.

Upon settling into our seats, Rigney began the instruction, walking us step by step in handling these surprisingly hearty flowers, detailing the name and origin of each plant present. After, we grabbed our clippers and began plucking off plant bits to fit whatever palette envisioned. For any creative block, Rigney and Monahan were on-hand to assist. Regardless of the outcome, Monahan advised: “As long as you rock that flower crown, no matter what it looks like, that’s what it’s about!” A little experimentation, forgotten buds and stems, and a few trips back to the vases resulted in crowns of various shapes, sizes and styles. Fun, laughs and another bottle or so in, strangers no more, friendships and exquisite accessories bloomed.

“The floral head crowns have been fun, especially with the variety of the flowers that we get and what people can do,” Monahan beams. “Some people go crazy, or you can start simple and vary, based on your mood.”

Paiko Hawaii’s locale itself beckons those looking to channel that inner artist while broadening their horizons.

“We’re kind of out of the way,” Rigney says. “It’s like taking Uber to Brooklyn [when visiting Manhattan] and finding that little pizza place that’s a hidden gem.”

Paiko offers pop-up workshops at large events, public workshops (listed in their calendar online) and private gatherings, held in-store or at your home. In addition to after-work affairs, lunchtime get-togethers are also available. Whether a celebratory occasion or fun evening out, BYOB and snacks, or coordinate catering and beverage delivery service from neighborhood businesses, to make an afternoon or evening of it. Whatever you fancy, Paiko has a workshop for you and is eager to craft your dream atelier.

“You can always call us,” Rigney says. “We’re pretty good about keeping our schedule updated, and you can sign up for our email list. When we have new [workshops], we do a newsletter, and you can register online.”

Current workshops include: Staghorn Fern Mounting; Succulent Garden; Fern & Moss Terrarium; Tropical Floral Crown. Special occasions, like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the holiday season, call for their own workshops: i.e., wreath making around December.

“Every workshop has a different crowd. The succulent crowd is different than the terrarium crowd, is different than the staghorn crowd, is different than the floral crown crowd,” Rigney grins. “It’s all about learning, fun and networking. The people are a different mix, which keeps things lively. A lot of people have met in the workshops.”

Regardless of the crowd, all workshops represent the outgrowth of imagination, education and pure vision. “We have some people who never come into the store and just come to the workshops: families, people who come on dates, people who have been married forever. We have moms and their moms, young and old. It’s been amazing” Monahan adds.

“And we don’t want people to feel rushed,” Rigney expresses. “We allot an hour and a half [ for standard workshops] where you have free reign to do whatever you want, leave when you please.”

Potting workshops are tailored to locals, as agricultural restrictions and the TSA don’t allow Hawaiian soil to leave the islands, yet the beauty of the floral crown is that visitors can rock their topper back on the mainland. While the floral crown’s core demographic is women, ranging from 18 to mid-50s in age, for the succulent garden and terrarium, Rigney says, it’s half men and half women. The popular gender-neutral workshops also offer quirky accouterments, including gnomes, dinosaurs and little people to add a bit of whimsy to an inventive evening out. And listen up, single men: “Don’t go to the bar [to meet women]. Go the succulent workshop,” Rigney jokes.

Numbers vary, but standard workshops max out around 15, while the terrarium classes are capped around eight people. “It’s just the technical detail and how much work is involved,” Rigney explains. For private parties and pop-up events, however, structure and maximum capacity are custom-tailored.

“The workshops have been hard,” Monahan admits, “but also very rewarding. You get a platform to teach something. People come to learn, and they walk away feeling good about what they made, because they made it: It’s something that they can take home or gift to somebody. It’s awesome.”

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