top of page

Femmes Who Spark Soul: Mariana Echegoyen Sterling, founder of Waikiki based brand Las Olitas

I haven't featured a Femmes Who Spark Soul in awhile, but as I was taking a beach walk the other day I was reflecting on how many bad ass female business owners there are in Hawaii. My friends and I always talk about how it's quite literally the land of the boss babe - there are so many amazing women starting really cool, creative businesses. Earlier this year I discovered Mariana and her brand- Las Olitas - and immediately fell in love with her neoprene (waterproof!) bags - the bright tropical floral prints are so nostalgic of my preteen years rocking Roxy hibiscus print bikinis in the 90s (tell me this wasn't GOALS) . The other day I was cruising Waikiki with my husband in my Las Olitas bag and pareo, Mariana quite literally tackled me and was like THATS MY PAREO! We gave each other a big hug and the rest is history.

Waikiki skateboarders with Las Olitas neoprene bags

Your name and where you live? 

Mariana Echegoyen Sterling and we live in Waikiki

Where did you grow up?

 I grew up in The Basque Country, Bilbao, North of Spain

When did you move to Hawaii?

My brother did an exchange program, we visited him and I died the moment I landed lol - I told myself I will for sure live here one day, years later I was living in Paris, going to school for fashion design and a few of my brother’s classmates came to visit and I started dating one of them, so when I graduated in 2010, I decided to move here with him.

Las Olitas neoprene bags Waikiki Hawaii

What do you love about living in Hawaii?

Our lifestyle here is just A MA Z I N G, it feels like we live on vacation 365 days a year even if we have full time jobs and super busy schedules. Being able to surf after work, to have a “beachful” day on a Tuesday, those things are just priceless.

When did you start Las Olitas?

Las Olitas started in my mind years ago, I have always had a dream of having a brand with just flowers and crazy colors. When i first moved to Hawaii I went to the local fabric store and I melted into a puddle the moment I saw all the colors and Hawaiiana prints, but at the time it wasn’t “cool,” I was just that tacky white girl, lol! So I made clothes at the time and wasn’t really understood here. But fast forward 15 years and now what was “tacky” is everything. In September we went to Tahiti and my bags got soaked. We were always in boats, and kept on thinking to myself - I need to change the game! I landed on Oahu and contacted 100 neoprene factories and found the “ONE”. November 2023 I made the first bag and at that moment my life changed. 

Las Olitas tropical print neoprene bags Waikiki Hawaii

What's the inspiration behind the brand?

Las Olitas is for sure a blend of where I am and where I come from - Europe meets Hawaii. I get inspired by simply walking and smelling jasmine. It sounds odd but I swear just evading myself in a long walk makes me create a new collection. Surfing with my husband at Queens, watching the buildings from the line up, just brings so much joy to me that my mind is empty so I have room for creativity.

What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business?

To see that people get it! It makes me so stoked to see people like you wearing my pareo and my bag all at once. I go to bed in peace and with my heart so full. The fact that stores contact me, that I don’t have to beg retailers to have my product, also how people are so patient with me, waiting for weeks for their orders.

Describe one of the most exciting moments that you’ve experienced so far for your business.

There are a few,  this past week I got word that Las Olitas won the best beach bag and beyond of  2024 award, I cried. This was huge. Also when i did a pop up at Acacia flagship store, for sure a pinch me moment. All the photoshoots i did with Tara @ladyslider, when visions came into reality And also all the collabs, dreams are coming true.

What are your dreams for Las Olitas?

Dream big or go home right! ? Boutiques in Honolulu, Malibu, The Hamptons, Mallorca, an apparel line, and a big department store order!

How do you balance being a Mom and a business owner?

I don’t hahahhaha, i am a hot mess, but i also have THE BEST husband, trust me he ain’t perfect but he is the best. We do a lot together and we bring Alaia, our son, to the studio. It's messy but it works for us. Being a mom was also a dream that i’ve always had so although some days are harder than others I love it and would not change a thing.

What do you do when you’re feeling stuck creatively?

Looking at home decor is my thing, which is weird because that is what you do! Home decor just relaxes me and makes me dream, the colors some interior designers use for a kitchen maybe? Might inspire me to create something cool.

Las Olitas neoprene bags Waikiki guy skateboarding

Advice for women who want to start their own business?

Focus on you and your product and start it even if it's small. Be confident in what you do and own it! Make your dream happen.

Describe a perfect Sunday on Oahu!

Wake up slow with the fam, make smoothies and waffles with Alaia’s assistance, pack the beach bag, take turns to surf Queens, get sunkissed, take a siesta and go on a family hike with our frenchie Oreo. That’s literally the PERFECT day for us

What advice would you give to your younger self?

To not listen or focus on what others think or are doing, just follow your gut and dreams and you will be ok.

What are you most proud of?

I am just proud of what  I have accomplished on my own, without help. I made this out of pure passion and it's becoming everything and more I have ever wished for my brand.

You can check out the whole line of Las Olitas bags and gear on thier website here and follow along on their Instagram @las0litas.


< O L D E R
N E W E R >
bottom of page