LIHUE, Hawaii (KHON2) — It all started with love and a burning desire to recreate a snack loved by a child that lead a Kaua’i parent to a new business adventure that brought the heat.
Morgan Moises Lopez a mother of two daughters loves fishing, hunting, and serving the community. But one day in April, she was determined to recreate her daughter’s childhood snack.
My daughter Lexy reminded me of a snack that we used to eat when she was little. I tried looking for something similar and couldn’t find it anywhere on Kaua’i. I finally found something similar online but it was quite costly. So, I decided to try recreating it from taste by memory.”MORGAN MOISES LOPEZ, OWNER OF PELE JELE
It took Moises Lopez 12 hours to perfect “a delicious guava Hawaiian chili pepper jelly” that she said, “brought a huge smile” to her daughter’s face.
“Yes, it’s precise that anything under or over a minute of cooking would mean it wouldn’t come out to the right consistency,” Moises Lopez said.
Her daughter began taking the jelly to school to share with her friends and Moises Lopez shared some with her family to get some feedback.
“I was so amazed by how many requests we received to purchase it,” said Moises Lopez.
Since launching her new business in April she sold over 1,500 jars so far and has big dreams of one day selling them in Costco or any grocery store in Hawaii.
Moises Lopez also works a full-time job at a credit union that helps small businesses in her community.
Moises Lopez took the time to create her new company’s name.
She said, “Fiyah is a slang form of fire, used for anything that’s, well, lit. It means something is amazing, extremely good, or on point. It instantly made me think of Pele, Hawaii’s Goddess of volcanoes or fire. After researching more of the history of Pele I learned that she had a sweet yet fiery personality which suits my product perfectly. And right then I decided that my company would be Pele Jele (Jele – slang for jelly).”
Her new business kept her busy as she began to build her business from the ground up.
“I even signed up for that million-dollar insurance coverage that you sometimes hear about, which sounds scary when a fair requires you to carry it. I hired someone to create a logo for me. I shared photos of my daughters and asked that he give them a fiery look in a cartoon form. When I got it back, I couldn’t have been happier. This was just the beginning for Pele Jele LLC.,” said Moises Lopez.
As the details of her new business began to come together, Moises Lopez held her first craft fair at the Wailua Bay Creator’s Fair at the Hilton Garden Inn in Wailua Bay where it quickly became a hit.
She introduced all 20 flavors which include guava, pineapple, papaya, mango, Lilikoi, Lychee, and watermelon. Moises Lopez added, “I even did mountain apple, dragonfruit and a hot tomato Basil.”
“I love sharing that my products are handmade from freshly selected fruit from local farmers. Some of my flavors are seasonal which makes them more special,” said Moises Lopez.
She experiments and tries different ingredients while overcoming different obstacles.
“Through my process of starting the business, I found out that I didn’t need a commercial kitchen if I only sold at fairs or person to person but I did secure a commercial kitchen in Lihue and process my products there, in order to have my product store ready,” explained Moises Lopez.
Her business goal is to get to the point where she can financially expand.
“My daughters and I have an exciting goal for Pele Jele and you’re going to want to stick around to taste it,” Moises Lopez said.
Now if you are wondering if it will be too spicy for you, Moises Lopez recommends eating it with cream cheese over some Ritz crackers.
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Don’t care for spicy? Don’t worry, Moises Lopez said she carries most of her flavors without chili pepper as well so it can be enjoyed by everyone.
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