Since its foundation in 2016, the unique and creative surf clothing brand has evolved from a form of personal expression for designer Temanava Terito, to a brand which individuals are encouraged to interpret as their own.
“It all began (from my experience as) a voyager. I sail on the Marumaru atua and other vakas, so being a voyager I was always wearing surf brands from other Pacific Islands and I thought, ‘why not start my own that embodies the Cook Islands’,” Terito said.
The 26-year-old designer says her main inspiration for the brand and what it signifies, is the ocean and its major role in Cook Islands culture.
“My passion is my culture, my heritage, my people and of course my ocean home - and Laylo personifies all of that.
“When you sail on the ocean you’ll realise every tide is different, every swell is different, every sunset is different. Everything is always changing and you will never get the same situation again.
“Each item of Laylo’s clothing remains unique. It is a one-off and I think that makes my brand special. Customers can be assured they will never see anyone else wearing their item of clothing, it gives an individual a point of difference and I think that is quite empowering,” a passionate Terito says.
Laylo began as a male and female clothing brand, but recently branched into baby clothes - a line that has been popular with parents in New Zealand.
“I was actually quite surprised when I realised that a major demographic and clientele was actual Kiwis and Australians,” Terito says.”
“Laylo is a locally owned, created and operated brand and I think that is something people appreciate.”
Terito says starting a clothing line on a small island has not been without its obstacles.
“One of the hardest things is sourcing product. I have a fantastic relationship with Fave Designs, and owner Ana File has been great in helping us with product. However,I have big dreams for Laylo.
“I would love to broaden our labels products to items such as towels or shorts but there is nowhere on the island that creates these - and that means I would have to source outside of the Cook Islands.
“I really want to stay a Cook Island, organic and local brand so I am in two minds about that.
“I also find that because the label is 100 per cent locally owned, I buy everything here, so my costs are higher. And there is competition with other stores both overseas and in the Cook Islands that offer clothing for a cheaper price.
“Though I think that the people that do support Laylo realise that the quality of the brand is fantastic and I think they appreciate that it is a Cook Island born and breed brand and I also think what we stand for has a lot to do with why people choose to buy Laylo.”
As for the name of the brand: “To me, Laylo means to just chill out, lay low, be humble and be who you are - we are all unique, everyone is different - that is what Laylo is. It’s a reminder to be who you are and stand out. Don’t blend in with everyone else in the world.
“Laylo is me, it is the ocean, it is the Cook Islands, it is my family but it is also you.”
Terito who is extremely Earth-conscious, hopes that in the future Laylo can offer people of the Cook Islands some more eco-friendly options.
“We are already involved in coral planting, but would love to be a driving force behind supplying products such as bamboo toothbrushes and reusable bags. That way we are actually giving back to our home land and hopefully leaving it better than we found it.
Laylo Creations can be found on Facebook, and the Punanga Nui Markets on Saturday.
For more information, contact Terito on Facebook or Instagram through the Laylo Creations account - alternatively Terito can be found sporting her Laylo apparel, a nu and a bamboo straw at the Punanga Nui markets on Saturday mornings.