Episode 17
Paralympian Kaleo Kanahele and Matthew Maclay, co-owners of Flower and Flour
Married entrepreneurs share their insights on how business success starts with a common goal and why learning from every decision is essential to create a balance in your quality of life.

Matthew and Kaleo Kanahele Maclay are living their lives as married business partners. They balance her career as a Paralympian, expanding their family, and building their coffee, bakery and florist business, Flower and Flour. Despite challenges, they share how they manage their booming business and family life by aligning ambition and staying together as a team.

Two-time Paralympian champion Kaleo Kanahele Maclay and her husband Matthew understand that the only limitations to life are the ones you put on yourself.

Flower and Flour, an Oklahoma City-based coffee, bakery and floral business, opened at the height of the pandemic. It was a risk with a growing family and finances tight. Kaleo and Matthew share how they managed the pitfalls of a start-up, tips on how they balanced marriage and business success with their faith, fellowship and focus on the future.

The Entrepreneur’s Studio is proud to share the unstoppable journey of two business partners navigating business leadership challenges and discovering why business is truly a team sport.

Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. In the episode, you’ll hear:

  1. Athletics, a path to entrepreneurship
  2. It takes confidence and teamwork to achieve the dream
  3. ‘The only point you can control is the point you’re on’
  4. Beat the competition by owning what you bring to the table
  5. The three ‘Cs’ of marriage and business success: common goals, communication, and creative space
  6. Rapid-fire questions

Athletics, a path to entrepreneurship

Chris Allen: All right. Well, it’s Kaleo and Matthew, welcome to the Entrepreneur’s Studio.

Matthew Maclay: Thank you.

Chris: I’m super glad to have you guys here. And one of the things that I have, just even learning more about you guys and get to know you guys a little bit, I think this is one of my, I’d say most fun story that I get to talk about because it’s like, “OK, talk to me about Paralympian and entrepreneurship and spouses working together in the same business.” I was like, I got to talk to these guys. So yeah, really awesome to have both of you here.

Kaleo Kanahele Maclay: Thanks, we’re super stoked.

Chris: Good, good, good. So talk to me about number one, just like what’s the state of your family at this point? How many do you have as a part of your family?

Kaleo: So, we have two kids now. I actually gave birth seven weeks ago.

Chris: Unbelievable.

Kaleo: So, we’ve been growing. But yeah, so it’s Matthew, me, our four-year-old, his name’s Duke and then a seven-week-old, his name’s Kai.

Chris: Do you have special clothes for them, like Olympic clothes?

Kaleo: We actually just got sent some.

Matthew: Yeah, there actually are some.

Chris: Oh, there you go.

Kaleo: Yeah, so we’ve put them both in some and took pictures and stuff.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. All right. So Kaleo, from Hawaii?

Kaleo: Yeah, my family’s from Hawaii, so-

Chris: OK, tell us about that.

Kaleo: Yeah, so my dad is from Nihoa, which is the smallest island on the end of Hawaii. And then my family is from Kauai. And then we actually lived in Oahu for about a year. But yeah, half Hawaiian, my dad’s full. So, I love the culture and the atmosphere of Hawaii, and honestly, that’s played a big part in our business and my culture and his culture of being Spanish and bringing that all together.

Chris: That’s so cool. There was this documentary a few years ago that a buddy of mine had made. He lives on Oahu and his family’s Okinawan, so they all live together as a big happy family. And they did a documentary called “The Rise of the Wahine.” And it was this whole volleyball Title IX history thing. And I was like, man, this is really cool that I’m talking to you; that’s like a female volleyball player and all of the benefits of that. So, if you haven’t seen it’s like…

Kaleo: Yeah, what’s it called?

Chris: It’s called “The Rise of the Wahine.”

Kaleo: OK.

Chris: … it’s a documentary about this Hawaiian female team that helped pave the way for this whole Title IX, it’s an incredible story. But that’s one of the things that I really love about learning about Hawaii — all of the heritage, how deep the heritage is. There’s a lot of care, there’s a passion for family and all that kind of stuff. So just really cool to learn about that.

Matthew: Oh, it runs so strong over there. And it’s funny you say that about volleyball, it’s crazy as most people on the mainland here are about basketball and football. Volleyball is insanity over there. So, you go to UH or Oahu, go to UH, it’s insane, full stadiums, they love volleyball more than anything over there, it’s pretty rad to see, especially-

Kaleo: It’s pretty cool to see how people do it recreationally. Everyone plays volleyball…

Chris: Totally.

Kaleo: No question. The amount of times that I got asked to go play while I was there and it’s just amazing.

Chris: Yeah, it’s like one of those things as well. I think the most crazy volleyball tournament I’ve ever seen was at the University of Nebraska. I don’t understand…

Kaleo: Oh, they’re intense.

Chris: They’re intense. It’s like…

Kaleo: People play different in Nebraska, yeah.

Chris: ... South American soccer, it’s really wild. But yeah, volleyball. Yeah, it’s really interesting. So how did you two meet?

Matthew: Yeah, you want me to say it or you want to say it, either way?

Kaleo: We actually met through mutual friends. We were sort of at the same church and kind of met each other that way. He was a little older than me, so we waited to start dating, kind of casually got into dating.

Matthew: We were basically friends for three years until we actually started dating, two or three years. But now it’s crazy. We actually just celebrated — we randomly have the same birthday — and so we just celebrated on Saturday. I turned 29, she turned 26. I said it wrong the other day, I didn’t want to do that right here right now.

