Stick 'em up


POSTED: Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is a time of new beginnings, yet day in and out, the same bland four walls face you at home. Either too much time or money is involved to make a change, or fear of commitment keeps you locked in limbo. What if the new blue paint is too blue or the wallpaper stripes too bold? You'd be stuck until more time or money is available.

Third Ave Shore's colorful decal designs just might jolt you out of wall-treatment hold.

Wall stickers are all the rage, but unlike mainland counterparts, Kailua resident Samantha Hardin's online shop offers designs with a local flair. Gigantic hibiscuses, palm trees, wave silhouettes and the word “;ALOHA”; are standard at

Motifs are carved from matte-finish vinyl of the highest grade available.

“;It has a painted look, like it was hand-painted on the surface,”; said Hardin. Online orders include a free decal for practice and come with step-by-step instructions. The stickers last up to six years and can be applied to any flat surface, whether painted, drywall, cement or wood. And for the commitment-phobe, they can be easily removed and reapplied.

“;It doesn't last as long on cement, though—two years at most,”; Hardin said.

Although Hardin's background is in sociology, she always had an artistic streak that fueled hobbies as an outlet. “;As long as I can remember, I'd be adding lace to clothes or making jewelry, painting. I've never taken an art class; I've learned it all on my own, self-taught.”;

Perhaps it was being raised in landlocked Arizona that sparked her imagination, drawing pictures in her mind of the ocean and manifesting them into practical objects of beauty.

Hardin moved to Hawaii with her future husband and took a job three years ago as a nanny, which involved many beach outings with the children.

“;I've always been drawn to natural beauty,”; Hardin said. “;Every time I had an inspiring thought, I would jot it down.”;

A family member told her about, a sort of eBay for handcrafted items without the auction aspect.

“;People set up their shops and assign prices. You can make an offer but usually you pay their price.”;

When she invested in a vinyl cutter, there was no looking back. Hardin is hoping more local businesses will take notice of her work.

“;My clients are 50 percent mainland, 50 percent local, but I would really like to service more of the local business community,”; she said.

She is currently working with Global Village, a Windward studio, to spruce up their interior.

She set up a booth last weekend at the Waikiki Art Festival at Kapiolani Park to test the market. It could be a monthly stint if all goes her way.

“;I have faith,”; Hardin said. “;Never in a million years did I think this was going to produce income, maybe just enough to keep my hobby going.”;