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Oahu's Ulu and Kalo Bakery- Gluten-free and Vegan

Owner of Ulu and Kalo Bakery making vegan, gluten free banana bread

Maile started her business in 2018 because she wanted "to provide healthier baked goods to the community while using canoe plants ('ulu and kalo) in the products."

Those unfamiliar with the term "canoe plants" refer to the small number of plants brought initially over in canoes by the Polynesian navigators to serve as the foundation of their societal needs. Some other canoe plants include noni, which you have probably seen growing on many trees, and kukui, which is often in oil form. (learn more from Hawaii Public Radio here)

In addition to holding cultural and historical significance to the Hawaiian community, 'ulu and kalo are nutrient-dense and naturally gluten-free. 'Ulu, also known as breadfruit, is naturally gluten-free and can be used as a base for many sweet and savory dishes based upon the plant's ripeness or eaten on its own. Kalo is high in many vitamins, fiber, and iron; additionally, all parts of the plant, including the leaves, are edible and considered staple foods of the Hawaiians.

The gluten-free, vegan journey

Over the years, Maile has added additional products and tweaked a few of her recipes based on taste and ingredient availability, but they maintain the original base. When she began, both vegan and non-vegan options were available. However, there was such a demand for vegan baked goods and so little competition that she jumped at the opportunity to commit to and brand herself as a vegan and gluten-free bakery.

Two Paths Collide

PlanIt is all about big-upping our clients and trying to help them solve problems quite literally, or at the very least, talk them out. We were big fans of Maile and her baked goods for quite some time before we began working together, and our love for her products has only grown as we have tried more products and learned more about her recipes and process.

As of now, we have worked with Maile to capture photos, coach her in techniques for filming reels, and provide insight into SEO and digital marketing techniques.

rack of cooling gluten free, vegan banana bread

An Interview

Maile works solo and works HARD as an entrepreneur, so we asked her a few questions.

Did you always love baking/cooking, or did this come from somewhere else? I seem to remember you saying your parents were dentists. "Lol, yeah, you remembered correctly; my parents are in the dental field, and growing up around that didn't really appeal to me. Cooking came to me after I changed how I ate and saw the difference in my health. Changing my diet to a healthier one inspired me to attend KCC for culinary school to learn how to cook well. I realized baking was more my speed after working in the industry."

Gluten free, vegan baked good options by Ulu and Kalo Bakery

What is the greatest lesson you've learned as an entrepreneur?

"The greatest lesson entrepreneurship has taught me is self-worth."

What has been your biggest struggle, and how did you overcome it?

"The biggest struggle was finding the right kitchen to call a second home, and luckily, I found it last September with the coffee shop, Pō’ai. The next big challenge is getting a retail product ready, which includes finding the right equipment, getting updated packaging, and testing shelf life."

If you had the chance to tell yourself something from the get-go, what would it be?

"Move at your own pace and envision how big you want the business to be."

What's next for your business or you? Or both?!

"Hoping to get the 'ulu crackers to a larger market and retail ready! It would be nice to have less manual labor so I can exercise intentionally and not because of work lol."

Thank you Maile!!


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