Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii
Maile Meyer is a Hawaiian woman on a mission who is a member of the well-known Meyer/Aluli clan. For over 10 years, she has worked long and hard to bring the rich history and culture of the islands to the public through various business enterprises.
A love of books and Hawaiian culture led her to establish Native Books Inc. in 1990, a book and video distribution company, that initially operated at craft fairs and then opened as a retail outlet in Kalihi. Maile works closely with schools, institutions and libraries to select items that are well-written, culturally sensitive and historically accurate.
In 1995, Maile founded Native Books and Beautiful Things, a retail co-operative featuring books, music, art, crafts, food and clothing from 18 different producers, located in Downtown Honolulu. In 1998, she opened BookEnds, a retail book shop in Kailua.
While the ‘Native Books and Beautiful Things’ operation closed and BookEnds was sold, Maile reworked her business plan to create a new venture: Nâ Mea Hawai‘i, that opened in Downtown Honolulu during the Christmas season of 2002. In August of 2003, Maile moved the Native Books operations from Kalihi to Ward Warehouse, and combined it with a Nâ Mea Hawai‘i store to create ‘Native Books Nâ Mea Hawai‘i.’ In addition, there are Nâ Mea Hawai‘i stores at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel on O‘ahu, and in Lahaina, Maui.
“Being at a centrally located place such as Ward Warehouse, which has ample parking and a small amphitheater which we can use for special events, definitely allows us to reach more people and provide more special events and programs,” said Meyer.
Meyer sponsors free lectures, readings, art exhibits and musical programs. “Providing programming is an important part of what we do. It brings people together to share ideas and discuss issues, particularly Hawaiian issues, and enjoy the talents of local artists and musicians.”
Meyer is a graduate of Punahou School, holds a B.A. degree in Design from Stanford University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing and Arts Management, from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. She is a former account executive for Chiat/Dan in Los Angeles and marketing and sales manager for the Bishop Museum Press in Honolulu. She is a member of the State Commission on the Status of Women, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center Advisory Association, Hawai‘i Book Publisher’s Association, Mälama Hawai‘i, the Daughter’s of Hawai‘i and Hale Kû’ai Cooperative. Maile also sits on the Board of Directors for Hale Kû’ai.
Maile is a frequent guest speaker at many community events and lives in Kailua, O‘ahu with her husband and their two children.