Seniors Bring Henna Art to Chaminade


Miguel Dandan

From left, seniors Savannah Delos Santos and Nonglak “Kip” Kapileo.

A body art tradition that dates all the way back to 500 B.C. is now available at Chaminade.

Hogan entrepreneurs Savannah Delos Santos and Nonglak “Kip” Kapileo have started to offer henna tattoos to students on campus.

Delos Santos is a business marketing major graduating in 2019, while Kapileo is a business administration major receiving her bachelor’s degree this fall.

The idea came into mind after Delos Santos spent a summer in India as part of the Hogan Entrepreneur Program. There, she learned the similar form of body art called mehndi, which is commonly used during weddings.

“It was such an interesting form of art,” Delos Santos said. “I decided to buy some henna equipment when I got back [to Hawaii] and decided to try it out here.” 

Delos Santos and Kapileo started practicing the art by giving each other temporary tattoos with the dye. According to the two, the process consists of drawing a design using applicator bottles filled with the henna dye.

Once dried, the design stays on the skin for 1-3 weeks.

Photo Courtesy of @kipitsavvy
A Henna tattoo done by Savannah Delos Santos.

“After a bit of practicing, we decided we should try and make it profitable,” Delos Santos said.

The idea came into fruition after Delos Santos read a book called “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20,” a self-help book written by Stanford professor Tina Seelig. 

Since then, the two have opened their own Instagram page, and have called themselves “kipitsavvy.” Since the beginning of the semester, the duo has had more than 20 clients, many from Chaminade alone.

Delos Santos and Kapileo are planning to give a portion of their profits  to the Next Step Shelter in Kakaako, a shelter that both have volunteered at before. In addition, the two are working on being the henna tattoo artists for every CUH event. 

“We want to be there at every school event,” Kapileo said. “We see it as a way to bring more students to basketball or volleyball games here on campus.”

They also said that they want to be an affordable option for those wanting Henna tattoos.

“Places around Honolulu tend to overcharge people for Henna art,” Delos Santos said. “A small design on a hand would cost about $50.”

However, their prices are much lower. According to Kapileo, a $50 henna art piece would cost $10 if done by them. 

“For us it’s a learning process,” Delos Santos said. “But at the same time, it’s way to offer an art that is more affordable for students.”

Pricing ranges from $10 for a small hand piece to $30-$40 for a whole sleeve tattoo. They can be contacted through their Instagram page @kipitsavvy.