Aloha Missions | Spreading the Spirit of Aloha
Born and raised on the shores of Waiehu in Maui, Lesley Cummings and Tamika Cabiles, two community-driven Maui natives, believe in spreading their way of life and contributing to the growth and wellbeing of their homeland. In 2016, they launched Aloha Missions, a lifestyle brand that offers a broad range of experiences, programs and workshops (or missions) that inspire people to understand, learn and live the values of aloha. It is their deepest desire to share that aloha, and not just say it. With aloha in their business name, they feel a certain kuleana (responsibility) of teaching and spreading its sacredness.
What is Aloha Mission's origin story?
It all started in the ‘Īao valley. I remember seeing the sun glistening on the river like diamonds. Immersed in the beauty of our valley and reflecting on the importance of our community and culture, we decided in that moment to create Aloha Missions.
We are a lifestyle brand based on the aloha spirit. We design cultural and community-driven programs with the goal of preserving a strong Maui, protecting our natural resources and empowering our local communities.
Since the word “aloha” is in our business name, we have a certain kuleana (responsibility) of teaching and spreading its sacredness. We are deeply inspired by our mentor Pilahi Paki as we embark on this entrepreneurial path.
What are some of your favorite missions to date?
For our first “mission” or program, we partnered with Mālamalama Maui on a campaign to encourage Maui voters to participate in the local election. This was the first program where we felt we were true to our mission of empowering our local Maui community.
We also led a program for a ‘ohana (family) support group for people who lost their dads or spouses. We helped wives and children create floral arrangements to take back to their families in remembrance of their lost ones. It was a beautiful, impactful program, where we facilitated a space filled with love and aloha that enabled our families to open up and build meaningful bonds with one another.
What is one of the biggest barriers encountered so far as business owners?
Starting and growing the business was and remains one of the hardest parts. Everybody goes through the ups and downs of business ownership. We needed to refine our business goals and cut out whatever didn’t resonate with us. It was hard saying no to potential projects, but we’ve learned to trust ourselves and say no if a project doesn’t follow our mission statement.
How do you envision Aloha Missions in a few years from now?
Our immediate goal is to own a physical office and community space for Aloha Missions projects, ideally in Waiehu bay. Further down the line, our hope is for both of us to work full-time on Aloha Missions. We envision our programs truly empowering our community and making a positive impact on our youth.
What advice do you have for people who want to start a career in your field?
Lesley - Be true to yourself and listen to your na’au (gut). While it’s important to be open to receiving advice and energy from other people, at the end of the day, own your life and desires. Be your authentic self.
Tamika – Aloha is big and real to us, and we represent that in everything we do. We try to remain authentic to ourselves by living our life with the aloha spirit. We realize that our network of friendships helped us along the way and kept us positive. most importantly, they always reminded us to live pono (righteousness). We can’t do things by ourselves. Those teams and relationships are going to help and support you through the toughest of times, so keep your family and community relationships healthy and strong.
Want to collaborate with Aloha Missions?
Contact Tamika and Lesley // www.alohamissions.com.
Follow them on Instagram // @alohamissions