Our Story

The Journey: From SYD > HNL

Born and raised in Sydney Australia, Founder, Designer + CEO Marylea Ablen Conrad, traveled often. And a yearly stopover during Australia’s winter was Hawaii. Her mother worked for Qantas air, which took Conrad to New York, London, Paris, Rome, parts of Asia and Canada. Through travels, Conrad expanded her love for art, design and nature, grasping unifying ideas through cultures, but there was no denying her attraction to the Islands.

While traveling, she focused on the completion of her Design Degree in Fashion & Textiles Design.

Fashion & Textiles: Design School 

Conrad credits one source of her creativity and skills was developed through rigorous training at the University of Technology, Sydney. Here, she graduated along fellow classmates who now head their leading Australian design companies: Bec & Bridge and Tigerlily. And so, Conrad finished her Design Degree graduating with First Class Honors.

Conrad’s training at design school was capped-off with a runway show by each graduating student. Her inspiration without surprise; “Hawaii.” The next day Conrad jumped on a plane to paradise and the rest was history.

Family Picture 2021

[KI•ELE]’s Beginnings: in Hawaii

This love for Hawaii brought Conrad to the island of O’ahu, where [KI•ELE] {also known as [KI•ELE]: Hawaii} was soon born. The brand was named after her youngest daughter “Kiele,” pronounced [ki-eh-leh]; Hawaiian for gardenia and fragrant blossom.

[KI•ELE]: Hawaii then began with a line of handmade jewelry, made in the Islands, where the former owner of “Alliway” boutique in Ward Warehouse, Honolulu saw potential in the brand and took [KI•ELE] under its wing and into her store.

In 2008, the brand launched, although it wasn’t until 2011 when [KI•ELE] started to gain national attention after "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Magazine" models graced the pages wearing the brand’s personalized, “Classic Zayit Bar” necklaces.

Though Conrad’s other half and husband, acknowledges that [KI•ELE] didn’t officially launch until Conrad could work full-time for the company and when he joined the team in 2014.

In 2016, [KI•ELE] successfully launched its sister-brand, ALOHA EQUALS LOVE with colorful, bold and fun prints on water-resistant material for pouches. Today, [KI•ELE] on the other hand is growing and expanding its jewelry lines. Currently, the jewelry features quality, gold and silver metals that are finished with the brand’s signature organic textures, incorporating natural elements, including freshwater pearls, faceted gemstones and seashells.

Conrad continues to strive to infuse her design roots into the brand. To this day [KI•ELE] has gained widespread popularity among locals throughout Hawaii and internationally in Japan, Australia, Canada and nationally through mainland U.S.A.

Last year, [KI•ELE] launched its “Organic” line of jewelry, which focuses on more versatile jewelry pieces, featuring the brand’s signature organic texture and inspired by other concepts non-related to Hawaii and ocean - "Paradise" motifs.

The Inspiration: Hawaii & Beyond

[KI•ELE]’s aim through design is to provide positive, good vibes with a longing for paradise + the organic. “Paradise” is everything that is Hawaii: island life, tropical flowers, the ocean and coastal motifs. Whereas the “Organic” is an exploration of natural elements, textured finishes and versatile shapes and what's fun yet what is also feminine and chic; what's in trend and what's classic.

“At [KI•ELE] we want the customer to feel that you can shop a brand that will offer versatile, fun and quality jewelry at an affordable price. We also want to continue to offer unique pieces and relevant designs. We want to share our love for paradise and the organic with everyone and show how you can simply have fun in life with how you style your look in [KI•ELE] jewelry,” says Conrad.

The Media Journey: Print & Online

: Locally from 2008 to 2021, [KI•ELE] was featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper, Island Family Magazine and LeiChic.com, HI Luxury, Honolulu Magazine, Ala Moana Magazine, ThisWeek Publications, a feature in Honolulu's MidWeek newspaper, Waikiki Magazine and Hawaii Business Magazine. Nationally/Internationally 2010, [KI•ELE] was featured in Oakley's Summer Ad campaign. In 2011, Japan's Aloha Express Magazine. And in 2011-2014 and 2016, [KI•ELE] graced the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Magazine on cover girl models including Bar Refaeli and Kate Upton. In 2013 [KI•ELE]'s dainty necklaces were seen in Japan's JALPAK and Aloha Street online + the TODAY morning show. [KI•ELE]'s beach glass “Makapu‘u teardrop earrings” were also featured in Coastal Living Magazine.

In 2014 [KI•ELE] was named one of the Best Hawaii Jewelry companies by HAWAII Magazine.

[KI•ELE] is also a main sponsor of Miss Hawaii USA and Miss Hawaii Teen USA.

And in 2018, [KI•ELE]’S “Signature Lei necklace” was featured by the Editor-in-Chief, Laura Brown in “InStyle” magazine.