Words: Raelyn Batacan | Photos: Marleen Tana
It’s a humbling moment to see your friends become parents, your coworkers progress in their careers and your classmates pursue their dreams. What I have found better than to experience their growth firsthand is to know their story. I’ve always loved picking people’s brains on certain topics and I more so enjoyed when they shared their motivations and inspirations in life, especially during a difficult time.
As a sophomore at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Drew Honda brainstormed every idea before finalizing Sweet Enemy, the final product that he and his sister put together.
“In the struggle of becoming something much [more] better than ourselves, we wanted to bring something to light of what could be greater for the community,”
Drew started his clothing brand inspired by his grandmother, Rose, who had fought different forms of cancer. The designs of each shirt were meant to incorporate things that we loved but also brought us pain. Each product encompassed both parts of the spectrum.
“This [Sweet Enemy] is in honor of her,” mentioned Drew.
Some things never really have a solid plan in place but when you’ve created something that gives back to the community, everything feels right when you’ve felt the gratitude of those on the receiving end.
With his mom’s involvement in non-profits – and at this time worked with the American Cancer Society – Drew’s passion for helping the community grew, and so did his brand. The exposure for Sweet Enemy expanded when Drew spent time making sandwiches for the homeless and setting up booths at events where all proceeds went into the Cancer Society.
After his grandmother’s passing and graduation coming around the corner, it became difficult to balance work, school and Sweet Enemy.
The support of his friends involved with UH athletics, as well as across the nation, helped to boost Sweet Enemy sales. Marcus Mariota and Michael Bennett are just a few athletes who have reportedly worn his shirts at press conferences. Public figures such as Miss Hawai‘i 2016 Allison Chu and national recording artist Jeremih also caught support for Drew’s clothing brand.
“We’re constantly searching for that one thing that we want to be doing our whole lives that will reach people, make an impact,” Drew said.
For Drew, starting Sweet Enemy was a challenge and a definite learning curve. Sweet Enemy continues to grow through Instagram (@sweetenemyclothing) and its countless number of supporters in the media.