One of our goals for this year has been to sell the big palette of 2,000 Notch books that a truck had delivered last December. Not an easy feat for a self-published book – while all marketing and distribution is your own responsibility.
Then this April, we connected with Hilo Hattie, the Store of Hawaii, so today **cue the happy dance** we are sharing fantastic news as the children’s book “Notch, the Rescued Dolphin” found a permanent retail outlet.
This is so exciting!!!
Since 1963, Hilo Hattie has been the world’s largest manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of Made In Hawaii fashions, foods, gifts, jewelry and more!
In this short and fun video, you will discover:
- A quick tour of the store
- Hilo Hattie’s tradition for every customer
- When the stars aligned for the book and other Notch products to be sold and
- How you can receive your own signed copy of the book from creator Martina Wing
Hilo Hattie, the Store of Hawaii
Kona Inn Shopping Center, Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii
Store Hours: 9 AM – 9 PM – 7 days a week
(Author event every Wednesday from 11 AM and 1 PM)
Notch the Dolphin Children’s Book – Now in Stores
Martina Wing: Hey, Martina Wing here. I’m so excited to show you today that Notch found an additional home, and I’m going to give you a little tour and just come with me.
Martina Wing: So, come in. Welcome to Hilo Hattie. Check out Notch’s new display. Oh, who’s here too? My friend Teresa, you’re on video now.
Teresa Echols: Hi, I was just posting this on my Facebook.
Martina Wing: Well, you might be wondering why Hilo Hattie is a really special place to sell Notch and to get really good answers what Hilo Hattie is; I have Teresa here. She’s the manager at the store.
Teresa Echols: Hi
Martina Wing: Aloha, Teresa, what is Hilo Hattie? What is so special about it?
Teresa Echols: Well, Hilo Hattie is the oldest Hawaiian retail store on the islands.
Martina Wing: How old?
Teresa Echols: Since ’63, so it’s been around for a long time.
Martina Wing: Older than I am.
Teresa Echols: Oh yes, older than me too. But they’ve been around for a long time and it was always the go-to place for clothing. The clothing stands the test of time. All our clothes are made in Hawaii, and we’re very proud about that. So, we still have a lot of shirts that come in that were made in the ’60s and ’70s, and ’80s; and maybe all they need is a little button replacement, and it’s so fun to replace them.
Martina Wing: They walk in here and get a new one?
Teresa Echols: Yeah, and they’re still wearing the shirts. I get goosebumps when is see it because, you know what, we’re standing behind the clothing, and we are selling this. It’s the feeling of “Aloha” that people get when they come in Hilo Hattie because it’s the culture that comes with it. And, of course, you get greeted with a lei; “Aloha welcome at Hilo Hattie.” That’s what the tradition said when they opened in the ’60s as well. And it’s very important for us to make you, our customers, come in and feel like “Ohana”, which is family.
Martina Wing: Yes
Teresa Echols: So, we want to embrace the whole family.
Martina Wing: That’s exactly how I felt when I met these folks. It’s pretty cool. So, you sell more than just clothing?
Teresa Echols: Oh yes, we have a variety of Hawaiian gifts and souvenirs; a lot of them are made here. We try to keep everything local as much as possible, made in Hawaii. So we have a variety of Hawaiian Tee’s and Kona coffee, of course, and foods and coffees and nuts and all kinds of treats and candies and jewelries; soaps; handmade soaps from here on the islands. And so, we have a variety for all different kinds of people so they can take things home for the young and the old.
Martina Wing: Thanks; thanks for helping me.
Teresa Echols: No, you’re more than welcome. We’re glad to have you, Martina, and Notch has actually been a great addition to our store because it does tell the story about the rescue of the dolphin here in our Big Island waters.
Teresa Echols: Oh yes, and it’s so exciting to have you here.
Martina Wing: Thank you.
Teresa Echols: Yes, thank you.
Martina Wing: Let me show you what’s available here at Hilo Hattie from Notch’s products. Here’s the book. Real quick about the book; so if you haven’t heard about the story I just want to give you a summary. Notch is a dolphin that lives here on the Kona coast. We call him Notch because he has a notch in his back and this book is based on a true story. It’s a video, it’s viral for six years. The other day, one of the bigger media companies put it up on Facebook, and 40 million hits later. So this story touches the world continuously for six years and I was so motivated to create the book based on that story and I was the camera person.
