CEO Amanda Corby Talks Story with Hawaii: In Real Life

Re-posted from NonstopHonolulu & Hawaii: In Real Life

No doubt, you’ve seen a lot of things popping up in Kakaako over the last couple of years as part of Kamehameha Schools’ revitalization of the area. One of the players in that hip new vibe is Amanda Corby (@UMUHawaii), who moved in last year as a partner in Taste with Brandon and Poni Askew (@StreetGrindz) and chef Mark Noguchi (@Musubman). She’s no stranger to Hawaii’s food scene, as she’s a partner in life with Noguchi and has been involved in bringing awareness to various farm/food/feeding programs in Hawaii through her public relations company, Under My Umbrella.

As dynamic and visible as she is, Corby is still very much behind the scenes for a lot of these ventures: She’s the one herding chefs, calling media, and orchestrating logistics. Her next big project is Cyclovia, coming up in May, on Mother’s Day — in Kakaako, of course. You’ll hear more about this in the next few weeks, but it’s basically an event that will temporarily close various streets to motorized traffic while attendees safely enjoy recreational activities such as walking, bicycling, jogging, skateboarding, and maybe rollerblading (if anyone is still into that). Ciclovias originated in Bogota, Columbia in 1974 and have been implemented worldwide to promote healthy, active lifestyles and educate the community about bicycle facilities and pedestrian improvements in local neighborhoods.

We caught up with Corby to talk about Taste, Under My Umbrella, Pili Hawaii, and Cyclovia. I eat at Taste all the time, but for those of you who are still trying to figure it out, here’s a good explanation, as well.

Watch the video clip here

Celebrate Valentine’s Season With UMU- Part 1

Alex-250x3001st Date in Our Black Book:  A sustainably romantic evening with Alex O’Loughlin & Sustainable Coastlines

Under My Umbrella is proud to welcome Sustainable Coastlines to our family.  We have been busy planning their first large-scale fundraiser which is happening this weekend.  In conjunction with the Hawaii Five-0 cast,  we will host our “Heart The Ocean” Annual Fundraiser on February 9, 2013 at the beautiful Elks Club.
We are looking forward to an evening of sustainable fun with our very handsome celebrity host Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin).  There will be live music by Cynth & The What’s His Faces and Discord & Rye, delicious food, a marine debris fashion show, a robust  silent auction, and a whole lot of fun.

Sustainable Coastlines is a 501c3 non-profit that is dedicated to protecting Oahu’s beaches. Their mission is to inspire local communities to care for their coasts through hands on beach cleanups. Recently established in February 2010, Sustainable Coastlines has already been a huge success; engaging people of all ages in beach cleanups.  In the past two years they have organized nearly 4,000 volunteers who have worked together to remove 27,454 pounds of garbage from our beaches. This special event will celebrate and honor those who have contributed to keeping Hawai‘i’s beaches and environment clean while raising the funds needed to keep their programs running.

For more information on the great work of Sustainable Coastlines  visit

There are only a few tickets left, but if you hurry you might be able to get yours.

And We’re Back…

We love our clients! We hope everyone had a enjoyable and festive holiday.  UMU Headquarters is back open for business and excited for all of the projects we have scheduled for 2013. We are loving our new space in Kaka`ako and especially loving all of the great collaboration that has been happening. We are lucky to be a part of such an amazing community.

This weekend we will be on the North Shore for another elegant affair at the prestigious Dillingham Ranch.  Our sister company, Pili Hawaii will be providing a mouth watering culinary experience and of course we will be handling the logistics and making sure the event looks amazing.  Stay tuned for photos from this event and updates on all the fun we have planned for the first quarter.

Celebrating Environmental Leaders

On November 17th the UMU team will gather in the beautiful Waimea Valley for the 10th Anniversary of the Surfrider Foundation’s John Kelly Awards. We are happy to be the event producers for this annual affair. Every year this event reminds us why we love our non-profit clients so much. We continue to sell out the event with over 300 individuals from all walks of life who gather to be inspired by and give recognition to environmental leaders of the past and present. The crowd of like-minded individuals fuels the soul and from the awards ceremony and the natural beauty of the valley to the silent auction filled with surf gear, artwork and culinary experiences, the evening always ends on a good note (often provided by a impromptu live jam session with Jack Johnson).

We hope you will join us as we celebrate the people and businesses of Hawaii who are working to protect our islands natural beauty. The event will take place at Waimea Valley Pavillion & Great Lawn at 6pm.  Tickets are $60 and available online.  All proceeds from this evening will benefit Surfrider Foundation’s Oahu Chapter and its efforts to preserve our coasts. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit
This year’s awardees include Muumuu Heaven, pro surfer Torrey Meister and Capt. Charles Moore.

Muumuu Heaven is being awarded in the Hawaii-based company category for its leadership in the community and its advocacy work for Hawaii on an international level. The shop’s designs are created with the purpose of minimizing the impact on the environment while maximizing their fashion-forward thinking.

Torrey Meister, also known as the “Happy Hawaiian,” is an explosive surfer whose positive attitude shines through in his surfing as well as his demeanor on land. He is one of the Islands’ top surfers. As an active advocate for the Surfrider Foundation, Torrey promotes environmental awareness and appeared in a PSA supporting Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign.

