Back in the early 1990s, Bob Gauthier planned an escape to the islands to refresh, restore and reboot his life. What he found there forever changed him and put him on a path to helping others do the same. As founder of Kokua Trading Co., which means “aloha in action,” Bob has created a company dedicated to outfitting everyday travelers—and helping them create and share kokua wherever they go.
Literally translating to “aloha in action,” Kokua Trading Co. embodies the essence of the Hawaiian islands, its people and culture. It’s an expression that means showing care for others and living the aloha spirit. In other words, it’s the heart and energy behind friendly acceptance—and the joy that comes from spreading that acceptance around the world.
With high-quality basics designed to be fashionable, comfortable, easy to coordinate and care for, Kokua Trading Co. apparel and accessories help equip people to take kokua to the masses. Because, done well, there’s no limit to what kokua can achieve.
The inspiration for Kokua Trading Co. traces back to the great “Papa Don.” Kokua founder Bob Gauthier first met the man he’d come to call his adoptive father in 1999. Says Bob, “I may not have known back then I was searching for a dad, but God sure did.” Little did Bob realize just how much the older man would influence and shape his future, all through Papa Don’s shining example of aloha love.
Don welcomed young Bob into his ohana (family) with open arms, sharing his time, home, wisdom and experiences. Over the years, the two men exchanged stories and created new memories together, all of it interwoven with kindness, acceptance and the feeling of family.
Papa Don’s embodiment of aloha love transformed the young Bob into the man he is today. Says Bob, “Kokua is Hawaiian for ‘aloha in action.’ This is our company’s slogan, our motto, our daily approach to life. Kokua Trading Co. brand is designed for you to live and share aloha with people you meet along your life’s journey. And it’s all inspired by the man who shared it with me, Papa Don.”
Kokua Trading Co. founder Bob Gauthier has built a career and numerous, lifelong friendships on his integrity and passion for serving others. His commitment to spreading kindness, along with 25-plus years in the apparel and promotions industries ensure a keen understanding of Kokua customers. It’s his goal to bring them high-quality products that anticipate their lifestyle needs, outfit their adventures and accompany them through decades of happy experiences.
In his daily life, Bob would tell you he gets joy from simple things, like a good bike ride, a long day on the water and an evening outdoors with friends. These small daily joys combined with his passion for taking care of customers feed his creative flow and help him spread kokua every day.
At Kokua Trading Company, our mission is to spread “aloha in action” by doing things in love and inspiring others to do the same. Through high-quality, comfortable, fashionable basics, we liberate the adventurer and outfit the traveler. Kokua “gears up” life’s journey, so you can grow, share and pay it forward through the people you encounter and the ohana (family) we build together.
Many people are unfamiliar with the Hawaiian word “kokua”. While the word itself essentially means to help, pitch in, or otherwise come together to give assistance, many have come to refer to the word as “aloha in action”. Here at Kokua Trading Company, we like to think of kokua as the embodiment of generosity, hospitality, and service.
These four words are at the core of what we do here, and who we are as a company:
We truly believe in giving back. That is why a portion of all of the items we sell goes directly to a charity in Hawaii that teaches kids how to care for the ocean, Nā Kama Kai. We are passionate about teaching kids how they can come together to take better care of our oceans and the surrounding environment.
The hospitality our founder Bob felt when he came to Hawaii is something he hopes to spread worldwide. His mission is that when people see Kokua gear they will be reminded to be a little more friendly to those around them, and show one another the amazing hospitality that is found on the Hawaiian islands.
When you forget about yourself, and work to help others, your life is immensely impacted. If everyone gave a little of themselves each day to help improve someone else’s day, the world would be a very different place. Even small random acts of kindness can help in powerful ways.
What all of these words really boil down to is love. Kokua Trading hopes to spread the same love that is felt in Hawaii throughout the world by introducing more generosity, hospitality and service to all of those we share this planet with.