The story itself is outlined with characters that live on the Kona coast so you find more in the glossary about Notch. He is a Pacific bottlenose dolphin. And you learn about Big Bertha, she’s a manta ray we see since 1992. She’s huge; she’s twelve to fourteen feet. Then Waimanu is an endangered species; it’s a Hawaiian monk seal and I wanted to shine a light on them. And then of course, Laverne, the tiger shark. So if you live on the Kona coast, and you would go to Honokohau Harbor. The locals know Laverne, it’s a tiger shark we see regularly. We see her since 2003; she’s about fourteen feet long. And it was very important to me that people learn, youngsters especially, sharks are so important for the ocean because they’re the cleanup crew. We need them and we need to really view them in a totally different light.
The humpback whales come to Hawaii every winter so Wanita is also a character of the book. Besides the book you can also watch the video here at the end, there is the domain name. And then, check out these illustrations; they’re just really, really well done. I want to show you one in particular. That’s Laverne and check out Wanita. I’m just so stoked that Jackie Mask was my illustrator and she’s such a big talent.
Something else you can get here are T-shirts, and here is the design, all in blue. This “Notch the rescued dolphin” and “I am an ocean advocate”. And then there are some prints available; prints of illustrations. And I just want to show you what we have available. So this would be this size and then the prints are Notch himself with Hualalai in the background, the rescue itself, then you have Wanita the humpback whale, Laverne, the Tiger Shark, Notch feeding, and this is also a really cool one and it’s about fishing and fishing line. So anyway, these prints are also available here at Hilo Hattie.
Martina Wing: I also wanted to tell you how it all came about that Notch is in Hilo Hattie’s now. And who was really instrumental in this whole process was Sina.
Sina Stennes: Yay!
Martina Wing: Sina come on in.
Sina Stennes: Hello.
Martina Wing: Assistant manager here, right?
Sina Stennes: Yes, my dear.
Martina Wing: So I want her to tell the story what caught her attention; what happened. Take it away…
Sina Stennes: Okay. I went on my break on a Sunday stroll through Kailua-Kona where a lot of local vendors set up their products, their honeys, their food and then I saw Martina and she was the only one with a book and a message and I was revved that it was a local story. And that’s what caught my attention because I live here and I am super passionate about the ocean. I knew that she would be a great addition to our store and people would eat it up because it’s local and it’s an amazing story.
Martina Wing: Yeah, so that’s how it came about and then you said, “Let’s get Teresa involved.” Right?
Sina Stennes: Yes.
Martina Wing: And then the next step, Teresa shows up two hours later and boom. That’s how it went. So last week Sina told me a really good story and I want her to tell it but it kind of ties it all together. Please take it away. It’s a really good story about a customer from Australia.
Sina Stennes: I had an older gentleman from Australia looking for local gifts for his grandchildren and he was telling me how his youngest grandchild is really into the ocean and dolphins and everything and, boom, Notch popped into my mind. We walked over her; I said, “I have a story for you.” I showed him the clips of the video and then how Martina has been recognized for this story through BBC, Nat Geo, and when I said Nat Geo Kids, he was through the roof. So he knew all of his grandkids could read it, understand it, and be really happy to have a gift from Kona that also would translate into what they are passionate about.
Martina Wing: Yeah!
Sina Stennes: It was great.
Martina Wing: He got the t-shirts, too.
Sina Stennes: He had three shirts. Little kids were having the shirts, he was having a T-Shirt and the Notch books.
Martina Wing: And I just love it. I mean we continue to touch the world; now the story is a video; the story is now a book and the book is going around the world, Australia this time and what’s really exciting too: we have once a week a cruise ship coming to the islands, Norwegian Cruise Lines. And on Wednesdays I will be here from 11 AM to 1 PM, a least that’s the plan for now. So every Wednesday you can meet me here at an author event so I can sign Notch for you and dedicate it to a child you have. So all kinds of things are happening here at Hilo Hattie so we are just really really stoked.
Come join me at Hilo Hattie on select Wednesdays from 11 AM to 1 PM: October 10th, November 15th, and December 13th.
(Kona Inn Shopping Center, Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii)