Heels & Picks: Full Spot flaunts Italian flair
BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Sometimes the smallest of moments and twists in life’s road can expose a whole new opportunity on the horizon. Case in point: Full Spot, an Italian brand of bags and watches that has found it’s way to Waikiki.
Hawai’i distributors Sarah Abbruzzee and Mara Young fell in love with the colorful, functional line with a twist after Young returned from a trip to Italy with one of the brand’s signature bags.
After oohing and aahing over the bag as only women can, Abbruzzee and Young reached out to Full Spot looking to represent the brand in Hawai’i.
Timing, as they say, is everything. The connection between Abbruzzee, Young and Full Spot happened right at the moment when the brand, having established a strong presence in Europe, was taking the line abroad to open up storefronts and launch the line in Argentina, Portugal, Asia and the United States.
So what made these two entrepreneurs fall in love with Full Spot in the first place? I stopped by their store, Ohana Island Style at Waikiki Beach Walk (upper level, just past Cheeseburger in Paradise), for an introduction to the line and to talk story with Abbruzzee.
I had checked out the Full Spot website before heading to the store, so I recognized the sleek, bright, signature style of the bags well before I saw any signage on the storefront. You know your product stands out when instant recognizability is in your corner. The bright, sleek, modern-looking tower of O Bag totes in the storefront window is hard to miss.
Available in a myriad of colors, Full Spot’s bags are shaped like a tote with a streamlined construction and are made of EVA, a rubbery material.
“You can wipe them down,” Abbruzzee said. “Moms can wipe the banana and crackers from the kids off … with ease. Beachgoers can get rid of sand in a snap without damaging the bag.”
The cool part about Full Spot bags is the versatility. Multiple handles are available, and you can interchange them. Rope, leather, EVA; whatever works for you. My personal favorite is a faux fur trim. It can be bought separately and is easily attached to the Full Spot tote, making it perfect for a night on the town or a concert.
There is a little something for everyone at Ohana Island Style. Full Spot’s maroon or black O Bag with a sleek EVA or leather handle is perfect for a business meeting. The Beach O Bag is engineered so a beach mat or umbrella can fit straight through the bag from side to side. All of the bags are waterproof.
For those looking for something smaller, there is the Pocket, a smaller bag available in the same bright colors as the O Bag.
As Abbruzzee walked me through the store, toddler in tow (she has one child, while Young is the mother of five), I was struck by how well the brand fuses functionality with style. I seem to cart around my entire life in my purse. My friends and family pick up my purse and exclaim, “What is IN this thing?!?,” so the size of the O Bag is appealing. You can fit a lot into one of those bags and still rock a polished look.
Full Spot isn’t only about bags; they also carry a cool line of watches with a twist. Bands made from EVA are available in multiple sizes, with the watch faces available in several different colors and styles, and they are interchangeable. Silver, white, turquoise, black, neon — the choices are endless. You can purchase a band in your choice of color, then arm your fashion arsenal with several different watch faces to wear depending on your mood or outfit.
After chatting and having fun with the merchandise, Abbruzzee realized we had both lived on Maui and she was familiar with my music, having seen The Throwdowns perform there in the past.
“I love your band! You guys have that punk edge!”
I’m looking forward to rocking my new pink Full Spot watch onstage at my next concert, and my boyfriend is looking forward to a new era in which it’s possible I will be on time. Sometimes.
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.