Under the "favorite materials" portion of their etsy profile lies the truth to my obsession with roam hawaii's one-of-a-kind pieces: "feathers, leathers, shells, knits, lace, lycra, threads, beads, studs, wire, vintage".
Done + Done.
Truly creative and infused with aloha, the island attire of these gutsy gals is refreshing and inspiring. It was a year or so ago that my besty, Monz introduced me to the N. shore styles from the mail truck turned roadtrip boutique, and it's safe to say I was more than intrigued. Bold colors, graphic prints and effortless authenticity seem to be the recipe for success for this talented band of Gypseas. However it's not just the hand-crafted artistry of this brand that make it so unique. It's the story behind the dream-made-reality that keeps us totally enchanted. The girls were sweet enough to chat with me during their paradise get away to Moorea and shared their secrets to a life well lived.
INTRODUCE YOURSELVES! WHO/WHAT MAKE UP THE BRAND?
Roam Hawai'i is a mobile marketplace and designer collective consisting of 4 young ladies: Brooke Dombroski, Melissa Jasniy, Marissa Eveland, and Cassandra Rull. We all bring different products to our brand, but always handmade or hand-screened with ALOHA. At Roam Hawai'i, you can find beach/ocean-inspired designs ranging from beautiful dresses and sassy graphic tees to handmade silver beach jewelry and vintage beach bags.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU GIRLIES BEEN ROAMING? HOW/WHEN DID THE IDEA FOR ROAM FIRST COME ABOUT?
Brooke first came up with the idea of a mobile boutique in 2007, upon graduating from Chapman University with a BA in graphic design. It wasn't until 2010 that the four girls were able to purchase the perfect mail truck, and turn it into the "Roam Tiger Truck". She had always wanted to own a store, but wasn't married to the idea of being stationary ... it'd be so much more fun to be on the road, attracting a demographic that can relate to our lifestyle of traveling, surfing, and living a carefree beach lifestyle!
WAS IT AN INSTANT COLLABORATION WITH ALL THE GIRLS OR SOMETHING REALIZED OVER TIME?
We were all close friends before Roam came into the picture, but with all of our backgrounds in fashion design and art, it was a no-brainer to combine forces and pursue the idea of Roam Hawai'i. The fact that we are best friends make Roam so much more than just a job or a company --- we have had times together that are priceless, no matter where life takes us from here.
HOW DID IT TRANSFORM FROM AN IDEA TO A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
We are completely grassroots and enjoyed the process of starting a legitimate "business", even though there were times we just wanted to give up and go surfing! We kept the creativity flowing and are continuing to push ourselves everyday to come up with fresh designs that we hope inspire our following!
WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU THE MOST? CARE TO SHARE ANY RECENT OBSESSIONS?
We are mostly inspired by our daily dose of salt water. Without the ocean, we are nothing! Being surrounded by ocean and growing up on the water plays a huge part in our lives. Right now, I'm emailing from Moorea, Tahiti and if you could just see how beautiful and awe-inspiring the ocean is here, you'd understand.
WHAT'S IT LIKE HAVING A SHOP ON THE GO? AS A MERCHANDISER I FIND IT FASCINATING -- HOW DO YOU MAKE THE SPACE WORK FOR YOU?
Going with the flow is something that just comes naturally for us. Our mellow nature as a company allows us to adapt to so many different scenarios and environments. Whether it's a farmer's market, craft fair, night market, or just plain on the road --- we make it work and get creative with what we're working with to best showcase our brand.
THERE'S SOMEWHAT OF A FOOD TRUCK PHENOMENA SPREADING ON THE MAINLAND THAT I FEEL IS SOMETHING ENGRAINED IN ISLAND LIFESTYLE. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST APPEAL OF BEING MOBILE?
To me, it's the spontaneity of it all. The fact that you can just pull right up to a lunch wagon then embark on the rest of your day.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEOME ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A DREAM THEIR REALITY, EVEN IF ITS SOMETHING NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE?
I always tell myself, "No one is going to do it for you!" ... it's kind of my mantra. If you have an idea, or if you want to realize a dream, you HAVE to take initiative. You can't wait around for someone to make it happen for you. Anything is possible, you just have to believe it is.
BROOKE, IM REALLY CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY ENDEAVORS. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SNAPPING PHOTOS?
I've been playing with cameras since I was 11-12. Strictly film until I was 19. I had so much fun developing film, playing with different lenses and old camera bodies. When digital became available to me, I decided to turn my hobby into a career.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN UNDERGRAD -- AT LEAST IN MY EXPERIENCE, THE PRESSURE TO CONFORM AND THE COMPETITIVENESS WAS INTENSE. WHEN DID YOU FIND YOUR VOICE? DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW LOGOS AND LETTERHEADS WEREN'T YOUR THING?
I knew right away that the corporate graphic design thing wasn't for me. I didn't quite know what I was going to do beyond college, but it excited me to daydream about the possibilities. Pushing my mind creatively has always been a priority, so I began to find my niche doing illustrations and incorporating my photography into my freelance work. I've also been very fortunate to be working for Crush Sunglasses since college, doing art direction, photography, and graphic design. They are a great company and were a fantastic foot in the door for more opportunities doing what I love.
DESCRIBE THE CORRELATION BETWEEN SURFING AND FASHION...HOW DOES IT PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
It's so interesting to open a magazine and see an entire fashion editorial based around a Chanel surfboard now days. Surfing and fashion were always such polar opposites. I kind of liked it that way, I never believed high fashion and surfing should have a relationship. On the flip side, it's fun as a fashion photographer who is a surfer because I get to combine my two passions.
YOU ARE SUCH A BEAUTIFUL GIRL! HOW DO YOU FEEL BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA VS BEHIND IT? DO YOU EVER ENJOY MIXING IT UP?
That's very sweet of you, really! Hehe, being in front of the camera is not my favorite place, but I do have fun with it. It's cool being someone's muse, and commercially, it is cool to see the photos being used in a campaign. I'd much rather be shooting it any day, though! :)
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COLLABORATION AS OF YET? ANYTHING YOU'VE BEEN WORKING ON LATELY?
I love working with all of my friends who have become small business owners. It's the most rewarding work I can do, and it's great to be a part of someone else's dream ... watching them accomplish their toughest task of creating a successful company.
AS A GYPSEA MOVING OUT TO THE N.SHORE IN A FEW MONTHS, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PARTS OF HOME I HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO?
Home is too good to be true. The north shore is a tight community of amazing people. I feel blessed to wake up every day on that seven mile stretch of gorgeous beaches and surf. So much to look forward to!
So much love to you beautiful ladies! Keep up the amazing work XX
FOR MORE ROAM HAWAII GOODNESS MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT THEIR SITE AT ROAMHAWAII.COM AND FOLLOW THEM ON INSTAGRAM TOO!