Erika Engle

Dressing (free) for
success a perk for
some TV news folk

A small local business that specializes in stylishly covering pregnant bellies has birthed a new business deal.

Makana Mother & Baby has signed an agreement with KHON to outfit hapai morning weather anchor Trini Kaopuiki.

Kaopuiki, whose Hawaiian surname could be translated, "the small stomach," is the beneficiary of a vanishing trend.

Just like rock stars and green M&Ms, television personalities have long included clothing allowances in employment contracts.

Likewise, TV stations and clothing companies have long entered into barter agreements where on-camera personnel were provided with clothing in exchange for promotional announcements at the end of newscasts, known as billboards.

"My impression is you never get the value of what you're giving with a billboard," said Mike Rosenberg, president and general manager of KITV. He estimated the value of a five-second billboard with each newscast at $50,000, "and you never get $50,000 worth of clothing."

KGMB and KHON, owned by Indiana-based Emmis Communications Corp., had switched from barter deals to cash clothing allowances before this agreement, said Rick Blangiardi, senior vice president.

Lately however, "We've had a fair amount of pregnancies," he said.

Among the new and expectant moms are KGMB's Kim Gennaula, Stacey Loe and Brit Riedl and KHON's Ramsay Wharton.

Blangiardi laughed when asked if he'd had the stations' water tested.

"We were approached by the client, and under the circumstances, knowing that all these women work very late into their pregnancies, we want them feeling and looking as good as possible, so we've begun this relationship," he said.

KHNL and KFVE have an agreement with Tori Richard and Cooke Street to provide clothing for on-air talent.

"We've done it for aloha attire and leis. We look at those as the opportunities present themselves," said John Fink, vice president and general manager for the two stations.

Makana's name will be dropped during ten-second billboards for 18 weeks on KHON, until Kaopuiki's maternity leave is set to begin in the fall.

"We are just this little maternity boutique and having someone like Trini wearing our clothes and continuing to look so beautiful can be nothing but good for us," said Makana President and mom Deborah Sharkey.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:


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