Sales of Tiki
togs take off

Merchandising manager
Nani Morita gets a kick out
of seeing people in T-shirts
with her employer’s logo

My job as merchandising manager and buyer at Tiki's Grill & Bar lets me work from home, take care of my toddler son and pursue my passion as an actor.

My job involves working with local vendors and finding merchandise that best represent the restaurant. Tiki pop culture is hot, so I definitely see an increased demand for tiki merchandise.

Our retail area, at the front of the restaurant, sells a variety of merchandise ranging from logowear to glassware, virtual postcards, books, frames and wooden tiki. From past experience, we know that merchandise with Waikiki printed on it sells well. Items that have artwork by retro tiki artist Shag also are very popular. We try to rotate the displays every three months. And we also sell logo on our Web site,

I've known (Tiki's managing partner and Chief Executive Officer) Bill Tobin since our days together at Hard Rock Cafe, so I was thrilled when he asked me to help open Tiki's last October. Working at Tiki's has been a unique, wonderful experience, being around a great group of people. And there is always more to learn about merchandising, such as arranging the merchandise, improving the lighting and monitoring inventory.

This summer we exceeded our merchandising projections, which was very exciting. What's even more exciting is seeing someone, or having a friend tell me that they saw someone, walking down the street or in an airport in another city wearing one of our shirts. When "The Bradys Back in Hawaii" was being filmed, Susan Olsen, who plays Cindy Brady, came in to Tiki's several times, loved it and bought a lot of merchandise. I was lucky to be on the set when they were filming and saw that she was wearing our Tiki's raglan tee!

I feel that I have the best job in the world because, as a single mom, it allows me the flexibility to work from home, spend time with my son and pursue my other career, which is acting.

I'm rehearsing for "Obake," a ghost story set in plantation-day Hawaii written by local playwright Edward Sakamoto. It's my fourth play with Kumu Kahua Theatre. I tend to play flamboyant characters. In this play, set to open Oct. 30, I'm cast as the "wanton woman."

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