Chris: We are recording.

Matthew: Yeah, exactly. So that happened, and I was thinking, “Wow, this has been one full decade of us sharing birthdays.”

Kaleo: We’re celebrating together, yeah.

Matthew: Yeah.

Chris: What do you guys do that’s special on your birthday? What’s the most special thing you guys have ever done on your collective birthdays?

Kaleo: I think the first one, basically, his family was throwing him a party at The Wedge, which is near here. And I just went with them and went with him and then they celebrated me also. But we did that, we walked around. And so actually that was located in Deep Deuce where our shop is now.

Chris: Oh nice.

Kaleo: So that all ties together, just a special area for us.

Matthew: Yeah, it was kind of like our first date, honestly.

Kaleo: Yeah, it was on our birthday.

Matthew: Because it was the first time — she had graduated high school. She’s 18, and we could hang out properly. And so, we went and hang out and literally went, and there’s this really cool old church in Deep Deuce, and we just went and got ice cream and sat on the steps. And it was our first time actually just being alone together.

Chris: Wow.

Matthew: We still have a picture of it. We think about it and look at it all the time, it’s great.

Chris: And it’s a Deep Deuce picture, and now all of a sudden, you have a business there.

Matthew: Honestly, I’ve never even thought about that, but…

Chris: I know.

Matthew: Yeah, exactly.

Chris: This is coming to life right here, it is all the serendipity. Well, that’s awesome. Well, OK, so the thing that I love the 10s. How many years you guys have been doing this, but 10 years of medal-winning performance as a Paralympian?

Kaleo: So, my first competition was, well, my first basically competition was in 2010 in its world championships. But then my first games was in 2012 in London.

Chris: And that was in London? What was that like?

Kaleo: Whenever I think back on it, I was so young. I was 16, so I don’t really have tons of memories about it, but I remember actually when we lost.

Chris: OK.

Kaleo: Yeah, that is one memory…

Chris: So, the trauma is what you remember? OK.

Kaleo: Absolutely. So we lost in the finals to China, and at that point, that was like, “Oh, I am going all in, and they will not win again.” So that’s the biggest memory from then, but it was funny just looking back — I was just such a kid that I was just happy to be there, didn’t really care, wasn’t necessarily very invested. And then my coach threw me in the final match and lost game point, so full trauma.

Chris: That was all in 2012?

Kaleo: Yes.

Chris: OK.

Kaleo: All in 2012.

Chris: I’m so sorry, we can talk more about that later.

Kaleo: Yeah, we can.

Chris: For those that maybe don’t know, talk about the difference between the Olympics and the Paralympics, and what that means to be a Paralympian.

Kaleo: So basically, how I like to explain it is the Olympics, and the Paralympics are the same, we just compete at different times. So, the Olympics is for able-bodied athletes, and then the Paralympics are for physically disabled athletes. So, for me, I was born with clubfoot. I was born with it congenitally and then had surgery at eight months old. So, had a reconstructive surgery for my left leg, there’s a more in-depth word, but I can’t remember, but basically, that’s the biggest difference between the Olympics and the Paralympics. But we compete at the same venues, we compete at the same cities for the games and that’s just the biggest difference is able-bodied, disabled.

Chris: But what you play is maybe a little different type of volleyball. So tell us the type of volleyball that you play?

Kaleo: Yeah, so I play sitting volleyball. So even with that, there’s standing volleyball, there’s beach volleyball, and there’s sitting volleyball. So there are different disciplines of the same sport, basically. So, kind of how you perceive beach volleyball is on the sand, the court’s different, the net is a little different, you’re playing in sand. Obviously, that’s different. So those same differences translate to sitting volleyball, where the differences are you’re sitting down, the court is condensed, the net is shorter, but essentially, they’re the same values and fundamentals as traditional volleyball, which is standing volleyball, indoor standing volleyball. So those are just kind of the differences of the sport. But I think sitting volleyball is the fastest of all the games because of the condensed court. So, I played standing volleyball in high school and then started playing sitting volleyball, or sorry, I started playing standing volleyball in elementary school, middle school, and then transitioned to sitting volleyball as well. So, I played both of them. So the differences were really interesting while I was playing. But they’re both incredible and have so much value as them separately, but they’re also just another discipline of the sport.

Chris: It’s so cool, I saw a match and I was like, OK, this is actually more intense than I thought…

Matthew: Oh, it’s crazy.

Chris: … it would be. It’s a pretty intense type of volleyball, but in what position do you play?

Kaleo: I’m a setter.

Chris: You’re a setter? OK. So what’s kind of the running joke on the team? What do you guys make fun of each other about?

Kaleo: Oh gosh, we make fun of each other about everything. But it’s funny, too, because we’re all disabled, and so the disabilities are just out the door. We don’t even necessarily talk about it because we all know each other’s disabilities. So, a lot of the time, the jokes are about absolutely anything. Little traumatic, but I got…

Chris: There’s probably off-limit stuff with other people’s disabilities that you can joke about.

Kaleo: Yeah, there’s a general understanding that we’re all disabled, and so there’s even the digs aren’t necessarily digs. For me, I have all my limbs, so I’m not missing legs or anything. I have both my legs, I have both my arms. But I got called for the longest time, not the nicest name, but I got called “Kalazy” because I just like wouldn’t move. And it’s so funny because I have all my parts, but I would be the one who was lazy because I wasn’t moving. That was a little traumatic from 2020.

Matthew: I don’t think I’ve ever heard that, that’s kind of funny.

