|Karen E. Sotomura, president of Joseph K. &
Co., LLC, founded the business in 1985. Over two
decades ago, Karen - originally from Reading, PA
- was on vacation in Maui with relatives. Collecting
Christmas ornaments was a hobby of theirs and they
had hoped to bring home such souvenirs to Pennsylvania.
To their dismay, they only found shoddy trinkets
- nothing worth buying to display in their homes
or on their Christmas trees!
On a whim, Karen decided to research the market
and was surprised to learn that there was an unfulfilled
demand for Hawaiian Christmas ornaments. With
much determination (and the love and support of
her family), Karen started her wholesale/importing
business, Joseph K. & Co., LLC, in 1985. She
developed a unique line of souvenir ornaments
called Hawaiian Poi People, specifically
for the Islands' tourist, gift and local market.
Two years later, she expanded the product line
to include souvenir magnets.
In a matter of five years, her handful of Hawaiian
ornament and magnet designs had grown considerably!
She began producing items that would be more suitable
for other resort locations. Then in 1990, the
business was expanded to North America and to
everyone's delight, the products were very well
With the growing popularity of personalized gifts,
the company began concentrating its efforts towards
this burgeoning niche industry. In less than one
year, the entire product line was modified to
allow for hand personalization. Today, we specifically
design all of our products to be personalized.
As the popularity of specialty retailing (mall
carts) and the demand for turnkey programs increased,
the Santa's Pen® division was established
in 1996. Santa's Pen is a turnkey, owner-operated
cart concept featuring personalized ornaments
and gifts. The program was designed to provide
quality seasonal products and business expertise
to entrepreneurs interested in becoming a specialty
retailer (mall cart owner / operator). Today,
there are Santas Pen carts in most major
malls across the country and it is the nations
largest specialty retailing program for personalizable
Christmas ornaments and gifts!
In 2000, we united two very popular concepts
decorative home accessories and personalization
and created a new & exclusive collection
of products featuring childrens home furnishings:
INITIALS by Joseph K. This adorable assortment
of room and desktop accessories can be personalized
easily with our unique, patent-pending alphabet
letter components and decorative charms.
Two years later, we opened our first seasonal
retail outlet in Honolulu for the holidays. That
venture was so successful that we decided to operate
our own Santas Pen cart the following year
for Christmas again. We have since expanded to
two year-round cart locations and a retail store
with over 1,000 square feet of space!
We are now making our popular personalized products
available online and look forward to serving you!
(Karen Sotomura has lived in Hawaii for over 30
years now. She is happily married to Joseph Sotomura
and together they have two teenage daughters -
Joanna and Samantha - and two Maltese - Kea and