Showcasing talent and learning life skills: Haleki‘i Farmers Market features young entrepreneurs

  • Keiki enjoy free arts and crafts at Haleki‘i Market's Keiki May Day on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Keiki enjoy free arts and crafts at Haleki‘i Market’s Keiki May Day on Saturday.

  • Jade Esparsen and her brother Allistairs man their booth at Haleki‘i Market’s Keiki Celebration on Saturday.

  • Jade Esparsen’s resin animals are her best seller at Haleki‘i Market’s Keiki Celebration on Saturday. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Sage Dumaguin sells her cookies Saturday at Haleki‘i Market’s Keiki Celebration.

  • Sisters Malia, left and Kirra Werner sell their goods at Haleki‘i Market’s Keiki Celebration on Saturday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Young entrepreneurs had a chance to showcase their creations Saturday at the Haleki‘i Farmers Market and Craft Fair’s Keiki Day.

The market, started in December by Ka‘ea Lyons, has become a launching pad for keiki interested in starting a business and selling their wares. On Saturday, it was a celebration of keiki. Free activities, entertainment, hula were available at the family friendly event. Jonathan’s Helpers provided a free hot dog lunch for all keiki in attendance. The celebration was supported by Lyons’ halau, Ka‘eaikahelelani.


Although the day’s activities were staffed by volunteers, Lyons said she pays the musicians for their time.

“They were hit hard by COVID. We need to support them. They set the tone for the market and love being here,” she said.

Lyons started the keiki entrepreneur program in March as an addition to local artist and vendor booths at the weekly market held in the parking lot of the Kona Grill House.

“I wanted children stuck at home to have a place to showcase their talent and learn life skills,” said Lyons. “The intention of the market is to create a safe place to come and uplift the community.”

Twelve-year-old Sage Dumaguin was selling cookies at her booth. She started baking sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies and has since expanded to crinkle cookies, which are cake cookies rolled in powdered sugar and baked.

“I started baking when I was 4,” she said. “I like it.”

Her flavors include strawberry, chocolate, lemon, orange, peanut butter, pistachio, ube and pineapple. The youngster plans on expanding her line in the near future. Dumaguin also takes special orders on

“We sell out every time,” she said.

Sisters, Malia and Kirra Werner shared a booth with their products. Malia makes and packages shimmer body spray she calls “Angel Dust” available in a variety of colors. On Saturday, she was offering a free scrunchie with every purchase.

Kirra was selling her product, “Sunset Daze,” which is a homemade mineral oil lip gloss.

“I came up with my business and started packaging,” the 12-year-old said. “I like having a business and having something to do. And I like to shop.”

When she grows up she sees herself as a business owner with a bakery and surf board shop.

Jade Esparsen is an ambitious 12-year-old. She received a laser engraving machine for Christmas and has been custom-making wood and tile pieces of art ever since. Her mother found out about the keiki entrepreneur program and she started expanding her inventory to include cutting boards, decorative art, coasters and business cards in addition to other items.

Next she started creating resin epoxy items, with small animals being her best selling item.

“I like working with resin. The experience is good,” she said.

Esparsen said business was good and she was looking to expand to other markets.

“I was at the Honda market and next week will be at Kona Commons,” she said.

Besides selling her items through her Instagram account (kiddingaroundcreations), she is designing a website with help from her teacher at Kealakehe Intermediate School where she will be able to take custom orders.

“I never thought I’d be doing this,” she said, adding that half of the money she makes goes into her bank account and the other half goes into buying more materials.

When her 8-year-old brother saw she was making money doing something she liked, he decided to start his own business. Having an abundance of crayons in their home, he smashes them into tiny pieces, puts them in a mold and bakes them to melt the colors together. He also creates abstract paintings on canvas and covers them with epoxy.

“I want to sell my things and make money,” he said.

Their mother likes the program as well.

“They are learning things and it keeps them busy,” she said.

She emphasized school comes first, and Jade gets good grades.

“After schoolwork is done, she makes time for this,” she said.


“Coming together as a community and supporting our keiki is important to uplift and move forward,” Lyons said.

Keiki who are interested in the entrepreneur program are encouraged to email

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