Kaleo: Oh yes.

Matthew: But I’ve never heard that before.

Kaleo: There’s a reason you don’t know that one.

Matthew: That’s gold. I think I’m going to keep that one.

Chris: It’s like I see artist renderings. So, talk to me about how many medals you’ve won.

Kaleo: So, I have two gold and one silver.

Chris: Oh man, that’s so awesome.

Kaleo: Thanks.

Chris: Did you bring them today?

Kaleo: I actually did. I never know if I should bring them…

Chris: You totally should.

Kaleo: …because it feels cheesy. But then everyone’s like, “You should have brought them.” So, I brought them.

Chris: This will do. We’ll get pictures after. I totally thought, I would be like, “Hey, we should ask her, ‘Why don’t you wear all three of them when we’d sit and have this conversation?’” That’s super cool.

Kaleo: They’re so heavy. I wore my, because it was my first gold medal, my Rio medal, and I wore it to closing ceremonies. And so literally by the time my neck was just broken and there’s like a rip in the ribbon now, so I don’t really wear them very often anymore, because-

Chris: Yeah, you got to keep those puppies safe. that’s interesting. Where do you keep them at the house?

Kaleo: So, we actually just keep them put away.

Matthew: Everyone watching, pay attention, please don’t break into our house.

Kaleo: So, we keep them put away because after I went to London, I was living at my mom’s house still and I had my London medal out and our house got broken into and they went through absolutely everything. But for some reason didn’t take the medal, thank God.

Matthew: They’re like, “This is fake.”

Kaleo: They’re like, and whatever. So, it was just sitting on the counter or on my nightstand. So since then, they have not seen the light of day until I take them to events or something.

Chris: There you go. Well, what is the biggest lesson that the Paralympics has taught you?

Kaleo: I think that I’m capable of anything, which also sounds a little cheesy. I think actually being able to put in the work and then see the return and have a physical something. Yes, you win money, but also you win this physical reward for all of your hard work, I think is what’s taught me the most. But also the fact of you put four years in, you work your tail off and then this is what people see as the games, but they don’t see every other thing you put in, all of the early mornings, the hard training, they don’t see that, they see this. So, it’s just a little beautiful reward for all of your hard work.

Chris: That’s awesome. What have you underestimated about yourself that you found, like you know what? I really underestimated myself here and how you pushed through.

Kaleo: In business?

Chris: Or it could be as an Olympian, right?

Kaleo: Yeah. I think I’ve always underestimated myself being able to actually figure it out. There have been a lot of things even in sitting volleyball because the sport is so specific, and you have to learn different ways to do different movements. But basically, I didn’t know that I could be faster, didn’t know that I could serve harder, didn’t know that I could basically do all of these little things. And even with standing volleyball, because of my disability, I didn’t think I could block other athletes. So, there are little things like that that I just always under myself with. But when I would choose to actually put in the work, I was always surprised by the outcome.

Any time that I’ve put in the work to be faster, I’ve gotten faster. Any time that I put in the work to jump higher, I was able to figure out a way. It might not have looked as pretty or as ideal as some other people do it, but I found the best way that works for me. And I think that has translated into business too, is how our business is set up might not be the most ideal, but we’ve pushed through and it’s started to work out for us. I think basically just being able to get over any hump and put in the work to see the result has always been the most surprising to me. That we’re actually do that with the business, that I’m actually able to do that in volleyball, and have so far always seen a reward from it. I’m sure that won’t be forever, but-

Chris: That’s amazing. It’s one of those things like everybody has a battle and a lot of it is the battle of the mind. And I think that’s a really powerful thing to be maybe self-aware of is you’re like, you know what? Even being called a Paralympian, you’re like, OK, well, limits are required to be a Paralympian. And I think that’s the really, really interesting thing about people who’ve really risen above that mindset and been like, “I can figure it out, I can do anything.” That’s a really powerful lesson about underestimating yourself, recognizing it and being like, “Hey, if I put in the work, I have seen a result and a positive result that’s been right for me every time.” That’s a really powerful lesson.

Kaleo: Even with disability, specifically, people see disability as something that limits you. But actually, having a disability has given me more than anything else in my life, probably wouldn’t be sitting here if I was not born with clubfoot. And that’s something that my mom helped remind me of is, “Don’t forget that this actually gave you something.” Clubfoot has run in my family. So even with our kids, I’ve had to think OK, especially with Duke, “If Duke was born with clubfoot, what would that look like for our family?” And I remember even asking our doctor of, is there any tests we could run to see whenever I was pregnant with him, is there any tests we could do to see if he would be born with clubfoot? And he would be like, “So if he was, what?” Yeah, I was like, “Good call. You’re right.”

Chris: We could overcome that one.

Kaleo: It doesn’t change.

Chris: Yeah. Well, what about you? What’s something that maybe you’ve underestimated about yourself?

Matthew: That’s a great question. I think I was just thinking kind of while you guys were talking right there. Honestly, I think my capacity overall, not even just as, let me say this, my capacity as a father, as a husband, as a business owner, as an employee of another company, and everything else that I think wraps up maybe who I am. I feel like I’ve limited myself in the past saying, “Well, I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough mental capacity, I don’t have just capacity, in general, to do everything, be kind to my kids, treat my wife well, be successful in business,” and whatever else is wrapped up into that. And I think I put myself in a box for a really long time, thinking because of my past that I couldn’t reach up to or live up to a certain standard or, again, create the capacity to love and to care as much as I needed to.

