INFUSE JOY: For those who love to cook or love to eat

INFUSE JOY: For those who love to cook or love to eat

INFUSE JOY: For those who love to cook or love to eat - ShopYWCA

At the height of the pandemic, Kit Furukawa and her husband Deron spent time in the kitchen not only for culinary creations but unknowingly also to the birth of a thriving business.

Because of a simple desire for a specific flavor profile they couldn't find on supermarket shelves, they embarked on a mission to craft the perfect chili oil infused with crunchy fried garlic and the sweetness of Maui onions.

After sharing their homemade concoction with friends and family during the holiday season, the overwhelming feedback propelled them to take a leap of faith and bring their creation to a wider audience. Thus, in the summer of 2021, Maui Chili Chili Oil officially received its permit to sell.


What sets Maui Chili Chili Oil apart isn't just its irresistible flavor but also the dedication and ingenuity behind its branding and marketing. Kit, drawing upon her background in creative and media, infused the brand with the extra “chili” in the name in a playful spirit and catchy tagline: "It's so good, so good, we named it twice!" 

From humble beginnings at farmers markets, Maui Chili Chili Oil quickly gained traction and is now stocked in over 50 stores statewide. In 2023, the company won People's Choice Award at the Mana Up Showcase and this year, the company was recognized as a "Startup to Watch" by Pacific Business News.

But contrary to standard advice when working in commerce to separate personal from business affairs, Kit offered a different perspective.

"It is quite personal," she said. "The relationships that we have built with our partners and colleagues over the years are not merely transactional, and I think that's the beauty of the small business community in Hawaii - we understand that success for one is success for all."

Rooted in their belief in community empowerment, both Kit and Deron are also active nonprofit leaders advocating for the Japanese and Filipino communities in Hawaii. 

When the wildfires disaster struck Maui, Kit emerged as a beacon of hope. She gave a voice to more than 50 percent of affected and displaced families, representing the needs of the Filipino community in local, national and international media interviews. She also organized a comprehensive resource fair addressing cultural nuances often overlooked during disaster recovery. She raised funds, and continues to, in order to help fill the gaps and ensure no one gets left behind in the recovery process.

In Kit's eyes, the success of small businesses in Hawaii is intrinsically linked to their involvement in the community. She said it isn’t just measured in sales figures. This philosophy is not only evident in their business practices but also in their partnerships, such as their collaboration with Shop YWCA.

Trivia: Kit’s creative flair can be seen in some of Shop YWCA’s promotional materials. Certain graphic elements you'll find here like some of the homepage banners were created by Kit.

As Maui Chili Chili Oil continues to spread its flavorful influence, it becomes more than just a condiment; it's a testament to creativity, resourcefulness, and community spirit. So, whether you love to cook, or you love to eat, Maui Chili Chili Oil invites you to add a little bit of spice in your day with a taste of Maui in every bottle.