Ihana® is the brainchild of Brands United Group Pty Ltd founder, Paulitta Zito. A huge fusspot with expensive taste but unable to justify the cost of such things, she set out to find a way for everyone to afford the things they love. Raised in the country but always a city girl at heart, she moved to Melbourne at 18, and fell in love with the city's historical architecture and Victorian-style homes, developing a passion for creating products that lasted the test of time like those buildings. This is also where her love of the mid-century modern genre kicked in. Later, she discovered the simplicity and beauty of Scandinavian design, and became obsessed with a mix of these aesthetic loves.
Paulitta had always known that she was born to have her own business but didn't realise she had a knack for it until she was knee-deep in it. As often happens, a need in her own life uncovered her skills in this area, showing her how she could create products and handle the scale of work that comes along with mass production. Way before ghd hair straighteners were a thing, she braided her frizzy hair using hair extensions for years. As this wasn’t easily attainable in Australia at the time, she purchased them from the UK, then Russia. What started as a personal habit turned into a business as more and more people asked her where she “bought her hair.” The orders got bigger and bigger. She didn't know it at the time, but this was the beginning of her new career in sourcing must-have, high quality products. Not long after, she developed a hair extension bag to protect the hair when it wasn’t being worn. That was her first foray into creating a product from an idea to an actual product under her own brand.
At the same time, Paulitta’s passion for homewares and lifestyle products remained strong, as did her passion for leaving a mark in the world. She decided that she wanted to own a company with a plethora of brands within it, from homewares to lifestyle, beauty and beyond. Always one to dive in headfirst, she created 5 brands in a year, formed under the company, Brands United Group Pty Ltd. Brands included Ihana®, which was originally intended to be a beauty brand after she learned of the insanely high costs of professional cosmetic brushes when she studied makeup artistry; 'Dinna', which was focused on melamine dinnerware, and "Fuhoki", for textile items such as bedding. At the same time, Paulitta designed and developed a range of baby bean bags under the brand ‘Chibebe’.
Whilst all brands were commercial successes, Chibebe was a very customised, very time consuming one to manufacture alongside the others, since, as a baby product, it required extra attention. Nothing like it existed in Australia at the time, so she spent over 2 years working with the powers-that-be to determine the standards required for it, and then, how to make it so perfectly, it could not be beaten. This meant that everything else had to be put on hold while all attention was focused on it. Chibebe became something she nurtured from “conception to all grown up”. She poured so much love into it, it became her own "baby". But there was always that craving to return to homewares & lifestyle products. So after 12 years raising her "baby", she sold the Chibebe® brand in 2021.
Ihana® was always the ‘it' brand for Paulitta. The very essence of the word 'ihana' is everything that inspires her in everyday life. The Finnish translation of the word means, among other words 'wonderful, delightful, lovely, gorgeous, adorable...'. It's why she instantly related it to beauty products when she discovered the word after completing her makeup artistry training. After the sale of Chibebe, and having a moment to breathe and think about it, she realised that Ihana® was more deserving of much more than just beauty products. It was exactly what her passion for gorgeous products encompassed!
Within 1 week of Chibebe leaving the nest, and with a bunch of ideas she had stashed away in her mind over the years, Paulitta was busy sourcing new suppliers & manufacturers to bring those products to life. She also wanted to extend her scope by putting her own spin on products that she loved but didn’t have the right ‘vibe’ for herself and others who shared her love of timeless design.
Ihana® was reborn!
The Ihana® customer is one who loves - no, adores - high quality items at prices they can actually afford. The Ihana® customer doesn’t want to just add something to their wish list then look back at it later on, only to realise it's no longer available. They crave a brand that never lets them down. They want to brag to the world that they own an Ihana® product. And more importantly, when a friend pops by and asks, 'Where did you get that from?!', they can be proud to say Ihana®. As Chandler Bing would say, "Can there be a better compliment?"