Last but certainly not least, the event will honor Capt. Charles Moore, an environmental researcher and dynamic speaker who is best known for bringing the North Pacific Garbage Patch to the world’s attention. Moore founded the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in 1994 and then launched a research vessel and began voyages across the Pacific to document the rise of marine plastic pollution.

See you there!

A Fairytale Wedding at Sunset Ranch

UMU was called in last minute for damage control on an elegant wedding taking place at the beautiful Sunset Ranch on the North Shore of Hawai`i.  Should this be a new service we offer?  Damage Control? UMU Ambulance Services–we’ll clean up their mess with our “binder full of women” with magic wands?  Maybe, but it will be expensive!

Luckily,  we love deadlines and a good challenge, so we hit the ground running. After the call from the bride our team spent the next 10 days tying up loose ends, coordinating vendors and adding a few special touches that would make this wedding everything the bride had dreamed of.  From the breathtaking scenery of Sunset Ranch, the locally delicious meal from Town restaurant, the amazing photography from the talented Anna Kimto the many loving friends who stepped up to assist with the florals, vegan cakes and vintage photo booth–this was truly a night to remember for everyone.

Greening Our Future

On August 25th, UMU was proud to present the transformation of a vacant warehouse into an elegant gala after months of  collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, Hawaii Chapter, RIM Architects and a solid group of volunteers for the 2nd annual Green Gala at Warehouse MR1.1 in Kakaako. This fundraiser and awards dinner celebrated the efforts of local designers, builders and community leaders for  their stewardship towards a greener future.
Falling in line with the USGBC’s sustainable mission, our team worked endlessly to transform this rundown warehouse into a night of sustainable elegance. Thanks to the assistance of great volunteers and like-minded organizations, we were able to elevate the possibilities of what a vacant warehouse has to offer. The unique venue provided the UMU and our dedicated planning committee with a chance to embrace the intent of LEED credit MR 1.1 by reusing and transforming an empty warehouse into a classy Gala.

Throughout the evening guests enjoyed a locally inspired dinner courtsey of The Whole Ox Deli and Prima, signature drinks by local celebrity mixologists  Joey Gottesman and Dave Newman of Pint & Jigger as well as beer and wine garden. The evening  highlighted a eco-themed silent auction and live entertainment by Hot Club Of Hulaville.  Our zero waste stations, courtesy of Tree3s, helped to lessen our environmental impact.  We are proud to report only one bag of trash was created from this 300+ person event.  Everything else was either reused, recycled, composted or fed to our four-legged friends on a farm.

Award winners of the evening included Henk Rogers and The Blue Planet Foundation for the Outstanding Pioneer Award; Hunt Companies for the Legacy Award and special honors of  Punahou Schools and Forest City as Hawai’i’s Green “LEEDers” in Hawai`i.

Proceeds of over $25,000 from this event will benefit the USGBC’s mission which is to create an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous quality of life for all in Hawaii through the transformation of the built environment and the way it is planned, designed, constructed and operated.  We truly loved the level of creativity and collaboration this event fostered and we are already planning on how to make it even more “out-of-the-box” for next year. Another non-traditional “gala” we are so proud to be a part of.  For more telling photos visit Honolulu Magazine’s event slideshow courtsey of Ross D. Hamamura.

Collaboration on the Ranch

The UMU crew spent the weekend on the North Shore with our new sister company Pili Hawai`i. We might have been hard at work, but with scenery like this and such an appreciative client, we were a pretty happy bunch.

If you haven’t heard yet, Dillingham Ranch is for sale and UMU & Pili were hired to throw a little gathering for potential buyers. The already beautiful Ranch got a little facelift and invited an intimate group of  about 80 people for an afternoon on the ranch. Our clients were looking for a way of fusing elegance with the local feel the North Shore is known for.  We had a quick UMU pow wow, gathered our thoughts on Pinterest and decided on a “contemporary luau” theme which we mindfully conveyed in every aspect of the event.

Chef Mark Noguchi brought his expertise to the table with a locally inspired menu including a poke bar and Daniel Anthony pounding Pa`i`ai.  We also invited our friend Shaun from Aloha on the Rocks to set-up a shave ice station and kept homemade rosemary citrus spritzers flowing.

Oh and just for fun, there was a helicopter tour so guests could explore the estate from above. I’m not sure if Amanda is planning on buying the ranch, but somehow she landed herself a ride. Until then, we’re building sandcastles in our dreams.


Tip of the Week – You do great work. Now, don’t forget to launch your website

This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, BUT now that we are finally up and running we are happy to let you learn from our  procrastination. For us, word of mouth has truly been the key to our growing list of amazing clients.  We started as a little company working with local businesses and non-profits we had standing relationships with. They were so impressed with our services they told their friends.  Now, as our little business grows-up, we are still working within our community and thankful that we  continue to expand our UMU family  through word of mouth, however, our network is expanding. As we more frequently play with the “big boys” at the national and international level (who might not know our nimble crew by name), we finally stopped stalling and got our site up.

For those of you who might be falling into the same “my website can wait” pattern, here is a little motivation and some great tips from titled “Website Must Haves”. Enjoy the article, enjoy our website and visit often for more tips, events and other fun stuff that will make your life better.

A huge MAHALO! to our amazing graphic designer Jess Johnston and all the others who stuck with us through this two year process!