Honestly, I think Kaleo has really helped me with this whole perspective of just being where you are when you’re there. And a lot of the time, we want to compartmentalize, and yes, that’s good, and that’s great, but I know whenever I do that, that life just gets a little too crazy. But again, whenever I see the bigger picture of truly who I’m able to be in the capacity that I can have for my family and my business, then the possibilities are limitless. And so, I think that’s probably been one of the biggest things here lately for me.

Chris: I love that. I love the idea that... One of the things I was interested in and we’ll talk about, is just balance for you guys. How do you balance it all? And so to hear you say that the thing you underestimated is your capacity because it seems like you’re having to push constantly, you’re having to push across mindsets, put in the work. And you have to hold onto something. You got to have a purpose or something driving you in order to be like, “I’m going to push my capacity a little bit because of this thing. I have a vision; I have something.” So there’s something sort of driving you both. And that’s what would be really awesome to know is what’s your driver? What’s the thing that’s keeping you pushing past your capacity or saying, “You know what? I am going to test myself more to see if I can actually figure it out.” What’s the driver? What’s the thing inside of both of you?

Matthew: You want to go first?

Kaleo: Yeah, I think, well, even in sports, the gold medal is always the goal. And so, to have that at least minimum be the goal that we’re all headed towards is this gold medal, but that’s just one part of it. I think another part of it is being the bar as a team, our team setting the standard for what we want this sport to become. But as a family, at least for me, what I want is to have a rich life, not dollars, a full, content life, and basically reaching towards the most that I can do whatever I want to do. He’s talking about capacity, I want to have a rich life. And that is in our family, I want it to be rich in love. And in our business, I want it to be, yes, rich in success, but also rich in character, rich in community.

And then in volleyball, I want to be the best athlete possible. I want to be an athlete that other girls can look toward. I want to be a mom whom my kids can see operating in these things and seeing that she’s very flawed, but she pushes past everything that has been put in front of her. And being rich in life and rich in love and rich in all of these things, having a full life is my goal. Whether that would be running a business, whether that would be being an employee, whether that’s being an athlete, or just doing cookies, whatever it is, I just want that to be my life. And I think we’ve gotten there in some ways, and then in some ways, there’s a lot of things that we want to still work towards. But at least at this point, even looking forward, I just think it looks so beautiful.

Matthew: Yeah, I know I was just going to even say with what Kaleo said, something maybe we haven’t said in a while, so I think we both keep on the forefront of our minds. I remember someone with good influence, I remember hearing them say this years ago, but someone asked them, because they just do so much, they’re like, “Your life is so crazy, it’s so chaotic. There’s always things happening.” They ask the question, “How do you balance it, or what’s your perspective on it?” And she immediately turned around and said, "Well, first thing I changed my perspective on my life, and I don’t view my life and say, “Wow, this is crazy, or wow, this is chaotic.” Because in all reality, there is truly so much life and death with the words that we speak. And so, if you’re constantly like, “Wow, life really sucks right now. Wow, life is really crazy right now. Wow, life is really chaotic right now.” And guess what’s going to happen? It’s going to continue to be chaotic, and you’re not going to be able to get out of that cycle, but you’re just talking made me think of all that. But sorry, I’m actually trying to remember what the original question was in the first place?

Chris: Oh, no. I don’t even remember what the original question was. Hold on, hold on. The original question, what drives you?

Matthew: Oh, people.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Matthew: People. Not recognition, but to love people. I was like, “Man, honestly, business is crazy so much of the time.” And again, it’s funny, you’re just hearing people talk about business. It’s so hilarious because everyone has almost completely separate situations, but they’re so similar at the same time. But I was thinking, if there was nothing else besides doing this for the people, then that’s all I feel like I would personally need. I think Kaleo and I have been very blessed to be surrounded by good people and bad people in our life. And through and through, we’ve been blessed to come out on top and be surrounded by the right people at the end of the day. But again, we do all this for the people that we get to serve ultimately.

Chris: I love that. All right, so how hard on herself is she?

Matthew: Oh my gosh, it’s not even a funny question. No, it’s like, she is truly hard on herself, but…

Kaleo: I’m trying to be better.

Matthew: Yeah, no, she’s much better than she used to be. But I don’t know. And obviously, I think this way because she’s my wife, but I truly think she’s the most incredible woman in the world, and she does so much, and just many of us don’t get recognition. And even earlier, I’m just going to say it because I like to say it, she’s actually the best setter in the world, that is a very real case. And she’ll never say that, and she’ll always be hard on herself if she doesn’t have a good practice or maybe if a game doesn’t go great. Again, I didn’t grow up doing sports, so I don’t fully understand the sports mindset always. But she is so awesome, and I love her and I’m so thankful for her and she shouldn’t be so hard on herself. So long story short, that’s my answer.

Chris: I had a guess. I was going to ask her and then I was like, “Hey, how hard on herself is she?” So is he hard on himself?

Kaleo: Yes. I think more in, because he’s a great person and I think he’s hard on himself in that way and he just wants to be better, which I’m like, “You’re great.” And he’s like, “I need to be better.” Especially whenever it comes to kids and our family. But he’s great and a great father and a great business partner.

Chris: People in richness of life are what you... this is the reason I’m asking this, is because it seems like you have a standard of care, you have a standard of this is what makes my life rich, and you’re the excellence and quality and care and all those things. I was like, they probably have to be a little bit hard on themselves for sure, have high standards.

Kaleo: In very different ways.

