Luxury Shopping in Hawai’i? What You Should Know

Good day everyone! Today is Thursday and if you plan to go luxury shopping this weekend, keep this read in mind. And if you’re not in Hawaii, go ahead and compare your experience to what I will be sharing with you today!

If you have been following me since day one, you would know that I reside in Honolulu,Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Other than Oahu, I have visited the island of Maui as well, which do offer a few luxury stores like Louis Vuitton and even a Gucci.

In this post, I am going to explain some luxury brands that settled here in Hawaii, how convenient these stores are, how prices differ here, the customer service in these stores, the variety of products they offer, and a few other small details that could be beneficial for you the next time you visit the beautiful islands.

How much luxury boutiques are in Hawaii?

Like in my previous post, “Are Designer Handbags Cheaper in Hawai’i? The Answer and Why! I briefly explained why Hawaii is slowly expanding itself as a “shopping destination”. Over the years, more and more designer brands have been opening stores in Hawaii. This is mainly because of the growing population of rich foreigners and of course the many tourists that visit the islands every day. Just for some type of perspective, Oahu has a total of 3 Louis Vuitton Stores with 1 store on Maui, we have 2 Chanel stores, 2 Gucci stores, and even 2 Hermes boutiques. We recently opened a full line Saks Fifth Avenue department store, we have a 3 story Neiman Marcus thats been open since 1959, and a huge Nordstrom department store. Also, if you ever visited Oahu and stayed in Waikiki, there is a small complex that’s called “Luxury Row” which offers boutiques like Moncler, a Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, and more. With that being said, without an exact number, Hawaii offers a great amount of luxury stores, with most being located in Honolulu of course. So if you’re afraid that we wont carry a certain brand, don’t be. However, that doesn’t mean we are the number one luxury shopping destination just yet.

How convenient are these stores?

To be honest, these stores might be just be a bit too convenient. You’re probably thinking, “how can anything be too convenient?”. Well what i’m trying to say is that I feel like we might have too much luxury stores. Sometimes I wonder why we need 3 Louis Vuitton stores thats not even 5 miles away from each other. There must be some type of reasoning for this, but I just see no need for that much stores being so close together.

However, I will give some props to the boutiques because some of them stay open later than locations outside of Hawaii. If you’re ever in Waikiki, those designer houses keep the stores open until 9-10PM, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So if you ever plan to buy a new pair earrings from Tiffany on New Years Eve, the special holiday will not stop you from charging your card. Although, I do feel sympathy for the workers sometimes.

If you’re a local, you’d know that if you live on the West side of the island, it is quite a drive to a Prada or Fendi. We all know how bad traffic is here on Oahu, but if you plan your time right, you’ll be finding yourself surrounded by the beautiful aura of designer stores in no time.

Are handbags the only items that are cheaper in Hawaii? 

The answer is NO! If a store is offering %15 off a handbag, most likely their clothes, shoes, and sometimes jewelry will be %15 off as well. This topic still amazes me because you can shop full line and save hundreds compared to buying in New York or Paris. Also, did I forget to mention that our sales tax rate won’t cheat you?

How is the customer service? 

This is a “ehh” subject…if you get what I mean. Just for a little background info, most of the demographic/traffic walking into these high priced stores are tourists…tourists who are rich and are on vacation. It’s hard for the majority of the locals to have disposable income to shop these boutiques because well…Hawaii is not the cheapest place to live in. The prices of basics are high, minimum wage is low, pay in general is usually low, and rent/mortgage are terribly high. That being said, you might get some looks if the associates know that you’re a local or don’t look like a tourist. It’s a terrible thing to say, but its the cold hard truth. If you don’t “look like a tourist” then in most cases all you’ll get is a simple “hello” and just crickets after that. The associates only come to you once you make one purchase and return again. It’s almost like you have to build a relationship or build a purchase record with them in order to receive customer service. Again, i’m just being honest and real on this blog and I don’t want to hold back anything ok!

Most of the associates that work for these luxury stores have a different 1st language with english being their 2nd. So sometimes there might be a slight language barrier when speaking with your sales associate. But most of the time, you can make out what they’re trying to say. If this bothers you, then simply ask for another worker.

And finally, the traffic in these stores are not always booming since the competition has risen with so many stores being next to each other. So if you walk in, some associates can get very pushy. I don’t know about you, but I like associates that follow me from a distance not one that hovers over your shoulder and breathes down your neck. Unfortunately, you might get those sometimes.

This LV Toiletry pouch was very hard to find in store. I called the first store to see if they could have it and they agreed to hold it for me for 24hours. I missed it by 3 hours and it was gone when I checked back. Luckily a 2nd location had one so I sped my butt and picked it up in a heartbeat haha.

Is there variety?

Is it weird to say that variety can vary? I feel that most stores have a good variety of their classic products. But if you are looking for exclusive pieces like the LV X Supreme collection, you won’t find those here. And when a brand does announce a exclusive collection, and you try to call the store to see if you can get your hands on the items, most times you’ll get a “no” because they have already contacted their rich clientele and reserved it for them. If you’re not a Kardashian or shopping in their store every weekend, then you shouldn’t get your hopes up.

Anything else we should know? 

Some other things I would like to point out when luxury shopping in Hawaii:

  • If you’re those types of people who need the box for your handbag purchase, chances are you wont receive one here. One thing I noticed is that whenever I purchase a handbag here, I usually don’t receive a box that comes with it. it doesn’t bother me, but it would be a nice touch. The only brand I noticed that is almost guaranteed a box with any purchase is Louis Vuitton.
  • Stock may vary from time to time. Its expensive to ship things to Hawaii, so thats probably why stock is limited sometimes. So if you want a pair of Loubitons chances are is that they’ll only have 1 or 2 (if you’re lucky) in stock.
  • We do have off price stores. Like Nordstrom Rack and a Barneys Outlet. However, if you see a Givenchy Antigona for %30 off the original price in one of these off price stores, most likely they only have one, and that one item is probably scratched or from a 2009 collection. I’ve visited TJ Maxx in New York and Seattle, and their designer corner has a large variety of high designer marked down items in great condition, but sadly our locations here offer a very minuscule selection.

I knows its a lot to remember, but all of the information said here comes from my personal experience. If you’ve ever shopped at one or many of the luxury stores here in Hawaii, I’d love to hear your experience! Also, let me know what city you enjoy shopping at. And as always, thank you so much for reading my post.

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