Jimmy Gramblin got really into Hawaiian history while living in Maui for a year. Ask him about the native eucalyptus trees, and he’ll tell you a story about how they were around when Captain James Makee, an 1800s whaler-turned-sugar-farmer, was hanging out with the king of Hawaii (David Kalakaua).
So when a 2014 tropical storm downed thousands of the ancient trees, Gramblin found a unique way to give them new life.
“The idea of them sitting on the forest floor and rotting just made me sick,” says Gramblin, who was inspired to launch MOKU, a fashion accessory company that utilizes the wood to create various forms of laser-cut jewelry and accessories. MOKU means “island” in Hawaiian.
Gramblin and his wife, Alicia, a native Tulsan, moved to Sand Springs later that year and brought their company and the wood with them. Now they also use locally sourced wood like bodark, walnut, cedar and oak.
“Our mission is to create products from forestry that has been knocked down,” says Gramblin, who co-designs the wearables with Jake Purdum. “Our packaging is all chipboard, so our products and packaging are all bio-degradable. We want to make less of an imprint on the Earth and more on people.”
Gramblin says the wood earrings are MOKU’s most popular product, and the wood wallet is his personal favorite. Necklaces are the most requested item that have yet to be made, but Gramblin says they are working on it.
A pair of MOKU earrings // Valerie Wei-Haas
He and Purdum are inspired by geometric Native designs globally: Polynesian, Native American, Mayan. “Our designs are inspired at the core by this underlying design pattern that can be found in all tribal cultures,” Gramblin says. “We take that inspiration and reduce it down to its simplest form with the goal of creating something that is truly timeless.”
Items can be purchased at shopmoku.com and locally at Cabin Boys Brewery and Made. They also are for sale at locations in Norman, Oklahoma City and Maui.