Matthew: Honestly has been a journey through of like Kaleo said, not being so harsh on ourselves because we don’t want to do that. There’s nothing good that can come of that.

Chris: What’s a day in the life in your household?

Kaleo: Well, right now, I’m still on maternity leave to some degree. Actually maternity leave didn’t really exist, I just stopped doing some things.

Chris: Yeah, talk to me about that as an entrepreneur…

Kaleo: It was pretty nonexistent. Before then, whenever we were living by our shop, which I would recommend for not having to travel, I would not recommend for the distinction of life because life got so it’s muddy. But it would start out with me going to the shop at 5:00 or 6:00 and going to bake, and then he would meet me at the shop…

Chris: With Duke.

Kaleo: ... with our son. And then I would leave at 7:00 to go to practice and then take Duke to school, go to practice. Then he would be working at the shop. And then, after practice, I would come back to the shop and start working on cookies and then we would go home and be dead.

Matthew: Basically. So that was probably about the first year through that process.

Kaleo: But now we moved to 20 minutes away, tried to give ourselves some distinction. And then, we hired a manager to help us not be there constantly and hired two bakers. And so we’ve started to give ourselves more distinction between work and family because it was all-consuming there for a while.

Matthew: It’s definitely been a journey through of not even, I won’t even say we figure it out yet because it’s ever-changing, but what it looked like a year and a half ago versus what it looks like now, it’s like now I have another full-time job. And again, Kaleo is on maternity leave, but she still practices full time. Not currently, but she will be soon. So it’s like what the schedule was then to what it is now is just so drastically different. Honestly, every week almost seems like it’s different.

Chris: Oh, my goodness. What do you do as a family or what do you do as a team together? What are some of the things you do for fun?

Kaleo: Oh, for fun? We do-

Matthew: “Pokemon Go.”

Kaleo: Yeah, which is so funny-

Matthew: We play a lot of “Pokemon Go.”

Kaleo: ... our son’s obsessed, so are we. But we do that. We love food, so we find ways to go eat. Saturdays are with my son, Saturday afternoons. On Fridays is our time together, my mom watches our son. We actually get time to go on a date and spend time together. And then Saturday night, he gets to basically choose what we do. And then Sunday is our day for all of us to just hang out together.

Chris: That seems pretty structured, I like that.

Kaleo: I think that’s one of the things you said earlier about how we balance everything, but I don’t fully believe in balance because nothing gets equal time. So one thing we’ve tried to do is be really intentional with time as a family. Even whenever we were nonstop at the shop, there were aspects of it where we wanted to be really intentional, so we could love each other well and that I could be the athlete I want to be, that I could be the mom that I want to be. And so, it’s just come with being really intentional with our time.

Chris: That’s awesome. So how do you make big decisions? What’s maybe a recent big decision that you made? You can make this one about business if you want to.

Kaleo: I think the biggest decision was the decision to have another kid, honestly.

Matthew: True.

Kaleo: And this one isn’t about business.

Chris: That’s OK.

Kaleo: But that was our biggest decision because it has to be very structurally planned with volleyball, and so with that, it was a lot of discussions about if we’re ready, if we feel like we’re ready, if our lifestyle can handle it. And I think that just came through a lot of communication as a family. But yeah, I’m trying to think of something in business.

Matthew: I know.

Chris: I mean, hiring a manager and you getting a job, that’s a big decision, wouldn’t you say?

Kaleo: You’re right.

Matthew: Actually, you’re right, that’s a pretty big decision.

Kaleo: Yeah, tell us a big decision.

Matthew: That is a big decision, that’s true.

Chris: We have a company, but I have a job.

Matthew: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So we made that decision at the beginning of this year. Again, ultimately, I mean, it’s a new business, I’m not even ever going to try and front and pretend like we have all this money because we definitely don’t. And ultimately, we just came to a point where you know what? I think we’re making this a lot harder on ourselves in the beginning stages. We’re probably putting too much pressure on our business to provide, not just for our employees and itself, but our family as well. And so, we just had to make choices and try and figure out if we were to bring a manager in that would help with the bakery and the coffee side, then what exactly is it that they would do to not just fill hours but to actually be a benefit to the shop.

And so again, obviously, we had to sit down, and just like she said, with having a baby, we had to strategically plan. Figure out, OK, what are those tasks? What are those things? But also, who is the kind of person that we want to be in this position? Yeah, I think for us, that’s honestly with hiring, that’s so important. And I’m sure many people would say it’s the same thing. But we never want to put someone in a position of leadership who takes their position and puts it over people’s heads because I’m sure we all know your position is literally the lowest form of leadership that you can ever receive. And so, if you want respect, then you got to earn that respect. So how can we find those people and strategically plan and search? And it worked out, the perfect person, our manager is incredible. She actually moved and came back and she’s awesome, we’re thankful to have her.

Chris: So you guys got the business to get some initial traction and you established the process and what the menu would be and all that kind of stuff. And then boom, you were able to put in a management team with some other employees to help with the bakery.

Matthew: Yeah.

Kaleo: I think it got on that it got muddy. So one of the reasons we made that decision was because since it is our family and we’re both part of the ownership team and we were choosing then not to pay ourselves when we got into a tight position. So thankfully we have other streams of income, but with this specifically, it started to take a strain on us because he wasn’t getting paid what he could be. So we basically were met with a choice of — do we continue to financially do it this way as well as continually putting money into the business while we’re also trying to get paid? And so it was just a little too muddy and having done it for a year. So it was just gradually we were paying ourselves less and less and less, but putting in more and more time. So for us, making the choice to put a manager in was a good way for us to make distinction between the business and our ourselves and kind of transition that.

