5 Questions with Kokomo Industries

For the second collaboration of the Essentials range, Hibiscus Three had a fantastic time partnering with Kokomo Industries to launch our Hot Pink Star Studs - just in time for Christmas and the New Year festivities. Our Founder, Rashmii Bell, has long admired their gorgeous earring pieces, and so we were thrilled to have Kokomo

Industries create something special for our merchandise line. We caught up with the the Creative mind and talent making it all happen at Kokomo Industries, and asked her '5 Questions':

1. HT: Describe Kokomo Industries in 5 words

KI: Tiny artworks celebrating Oceanic lore.

2. HI: A shared love for the 80s and conveying that through our Essentials Hot Pink Star Studs, is one which Hibiscus Three really enjoyed collaborating with you on. Can you briefly describe your creative process for the stunning accessories you make?

KI: I loved working with Hibiscus Three! For our collaboration (hopefully the first of many), I really wanted something that represented both of us—something Pasifika + something that showed the huge effort that goes into achieving something like writing a novel or a collection of poetry.

The Jem and the Holograms (1985-1988) influence was perfect on so many levels. It highlights the 80s—an era whose pop culture we both love, and an era that was all about people achieving personal goals. And the star shape echoes the idea of being given a gold star for effort (eg. in school classrooms for writing). The starfish shape was chosen specifically to honour the Pacific region ie. If Jem were from the Pacific, I’d like to think she’d wear starfish shaped star earrings (rather than the starburst ones she wears in the cartoon). And the idea that these earrings are transformational (as per the TV show) is also accurate: on a very practical level, each pair helps support and promote PNG writing; and in a more ethereal way, each pair should remind the wearer, ‘It’s showtime! Let’s do this!’

I like to think of each piece I create as a tiny museum exhibition: an artefact that tells a story. The story is really the most important part: what do I want the story to say; and how can I best tell that story through a visual medium? I usually brainstorm my way through a series of sketches while I figure out what I want. Then, once I decide on an image, I’ll Google similar images to see what colours might work, and choose which acrylic or types of wood I want to use. I might even colour in the sketches and cut them out so I can be sure of the preferred size and colour combination. From there, I work with a designer to refine the drawing and set the layout of the individual pieces.

3. HT: Can you share some of the values/ philosophies/ inspiration that you bring to your creativity?

KI: I’m proud of my New Ireland heritage and that has really shaped most things in my life—from the choices I make, to the more innate things like the way I interpret the world—so it was a natural progression that I explore and celebrate Papua New Guinea through Kokomo Industries as well. I don’t think there was a choice as to whether I should focus on Oceanic imagery; the only choice was how to express this—through jewellery or through some other medium.

There are two main things I keep in mind when creating the jewellery: 1) how can I celebrate Pacific cultural practices, stories and imagery, and 2) how can I use a Pasifika lens to reimagine pop culture. I think both elements work together to say the same thing:

we are here.

4. HT: You’ve just launched the fabulous PNG Wonder Woman brooch (which we love!). What other creations can we expect to see from Kokomo Industries in 2021?

KI: Thank you! The PNG Wonder Woman brooch was so much fun to make and it’s an image I’ve been thinking about for literally decades! I’ve got some really cool, statement earrings coming out in the first half of 2021 that continue on with the theme of powerful women—think Oprah Winfrey meets Hippolyta Freeman (from Lovecraft Country (2020))—again, with an Oceanic slant.

5. HT: Where can friends of Hibiscus Three find Kokomo Industries? (eg; online, social media, markets, in-store etc)

KI: You can find us on Instagram @kokomo_industries and in-store at the Apple Mango Café in Kimbe. I’m hoping to also start selling in Port Moresby early in 2021, and I’ve had quite a few people write to me requesting a retail option there. And of course, exclusive products are still available through Hibiscus Three!


Collaborating with Kokomo Industries was certainly a highlight for Hibiscus Three's foundation year. We'd be delighted with more opportunities to collaborate with Kokomo Industries as we truly appreciated their fabulous energy, professionalism and insistence on Pasifika representation through their gorgeous, statement creations. Hibiscus Three is excited about Kokomo Industries forthcoming Collections, and we encourage our friends to follow their progress (and expansion) via social media and in-store.

**SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS ** Use promo code HPSS2021 to purchase the Hibiscus Three Essentials Star Studs for just AU$10/pair, via our online Shop. Offer valid 1 January - Sunday 3 January 2021, 11:59pm AESDT. Use promo code at Checkout. NOT VALID for the Duo Deal -FREE SHIPPING offer.


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