April 21, 2021

Made By Mia: Seventh-grader supports Lanai nonprofit through pandemic hobby

Seventh-grader Mia Majkus is part of a hui of young female crafters who have found silver linings in the pandemic and a new way to beat boredom.

Before the pandemic, you could find Mia playing basketball and other sports. However, like many keiki on Lanai, the stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules forced her to find another way to stay busy.

After receiving crafting tools and video links from her aunt Pam Harris on the mainland, Mia started experimenting. She began making earrings using gemstones, shells, beads, metals and charms. Her aunt Pam is also a jewelry designer and provided advice and shared resources for getting started. Once she learned the basics of jewelry making, Mia began to browse Pinterest for design inspiration. She honed her craft, focusing just on earrings, and now has a fun collection of designs which she describes as “simple, everyday earrings for all ages.”

Paying It Forward

Mia takes some of the proceeds from her sales and donates it to Lanai Kinaole, an organization serving Lanai by providing home and community-based health services. The medical team and agencies allow residents to receive treatment and care where they feel most comfortable.

Mia wanted to contribute to the nonprofit because they have been assisting her uncle who is undergoing cancer treatments. “Lanai Kinaole has helped him a lot, so I wanted to help them by donating,” Mia explained.

Since Mia’s aunt gave her the initial earring supplies, including real gemstones, tools, and hooks, Mia explained that she wanted to pay the act of kindness forward by helping others in the community. She plans on continuing to donate a portion of her sales to Lanai Kinaole.

Girls Supporting Girls

Although it has been difficult to conduct in-person sales during the pandemic, Mia’s favorite part of being a young entrepreneur is hosting pop-ups in front of The Local Gentry with her friends and fellow crafters. Around holidays or free weekends, the group sets up a tent to sell various keychains, personalized tumbler cups, and all types and styles of jewelry.

The girls prepare their inventory separately, then decide on a date for the pop-up and spread the word through text messaging or social media. They also occasionally host giveaways where customers can win prizes. The diverse group of girls enjoys socializing while making sales and testing new business techniques and promotions, but most of all, they like supporting each other’s small businesses.

“Whenever we do pop-ups, we all support each other and buy from each other and build up our businesses,” explained Mia.

How to Buy

The next time you are near The Local Gentry, look out for the group of entrepreneurs selling unique handcrafted jewelry and treasures. Purchases or inquiries can be made at pop-ups or through Instagram (@mmajkus). Venmo is accepted, and shoppers can browse the account’s “highlights” section. Mia can mail or deliver purchases on Lanai.

Mia is grateful for the opportunity to participate in Lanai’s small business community and explains that it’s important to purchase from local artisans. “Small businesses take the time and effort. It’s not like Amazon, where you never know who is doing the crafting,” explained Mia. “Small businesses also don’t start with a lot of money.”

Mia expresses gratitude to everyone who has purchased or encouraged her and her friends on their small business journey. “I have to say thank you to my community. They have supported me a lot.”

Stay Connected with the Community

Where Are They Now – Brett Elan

Where Are They Now – Drevan Barfield

Where Are They Now – Foster Rabaca

Where Are They Now – Greg Suguitan

Hawaii International Film Festival