Matthew: And I was just going to say, and in all reality, I just had to come to the realization that me as an owner/acting manager at that time, I felt like I was probably a lid on the business creatively and/or just ideas in the shop and whatever. So I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t remain a lid, but I could be someone that could help someone push it forward instead of be the stopper.

Chris: Yeah, you’re working on the business rather than in the business.

Matthew: Exactly, yeah.

It takes confidence and teamwork to achieve the dream

Chris: OK, makes a lot of sense. Do you think athletes are destined or good at entrepreneurship? Just for some reasons.

Kaleo: Maybe this is biased, but I think so. I think at least with building a team and becoming a team that’s very unique, it’s a very specific thing that you do in organized sports is becoming a team. And I think one of the best benefits is that you each have your own role. So, I think that’s one thing about organized sports that I love, that I want to try and teach our kids if they’re interested is to be a part of a team. You have a very established role, and I think that is what makes athletes good business owners is they know their role. They know how to be a part of a team. And I think that’s one of the biggest attributes of an athlete that translates into business really well, is not only you’ve learned how to work hard and you’ve learned how to fail in a really safe space with athletics and how to get up from failing, but also that you know how to be a part of a team. So I think that’s why athletes make good business owners, but not all athletes are good business owners. But those are the values I think that you learn from sports that play really well into owning a business.

Chris: And I think one of the things that is really good about that as well, is there’s the team, and there’s your role, but then there’s the coach. And so, I think one of the things that I’ve always had maybe a point of view on athletes is they have typically, if they’ve gotten any level of success in athletics, they understand the requirement of teamwork. They understand how to receive feedback and get coached. And one of the things that is difficult is how you grow from that and develop And then sometimes it’s like I’ve seen entrepreneurs that have been athletes that they go, “Where’s my coach?” So what do you all do for the resources to get coached and mentored and get some of the information for questions that you have that you don’t have answers to?

Kaleo: Yeah, I think that’s actually something we’re still figuring out. I think with how we started our business and just sort of leaping into it, there’s a lot of things that you learn on the way. And one of those things has been finding resources of people to help us. And a lot of things we’ve learned the hard way and that’s just how it comes down to when you don’t have that sort of coach. And so it’s true, you’re left on your own of who let me do this?

Chris: It’s like parenting…

Kaleo: Yeah, absolutely.

Chris: ... it gave me a child.

Kaleo: Yes, why didn’t anyone teach me?

Chris: Yes.

Kaleo: But I think even with that it’s we have friends who are business owners as well. So even recently, our friend who owns 1032 Space, it’s a clothing store here [Oklahoma City]. We just went into the shop, and we were talking, and he was telling us about what he’s doing with his CPA and just the team that he has who are helping him financially.

And even in those conversations, you learn so much. And I think it comes down to having a lot of people around you, maybe not necessarily in your space, he doesn’t own a bakery, but he owns a shop. And small business owners tend to have the same issues. And so basically getting around like-minded, or not like-minded, but people who have the same type of small business as you, as well as people who have larger businesses. He sat down with an owner of restaurants and had communication with him. But I think some of it has been trial and error of who we want around speaking to us. Previously we’ve had people speaking to us who have not always been beneficial. So I think it’s really been sort learning who we can have around us who helps.

Matthew: And you basically were talking about it too, but it is so important. If you don’t have those people, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do it. That meeting I had with that guy that owns multiple businesses and restaurants and is ridiculously successful — I mean, maybe on paper I’m nobody compared to him, but I knew that just by sitting and not even asking all the right questions, but literally just hearing him talk and being in his presence, I was going to glean and I was going to grow and learn from a lot that he had to say.

I think a lot of the time we put these roadblocks in front of ourselves, and it’s “Smash through it.” What do you do? OK, there’s an issue, you have the capacity, you have the ability to go out and to do something about it. But the question is — are you going to do it or are you going to be sad because you can’t figure it out right now? And I think that’s honestly been a big reminder for me is just don’t get overwhelmed because you don’t have that right person to speak in your life. If you don’t have anyone, just go find someone, that’s better than nothing.

Kaleo: Which is also a big challenge because I’m introverted to the max. And I’ve only recently learned that, with athletics that’s a different part of me that brings it out. But I have trouble reaching out to people, it’s not fun for me necessarily, but I do see the value in it and the value of finding people to be around you. And honestly, even my coach, my volleyball coach has been such a huge part of my life, he has basically been my second dad, because I started on this team when I was 12 and he is literally seen me through every season of my life as a brace-faced kid to now owning two businesses, and he really has been such a support. So I think just leaning on people who maybe of who you previously had in your life or who’s always been around too.

‘The only point you can control is the point you’re on’

Chris: That’s awesome. I wonder, what’s the one-liner or the thing you kind of have gleaned most from maybe your coach or this person that you talk to? What’s the thing that you’re like, I remember that from this meeting?

Matthew: Have a financial advisor, I’m just kidding. Let’s see, great question. A lot of one-liners, honestly, I feel like on my brain. Do you have something that you can think of right now? Go first?

Kaleo: I think there is one from my sports psych actually. And she said, “The only point you can control is the point you’re on.” So he said it earlier, but the only season that you can control or do anything about is where you currently are. And that has really translated into so many avenues of my life. It translated into business of you can get so overwhelmed with everything going on or what the future might look like or your finances or in the weeds of things. And in the weeds of things for the future. I’m worrying about the future, I’m worried about two years from now, a year from now. But if you can just focus on today, the day you’re on, the only thing you can control, then that’s how you progress, that’s how you move forward.

