Tiana Becker Gamble is proof that you can take the girl out of the island , but you can’t take the island out of the girl. While working for Fox Racing in California, this local wahine realized pretty quickly that there weren’t a lot of mainland outlets geared toward tropical wear—specifically bikinis.
“Being from Hawai‘i, you’re obsessed with bikinis,” Gamble says. “But all the blogs I saw out there were about more winter fashion, or fashion that you don’t wear in Hawai‘i.”
The action sports industry, while thrilling, just didn’t give Gamble that fix, so about 10 years ago, she and friend Ally Lopez started up lifestyle blog BikiniBird. That small two-person endeavor quickly grew to attract a monumental following. Designers were contacting them for styling, and the duo were writ- ing editorial content. All of this made for a well-rounded brand that would set the stage for a full-fledged business down the line.
It was also around this time that Instagram was establishing itself as a unique marketing tool in which Bikini- Bird soon found its niche market.
“We were getting thousands of likes on one item,” Gamble recalls. “We thought that we could do something ourselves, like offering a more curated selection of swimwear.”
That idea sparked the launch of BikiniBird’s online site, and the ideas just kept on coming. While BikiniBird was growing in popularity, Gamble made the move back home in 2010 after nearly 15 years on the mainland.
“I know that the future was to open a brick-and-mortar,” she adds. “I wanted to be the go-to company that could bring the coolest bikini options from every brand.”
BikiniBird, which opened in Kailua last January, is an undertaking of Gam-ble’s own making.
“It’s been really great,” she says of the transition. “It just fit because Kailua is a place where it’s still small town and feels more intimate.”
For Gamble, the creative side of curating bikinis and island-inspired wear is extremely alluring. It’s that process that led her to jump on board as president of Creative Design Hawai‘i in 2017.
The company, originally established in 1983, is just another avenue for Gam-ble’s creative juices to flow through.
“Its focus is on branding and curated marketing items to help businesses promote themselves in a new and cool way,” she explains. And styling and drafting products, it seems, it not so different from how she runs BikiniBird.
In fact, Gamble’s background in merchandising and design—and her marketing degree in international business from Loyola Marymount University—means she’s always going with the trends, providing fans with suits and accessories they’ll love. While her aptitude is based on experience, her insight also comes from her passion for fashion. It’s also what’s set Gamble’s heart on creating her own branded lifestyle wear line, so expect a lot more BikiniBird-exclusive items to pop up in the store as time goes on.
There’s no doubt that the storefront is a hit with locals and visitors, who can find one-of-a-kind pieces for lazy beach days or exciting tropical adventures.
However, Gamble hasn’t forgotten why she started BikiniBird in the first place. The blog is still alive and well, and guests can check out posts that reflect her eye for design and see what’s coming up next for the business. It’s also where the heart of BikiniBird is most evident.
“It’s kind of a broader thought of paradise,” she explains of the brand. “You want to fly there, you want to be there. It’s also the idea that you can be anywhere. You can be in all the places you’d want to wear your bikini.”
For more information, visit bikinibird.com or creativedesignhawaii.com.