Dean Miller Hawaiian Island Prints brings the beach indoors
Picture two twenty-something surfers shopping for sheets for their apartment. Between cabbage roses, Stars Wars and Blue's Clues, they find precious little selection that suit their hip, surf-obsessed personalities.
So they visit a fabric store, find a few cool Hawaiian prints in bright hibiscus patterns, then have the local dry cleaners sew them up for sheets. And the rest, as they say in Hawaii, is legend. Since this humble beginning, their company, Dean Miller Hawaiian Island Prints has really ridden the big one. Comforter covers, throw blankets and pillows, shower curtains, bath towel sets, window curtains and baby blankets in Hawaiian print motifs have become all the rage. The brightly patterned aloha bedding comes in prints featuring traditional hibiscus flowers, long boards, hula dancers, pineapples, tikis and even daiquiris.
They appeal to just about everyone, from children on up. This year alone they have racked up more than $300,000 in annual sales.
"We filled a niche that just needed to be filled, " says the owner of the Santa Ana-based enterprise. "We looked at the industry and everything was so bland and similar that we just wanted to add a little fun and bring some island accents into the home."
The company name originates from a "kama'aina" (local) legend named Dean Miller, who was said to reside in the majestic beauty of Kauai's rainforest, and hunted wild boar, fished Hawaii's prolific oceans, bathed under towering waterfalls and slept on a bed of Hawaiian flowers.
"The story embodied everything our company was about," said the owner. Whether the legend is true or not, they thought it was the perfect name for their new business.
The perfect market for their company is the specialty surf market. Names like Hilo Hattie, Quicksilver, Toes on the Nose, Reyn Spooner, Becker, Hobie's, Ron Jon and Surfride are among the wholesale customers that stock Dean Miller products in their stores. Although Dean Miller doesn't really sell directly to consumers, the public is welcome to browse through the product catalog and buy online at www.deanmillerprints.com.
Dean Miller location in a Santa Ana industrial area suits them perfectly, the owner says. "We're here mainly for economics, easy distribution to our customer base and centralized shipping." But there is one other good reason the owner cites for being in Santa Ana, "It's close to the beach," he says.