So in volleyball, if you can focus on the point you’re on, you have no control about the point you just lost or the point before. Focusing on previous seasons of your life will do absolutely nothing for you now. And all you can do is be in the now and then try to move forward, but if you’re focused on the future, if you focused on the next point, focus on the previous point, you’re going nowhere, you’re just stuck. But if you work now, focus on now, what can you do now? That’s how you move forward, that’s like the biggest takeaway I learned from my sports psych.

Chris: That’s good. Did you think of one?

Matthew: Yeah, it wasn’t specifically from that one guy, but I think about this a lot, it’s just because I mean we all have those days where they’re just not good, have that be as a father, as a husband, in business, whatever it might be. And a lot of the time, at least me, I can allow those things just to keep me down instead of reverting and getting to a better place. So something that I remind myself a lot is regardless of how bad the day was, and I think this is something that could be switched around and replaced with different things depending on who you are. But at the end of the day, regardless of how bad the day was, I know that I’m always going to go home to a wife who loves me, kids who love me, and again, ultimately friends who care about me. And even if it was the worst day in the world, I have the peace of remembering that something so beautiful and foundational is in my life forever. I hope forever. And so it’s like I have to remind myself that a lot and because I can get down at times, so-

Chris: Yeah, that’s good. I’ll just throw one in here too, I was like, I’ll jump in.

Matthew: Come on.

Chris: One of my favorites is, my mentor said to me, “You’re not learning if you’re not teaching.” And so I was like, “What do you mean by that?” But one of the things that I’ve had to learn in leadership is, there’s people with talent and you can spend a lot of time trying to find people with the right talent and some people have big pieces of it, but don’t have the whole thing. And it’s one of those things I’ve always really struggled to get people to go from maybe average in something to above average. And I’m like, oh, that seems really hard, but it’s actually hard to go find talent. And one of the things that I figured out was this quote that my mentor gave me is, hey, in order for somebody to get command over some sort of thing, they need to not only give it a shot and do it, but then they need to teach it.

And that was one of the ways that I grew and I found myself, I said, oh man, every time I was required to share new information with somebody, I got better, and was able to level up and found a new gear or a new level or whatever. And those are the things that I think are really important in running a business. It’s like where do I find the talent and do I maybe get this person, if I move them over into this other role, are they going to be good at it? And I think that’s one of the things to do is I just go, OK, give them the training, then they go, OK, teach me. And then they level up and then you have them do it again and they level up again, that’s one of the things that I love about people is-

Matthew: That’s really cool,

Chris: ... the resilience that they have, that if anybody’s like I’ll commit to it, I’ll give it a shot, usually they grow. And that was the thing that I liked about your lesson.

Kaleo: Yeah. Even with our business, the employees we’ve hired because we are such a new business and honestly we’re young and we hired people who have basically no experience. With coffee is a little different because that’s something that you actually have to have some foundational knowledge of, but even with baking. And I reached out to people who I knew and people came to us who have never had previous baking experience. But I think one thing that’s cool about our business is that the bakery is sort of a home based feeling bakery, it’s obviously at the shop. But it’s small batches, not huge batches, so it’s actually quite easy to learn.

So that’s been actually something really fun for me is finding people who have maybe necessarily been given a chance by another business or another company and teaching them, taking the time to actually train someone well. Because even whenever I was looking sort to find a job in baking and of my first look for that, I couldn’t find anything because I hadn’t had any actual experience in a bakery. And I think we find that a lot, even in careers and business, you’re looking for an opportunity, but everyone wants someone with experience and it’s like, how am I supposed to get experience if no one will let me try.

Chris: Chicken and the egg.

Kaleo: And so even with our business, something that I like that we’ve done is it’s not necessarily experience based, you could come and apply for the job and then we would train you. But the main goal is that you’re open, that it’s something you want to do, that you’re somewhat passionate about it, that you’ve maybe tried it at home. And then I’ll let you learn, just I was able to learn by starting my own business and that’s my first bakery experience, was my own, but I think that’s sort of how you find great employees who are not worship you, but someone who can come in and learn from you. I think that’s what everyone’s hoping for when they find a new job, is to learn from other people. Yes, do their job well, but be able to learn. And I think that’s something we’ve done with baristas too, because a lot of coffee shops will want you to have experience on bar making drinks, but very often at any other place other than Starbucks. And most of the time you have a six-month period where you have to have been an employee or something like that. And it’s like at our shop, you get trained and-

Matthew: Yeah, in all reality, a lot of the time, if a shop is like, yeah, you have to be here for six months and then you have another six months of training until you can even touch a bar. It’s like, OK, I understand the excellence, I understand the process, I understand all of that, but you’re actually deteriorating people away from wanting to learn about this. Because in all reality, it’s not that intense. If you could teach a kid their ABCs, then I’m pretty sure we can teach a barista how to pour a shot of espresso and it tastes good in less than six months. So yeah, I think I’m very thankful for that fact as well, that we’ve created an environment that you don’t have to come with all the experience, you don’t have to know how to do everything, but we actually want to help you fall in love with what you’re doing even more. And I’m thankful that we’ve been able to help be a part of an atmosphere like that with our shop.

