Husband and wife team, Chris and Christiana Kalos, have been proudly handcrafting since 2004. Both come from a background in design, professionally and academically. In 2009, they officially began sales of their whimsical creations under the name Mahoohoo.
I met them at this year’s weekend-long Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco, billed as “a large-scale DIY marketplace event, featuring hundreds of the best indie craft designers and makers around.” Indeed, with 225 vendors showcasing everything from witty crochet cacti to silver fangs on a chain, it was as advertised.
Mahoohoo makes everything from paper goods to jewelry and apparel. It is all done by hand and I'm told, for the most part, from scratch.
Although they are from opposite coasts--he’s from the West Coast and she’s from the East Coast--they were drawn to each other’s colorful tongue-in-cheek point of view. This comes through in everything they make.
“We met our first semester at California College of Arts and Crafts, now known as California College of the Arts,” Chris said. “The whole class had just pinned up self portraits and one of the drawings on the wall was flirtatiously rolling her eyes at me. I looked around to find the pretty girl who had drawn herself this way. I found Christiana.”
Chris, 34, is an architect and Christiana, 30, is a fashion designer.
“We both love to use our hands and have a deep respect for well crafted and well-considered objects, as well as, a desire to marry the fantastic together with craft and rigor,” Christina said.
The Kalos’s best memory about starting Mahoohoo was the night they decided on a name.
“We were playing a game of Balderdash with friends and were asked to define the word Mahoohoo," Christina said. "The definition we gave was “a snug-fitting ceremonial undergarment". We were designing underwear at the time and from then on, were dubbed Mahoohoos.”
Since then, they have undertaken sock animals. One of the customer favorites is Basil the Elephant. They've also begun printing their own line of cards with a Rorschach-theme.
While they could have someone else build their displays, print their business cards, make hang tags, model and photograph their line and maintain their website, they do it themselves because “we like to figure out how to do things and we think that we obtain a continuity that lives up to our expectations.”
In fact, Chris bought Christiana a barber’s chair ten years ago and they decided to put it to good use by exclusively cutting each other’s hair.
Hand-making everything from the components and assembly of their products and building their own display materials, keeps them quite busy. However, it’s all in good fun. When they’re not occupied with a Mahoohoo creation, they make the most of the Coastside. They get real joy out of a sunny day at Montara Beach, sunsets at Moss Beach, and the 360 degree view of the coast and Peninsula from the top of Montara Mountain. And last but not least, they enjoy the eats at Colombo’s Deli right here in Pacifica.
Currently, they sell their line directly from their Etsy shop, at trunk and craft shows and from a few small boutiques and galleries around San Francisco. They’ve got their eye on a few locations in Pacifica. Chris and Christiana tell us, “We have a library of small, quaint storefronts that we secretly covet and pine away for the day we will set up a studio and run a little shop.”