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What is Noa Kai?

Summer in Hawaii is our family tradition of over 25 years. Mari, Noa Kai’s Co-Founder loved the islands so much she eventually moved there full time. Hawaii became our family’s second home, because that’s where the heart was, as they say.

The place, if you’ve ever been, is magical and entrancing. It’s undeniable that the Hawaiian culture, the people and the landscape are the influence behind our brand and our name. Hawaiians value their ʻOhana, which means family. They would walk on fire for their own family, and once you’ve been accepted into their island circle, they would do the same for you.

Living in Hawaii was like living a dream you never woke up from. I lived a block from the beach and could smell of salt water through the louvered shutters. Life was different. After a board meeting, all participants would bid farewell with a throw of a shaka and some would grab their surfboards for an evening ride while others would mosey down to the beach to grab the last glimpse of the sun setting.

Wherever the day took you, it ended in the water.


The sea lives in every one of us.”

- Wyland


Miranda Tillinghast in Noa Kai SwimwearNoa Kai is our interpretation of the Hawaiian words NOA (freedom) and KAI (sea). Our brand designs swimwear for the modern explorer. Experiencing freedom—fleeting or prolonged—breaking away from the everyday to be submerged in a new place and new culture is what we define as modern travel. It was important that our name spoke to our values of living life untethered. This is how Mari has designed her lifestyle as an entrepreneur and she hopes to encourage more women to pursue their dreams of owning their own businesses. 

Freedom is an interesting concept when living on an island. But what surrounds every island is a seemingly never-ending expanse of water. There is something freeing in the notion that the moment you step off the island, you become a part of something much bigger than yourself. We hope Noa Kai’s community of empowered women can be that sea, that ocean, that place that can inspire and heal.

There is nothing more liberating than floating in the sea, being one with your environment. We wanted our name Noa Kai to invoke a feeling and a calmness that would carry through to our designs. We design with simplicity and minimalism in mind. We create swimwear essentials that skip over the clutter and embellishments and focus on timeless design. 

Noa Kai Jungle PrintNoa Kai’s colors and patterns are inspired by nature—take our hand-drawn jungle print for example. The simplicity of our designs represents how we want our human footprint reflected on the environment—minimal, clean and tasteful. Noa Kai strives to create a balance with the natural beauty of our world. A focus on neutral tones and patterns seen in nature allow the wearer to become one with the environment instead of an out-of-place tourist that leaves more than footprints.

The brand is a reflection of how Mari and her mother/co-founding partner Mika choose to live. A life free of clutter. Calm yet always in motion like the waves. A life of freedom as entrepreneurs. A life of travel.

From our adopted island roots, this is what Noa Kai is about.

Photo Credits: Miranda Tillinghast @mirandatillinghast wearing Noa Kai Swimwear shot by Ryan Tenney @_ryantenney_ / Cece Trautschold @cecetrautschold wearing the Jungle print shot by Amadeo Agis @exceedthelimits


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