By Zoe Soderquist
The spirit of aloha is a central part of Wiki-licious, a Hawaii-based business that sells malasadas (yeast-leavened doughnuts) throughout various locations in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, and Alaska.
A former resident of Hawaii, Repeka Avegalio of Chandler craved the same donuts she loved from the island and was amazed when she found Wiki-licious. After following the brand’s social media pages, she found that Wiki had franchising opportunities and was quickly sold on the idea. Having previously started her own transcription business in California, she knew what it takes to run a business and opened her own franchise in Chandler.
“It’s a great opportunity to do things on my terms, learn something new, and grow something on my schedule,” she said. “It became a no-brainer with the cost of entry and the company values,” she says.
Aloha – an extension of warmth and caring without an expectation of returned sentiment – is central to how Avegalio runs her business, while valuing the community around her. She connects regularly with locals at events and at farmers markets, where she sells the company’s famed malasadas.
Through her franchise partnership, Avegalio has had the opportunity to partner with Poly Praise, a Phoenix nonprofit helping foster youth and underprivileged communities. She’s also partnered with a women’s club at Hamilton High School to donate a portion of her profits to its mission to empower young women and raise awareness of sexual harassment, assault, and rape.
Owning multiple businesses has been a learning experience for Avegalio.
“You learn pretty quickly to be resourceful and get through obstacles. I realize if something works or not in real time, and I can adapt,” she said.
She also shares that running the operation by herself has almost forced her to grow and leaves her accountable to herself each day to accomplish the tasks at hand.
Avegalio attributes much of her success to the community of Wiki franchise owners, of which she is a part. Many of her fellow franchisees come from similar backgrounds, hold similar values, and share a love of malasadas and the spirit of aloha.
“When you join the [virtual] leadership meetings, the entire screen is women. You realize that everyone isn’t a threat to you, but there’s room for all of us in the business,” she says. “You start to find a bond of sisterhood and togetherness and help others along the way to your own success.”
Being a woman has helped to open doors for Avegalio, as she has been fortunate to connect with other women who have helped her along the way and provided extra information at nearly every turn. She credits these relationships with helping her to get into Chandler’s Southwest Cajun Festival and Chandler Farmers Market, where bigger companies with more resources compete with the largely popular malasadas Wiki offers.
Often, Avegalio says, women will wait until they are overqualified to enter a position to feel confident enough to take such risks. She advises women to never second guess themselves and found that by owning a small business, she’s been forced to push past her own doubts about herself.
“Never be afraid to fail – it’s all part of the process. We would be so surprised at what we can accomplish.”
Find Wiki-licious at the weekly Chandler Farmers Market or https://wiki-licious.com/home