First time store owners Linda Whittington and Tracy Young may have happened on to the best kept secret of the islands... Cariloha Bamboo. The company takes the fibrous plant and, through a unique process, transforms it into sheets that feel 1,000 thread count, socks that don't stink, and the softest and coolest tees - 3 degrees cooler than cotton, to be specific.
After becoming familiar with the brand and its products during their travels, Whittington and Young saw potential in the Houston market. In November, they became the first to bring the Cariloha brand, a staple at ports and tourist shops in the Caribbean and Hawaii, to an urban location.
"My girlfriend and I went on a vacation in Aruba and we walked in one of the Cariloha stores. We just loved the product, it was so nice and so soft. While we were at the counter checking out, they dropped a brochure in our bag that said 'Would you like to open your own store?' We thought it was a no brainer. We thought it would go well in Houston," said Whittington.
A combination of Caribbean and Hawaiian word aloha, Cariloha was inspired by the island life most of us only experience on vacation - right down to the scent of the boutique, nested in the middle of Rice Village. The store is a treasure trove of bamboo based clothing and products for the home, including thermo regulated sheets (cool in the summer, warm in the winter), blankets, workout clothing, and scarves.
Now if you are wondering how in the world this...
By far, the most popular items in the store are the bed linens. They feel like Egyptian cotton, but are sold at a fraction of the price. Whittington says they can hardly keep them on the shelves, as people are buying multiple sets for themselves and as gifts.
My favorite items would have to be the super soft towels, which are anti-fungal so they do not get smelly if left in the washer or are not hung up between uses.
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I will never look at a bamboo stalk the same again.