KAPA got the opportunity to sit down (virtually of course) with a friend of ours who lives on Hawaii Island, Astania Caputo.
Astania wears many hats, she is a business owner, an etiquette coach, a loving mom and passsionate wife. We thought she would be the perfect person to feature in our ongoing segment, “In the Closet of...”
“It’s not about the destination or the journey. For me, it's about the progression”.
Astania first moved to Kauai in 2004, and then to the Big Island in 2008. She has two beautiful and talented kids, Cashton and Meili. Her husband Mike works for the fire department, and is a celebrated photographer himself. He is very much his own man of action who we look forward to covering very soon. Keep an eye out for Mike Caputo, when he isn’t going viral online or putting out a fire. Stick around with KAPA for the scoop on his adventures.
This spotlight is on Astania’s portion of the closet. See you in a second Mike.
Astania moved from the mainland to Hawaii to start a family and build her businesses in sunny Hawaii nei! Astania is in the business of communication; more so; proper communication. When she was younger she wondered, “what is the best way to say things?” She studied business etiquette, international protocol and cultural differences in communication and business. She has worked for private companies, firms and also worked for the news as an etiquette expert. So when she moved to Hawaii, she was eager to connect with the community and the local styles and values of communication. She immediately opened up her home to her neighbors and their friends and families. Many of them she did not know as she had just moved to the Big Island. In her living room the community gathered with Astania and her family to talk about aloha and the best ways to do so. She eventually started to work with youth entering private schools such as Kamehameha on important values such as interviewing with a solid foundation of communication skills. She is also a coach on interview skills and poise to those entering into pageants. She found that when she taught her students etiquette, it would trickle up into the household through the keiki to their parents.
“Communication and etiquette are universal skills that can be applied everywhere...through strong communication skills people recognize their own confidence. That’s all I want people to do, and don’t be fearful of it.” -Astania
Astania had to say in regards to her motivations and her drive, she lives by three simple rules and hopes others adopt them for themselves as well.
The first is to never leave the path built for you. Second, to go easy on yourself and know it will be okay. And third, is to know you are worthy of the best.
“We need to give ourselves permission to have the very best, and then share it.”
Astania draws inspiration from living in her own truth and by being so immersed in her work. She has surrounded herself, and her community, with the best she can muster.
This keeps her customers coming back and keeps her head in the game.
All her businesses are connected and feed one another. By living in her value system she is able to, through her works, promote manners, etiquette, poise, communication skills, and provides a platform for all the above. For Astania, integrity is number one. We are on our journey to greatness and we will get there more quickly if we do right by those around us, our community. She looks at the world as her living room, and hopes that we all move through life with a similar philosophy.
“When you have people in your living room, you want them to feel welcome and comfortable.”
If we all communicated with each other, even if we are strangers, as if we were just hanging out in our living rooms, what a friendlier world we would be living in. She has literally opened up her home and living room to host the community and make sure everyone feels seen and understood.
“Perspective is key. We should say ‘go for the challenge’ not ‘overcome weakness'. Failure is not when something does not work out, failure is not trying to make something work in the first place.”
In changing how we use language and how we view the concepts we hold behind words, we can shift the negative thought patterns we have about others and ourselves. Here at KAPA we recognize that so many people live while telling themselves negative narrations about the world and themselves. This can be corrected in something so radically simple as a shift in perspective.
Astania recognizes that that is much easier said than done, it takes a lot of work to reprogram ourselves. She not only is here to honor that work, but to help those in her community learn how to do it. “We must do as much as possible to know what even is possible.”
When it comes to fashion Astania has a lot of ideas about what to wear for what. She told us she does not have a favorite look, style or even garment. It all depends on how she feels, where she is going, and how she wants to make others feel. She knows that when you look your best, you truly are at your best.
“Inner beauty is important. But let's be realistic, your outer presentation and beauty matters too. When you have your best foot forward you honor your inner beauty.”
In Astania’s closet, there is a look for every occasion. She stands by the position of quality over quantity, which is why she does not necessarily have a favorite look or article of clothing. Everything in her closet is quality and is ready to be shown off for the appropriate occasion.
There is a fashion protocol for every situation, the beach, school, court, work and a night out on the town. For Astania, one can literally dress for success in that what you wear cues how the world will observe and interact with you. “What I’m wearing is my best foot forward for whatever situation I am in”, and that is its own kind of power. Having come from Chicago, Astania enjoys aloha shirts and that they are unique to Hawaii in that they can be both casual and professional.
On the mainland there is a stricter regimen for professionalism, but in Hawaii we aren’t so uptight about what we consider clean cut, crisp, professional and fresh.
“There is so much we value and that we put forward here that other people simply do not do in other places” Astania told us, this certainly applies to how and what we wear here in the 808 state.
In these photos, Astania sports some fantastic clothes from three of her favorite stores in Hilo on the Big Island. Simply Sisters, Hana Hou, and items from The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo. We have some exclusive write ups on these three shops at the end of this segment, and KAPA has planned to cover all three stores personally. Keep an eye out for the upcoming scoops and stories on these beautiful garments and those who design them.
“I love these shops, I love the women behind them. They are excellent members of the community and I love their values, they have the best energy. When it comes to what I wear it's not the thread, but what holds the thread together. The energy in those threads. Invest in staple items, things people will remember you for. Items that are classic yet trendy that make you look good. When you’re wearing quality you represent quality”.
All of us have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus this past year, and that certainly applies to what we wear or in this case, did not wear. Astania however has not been as affected by the virus as many would assume. She’s a busy business woman indeed with a lot to do and a lot of people to put together and connect. But Astania told KAPA that she has been working online and from home for some time. She, like what many of us experienced in 2020, dresses for her work video calls all the time anyway. In fact, Astania has fallen in love with the aina all over again during the lock and shutdowns. Can any of you relate or feel the same?
“I find myself gardening and growing my own food. I don’t care anymore about having to drive for hours at a time to get somewhere, I am happy to be out and about and to be going somewhere.”
When we asked her what she missed most about the world and about fashion before the virus hit. She had this to say-
“The masks have helped prevent the spread of the virus and have made a lot of us feel safer but I hope the virus completely passes us soon because there is so much beauty in one's face. And so much of our communication is done through facial expressions.”
Astania, like us here at KAPA mag are eager to see everyone's beautiful, bright faces once again.
So please move with aloha everyone, so we can ditch the face masks and honi honi like we are accustomed to. If you’re looking for an etiquette coach, need some interview skills, or looking for basic communication techniques we here at KAPA mag HIGHLY recommend Astania Caputo.
We look forward to what Astania works on next, as we are sure it will dazzle all of Hawaii island.
This is In the Closet with Astania Caputo.
Story by KAPA MAG - More than a Magazine 2021
Photography by: Nicholas Souza @keonesouza