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July 12, 2019 3 min read

If you know me personally, then you that it is not uncommon to assign a friend or loved one a nickname. Sometimes I may give them to groups or families as a whole or individuals---but I do give them. Most everyone whom I feel comfortable with I call "brah", "dawg" or "homey". Then you may level up to "Homey G" or something similar. And then you move into full blown nicknames---my natural born kids have very definitive nicknames; and I won't put them on blast here---but as a trio they are 'The A Team". My 2 bonus sons are "TnT". And conversationally I call all my kids either brother or sister (a very Hawaiian trait.)  My friend Jeannie's husband, Phil, has been named "Phillycheese Steak" for years! I remember at Ricks College (nka BYU Idaho) I had a friend named Aaron and renamed him Will because I accidentally kept calling him Will and I really couldn't shake that---funny thing is his middle name was William---29 years later and I still call him Will.  The list is endless "BFF", "Murphy Brown", "The Godfather", "MedinaSan", "Blazing Saddles”,"Hooptie" get the picture! But there is a place where all nicknaming started for me---the one on whom all my naming skills were tested and that is my mother, Eleanor Kekuewa. As early as I can remember I called my mother "Ma"-- it was always "Ma". No not like that new horror film with Octavia Spencer---but just Ma. Probably because all of my brothers and sisters called her "Ma" (except my sister Kim, she weirdly called her "Mother"---she's bougie like that---and I will be beaten for that comment, but I digress...) As time went on though it changed based on what was going on in my life. For instance as a sophomore in high school I took French and learned "my mom" in French is Mon Mere and "my brother (as in friend)" in French is Mon Frere---so for a long period of time I called her "Mon Mere, Mon Frere" ---My mother, My friend. Then as I became a young adult I thought it was so funny that her work friends called her Ellie so I would call her "Ellie Girl" and took that one to depths of theatrical measure; truly digging deep to my inner "Hollywood" from the movie Mannequin. And then---as time moved on my mother’s yearly age was increasing but her face stayed the same.

Seriously, the woman is 86 and looks like this, and this was taken recently:


Here is a pic when I was one and another when I was 20:



Here is a pic from when my oldest son (now 23) was a baby and then when he came home from his mission:



You see my point---the woman never ages, she's like a Cullen from Twilight! When asked she attributes it to the moisture in the Hawaiian air---but my sister and I attribute it to good genes and we call it "The Oil of Ellay"---so you know I rode that nickname into the ground---I still use it!

As I became older and had similar life struggles to ones my mom had I developed a respect for her that far surpassed that of a daughter/mother and transcended to a woman to woman respect---so much so that I felt 'Queen Ellie" was the best suited name for her. And when hashtags became a thing, well, it was all history after that! #AllHailQueenEllie was inserted at the end of all posts about my mom---bakery related or not! 

As I began this business venture, I knew I wanted to highlight my mother in a branding sense as well as the overall vibe of the bakery. My mom is a simple sardines and poi kind of local Hawaiian lady---but she is classy as it gets! So, what you will find in Hawaiian Style Bakery will be Hawaiian classics like Haupia, Guava, Custard and Chantilly flavors delivered with class and a taste just like home. I knew the classic Red Palaka was the graphic print I wanted in all of our branding and I wanted to highlight the classy, elegant, warm aloha of the Hawaiian culture throughout the brand---just like Queen Ellie, down home and local Hawaiian with class, elegance and warm aloha!

So, all rise---hand over your hearts---ALL HAIL QUEEN ELLIE!



Michelle Ehulani Trejo
Michelle Ehulani Trejo

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