From selling bikinis out of a van to having four storefront locations, Pakaloha Bikinis has grown and transformed since being founding in 2003, but our mission has always remained the same: to provide our customers with a blend of sporty and sexy handmade Brazilian bikinis that celebrate the shape of every woman’s body.
The goal of creating fashionable yet functional swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes came about when Mikey Dahl, Pakaloha’s founder, was living in Brazil. Mikey purchased some bikinis from a few local stores near his apartment, and sent them back to some friends in Maui. All of his friends loved them, but there was one problem: the sizing was off. That’s when he decided to start drawing his own swimwear designs and have them made. And as his designs progressed from fashion to function, Pakaloha was born.
When he finished Pakaloha’s first collection, Mikey returned to Maui and sold the bikinis out of his van and at various parties. After designing his second collection, Mikey had the opportunity to travel the circuit surfing and decided to let his mother, Julie Dahl, run the business. It was during this transition that Pakaloha opened its flagship store on the infamous Front Street in Lahaina, Maui.
“It was a popular move for Pakaloha,” Julie said. “Locals and visitors alike loved the new collection and how they felt in and out of the water in our designs.”
At that time, it was nearly impossible to find a bikini that both fit well and was wearable for those participating in water sports. This need is how Pakaloha became the forerunner in bringing quality bikinis to Hawaii. Mikey designed Pakaloha’s first collection with the intent of providing top-of the-line surfing bikinis, which is what we’re still best known for today. Every bikini we design is cut and sewn so that it stays put and doesn’t get baggy in the water. This perfect fit means less time worrying about adjusting and more time enjoying what you love.
“Whether you’re laying by the pool, running on the beach or tucked into a barrel,” said, “our bikinis are designed to help you feel good and look good on any occasion.”
Another big factor in the comfort of our bikinis comes from the fact that they are handmade in Brazil. As the leading country in bikini design and manufacturing for many decades, Brazil has the finest quality swimwear fabric. Brazil also has very strict labor laws that protect the working citizens’ rights to fair working conditions and pay, meaning none of our items are made in sweatshops.
While there are now countless swimwear shops around the islands, Pakaloha is unique in that every one of our bikini styles come in every print and color. So if you fall in love with one particular cut, you can buy it in whichever other color or print you want.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit more about the history behind our business, and are inspired to come try one one of our signature designs! As for the future of Pakaloha, we want to continue to spread the love that our Hawaii-based company was founded upon. Pakaloha means “let love reign” or “raindrops of love,” and love will always be at the forefront of everything we do.
“Whether it be helping to contribute to the up and coming youth in the community, helping with any fundraising or environmental projects that may come about—we are really just here to be an all around positive energy for the local community and planet alike,” said Julie.