Beat the competition by owning what you bring to the table

Chris: Yeah, y’all crack the code and then you’re like, hey, we can teach people how to do this and people will buy our stuff. That’s pretty cool. So how do you guys maybe compete with the Starbucks and other sort of coffee and bakery retailers and restaurateurs out there?

Matthew: Yeah, you go.

Kaleo: I think the biggest thing is to that I don’t, and this might be my very specific opinion, but I don’t see it as a competition because Starbucks is for one just massive, so there’s no way we can compare with that. But I think everyone has their own gifts and talents that they bring to the space. A lot of the time people are like, well, coffee is oversaturated, it’s an oversaturated market, everyone has a coffee shop, there’s one on every corner. And it’s like, yes, but which one do you go to? And so basically, I know we are not for everyone, our business will not be for everyone. People can go to Starbucks, I go to Starbucks every once in a while, but everyone has such a specific unique gift and specific talent they bring to the space.

So for us it is this like three part business, so coffee, bakery, and flowers and that’s what we bring to our space, that’s what we bring to Oklahoma City. And Starbucks brings quick, fast service. I can’t do that, we can’t do that, we can’t compete with them in that. And so I think it’s knowing what you bring to the table and the value you as an individual and as a business bring. And then just going from there, because I think people are afraid to start because they can’t, I can never be Starbucks.

Chris: They don’t see there’s any space in the market?

Matthew: Yeah.

Kaleo: Yeah. And it’s like that will deter you away from any business, if you look at everyone else, and obviously social media is bad about this, but if you’re looking at everyone else, you aren’t focused on yourself and what can you bring and what talents do you have to bring to the space.

Chris: What’s the biggest challenge that you faced in the business? What’s been the hardest thing to learn.

Matthew: There’s a lot. Great question.

Chris: You can just pick one, because I’m sure there’s more than one.

Kaleo: I think starting can always be really scary, starting any new thing, but I also think sort of trying to still be creative while dealing with the business side of everything. So obviously as an entrepreneur you wear multiple hats, you do all the different things, you’re on the social media manager, I am the CP, not CPA, but I am the financial advisor to some degree. So we’re wearing all these hats, but no one ever talks about the fact that you are not only financially dependent, the business is financially dependent on you to some degree, but you’re also bearing the weight of the emotions of the business, the employees, you’re bearing so much. And I think that has been really difficult for me because my life does have so many different aspects to it and if one is just over pouring because I’m not setting up boundaries or bringing in people to help me is the biggest challenge for me at least, my toxic trait is that I think I can do everything all by myself.

Chris: Oh, it’s very introverted of you.

Kaleo: Yes, it is. But being able to basically bring the right people into the roles and sort allow myself to let go because I want things to be great, I want it-

Chris: You want things to be rich.

Kaleo: I do. And I can strangle things to become that way and it’s not great. And I have to just be able to let go. And that’s something that I’ve been learning here recently and I think being pregnant kind of forced me to do is to let go of the reigns and to realize that I’ve never missed an opportunity that was made for me, opportunities come and go, you don’t always have to say yes and in our business I think that’s one of them.

Matthew: Yeah.

The ‘three Cs’ of marriage and business success: common goals, communication and creative space

Chris: Well, so this brings me to the thing I brought up earlier. OK, so spouses running businesses together and likely travel is required for being a professional athlete. So how do you do it?

Matthew: Honestly, it’s been normal since we first got married. I think it’s funny because it’s kind of how our life overall has gone, even opening the business. We open in the middle of the pandemic, so anything else that comes out of us, we’re like, “Oh, that’s cool, that’s normal.” We’re used to rolling with the punches. And so really from the get-go, because we got pregnant with Duke six months into marriage and so Rio had just happened that year and she was already training for Tokyo and she was also at the time working another part-time job, I was working a full-time job. And as travel began to pick up, honestly I just think we made the decision very early on because we had heard so many different couples, especially having kids and just being married of like, “Oh, once you get married or once you have a kid, once you have two kids, once you have three kids, whatever, then your life is either over, you can’t do something anymore or it’s just not going to be fun.”

Chris: Or you have to pay a lot for babysitters.

Matthew: Or you have to do that. And so we just kind of made the decision from the get-go that regardless of what life looked like, we were all in this together. It wasn’t Kaleo’s going off and doing her volleyball thing, and I’m going off and doing my youth pastor thing and whatever, and then Duke’s just a baby chilling. Again, we all did these things together. So we made that decision very early on, and it still again plays greatly in our lives today.

Chris: Oh, that’s cool.

Kaleo: It’s the power of being a team, that we all have a common goal, which is to be our best selves and to do it together. And in the business, it’s the business being successful, and in our family, it’s each of us being successful. And I think with travel specifically we’ve worked together, he thankfully is not the type of father who’s sort of in the background, he’s very at the forefront. And so when I leave, the transition can be hard and it just looks different, but he is more than willing to be that piece. And I think in business too, we all have our individual roles, but being able to be on the same page about having the same goal. Even with volleyball, you put 12 women in a competition, in the same space together, we go on trips for two weeks at a time, and we’re bound to not get along. But when there’s-

Chris: There’s going to be a point.

Kaleo: There is going to be a point where we literally want to rip each other’s hair out, and it happens all the time, but on the court and we all have the same common goal that we can ignore everything else and put our differences aside and come together for that goal. And I think it’s the same in family, it’s like we don’t agree on everything, we don’t-

Chris: We never agree on anything.

Matthew: ... agree on anything.

Chris: That was a Freudian slip.

Kaleo: Sorry. But there is a lot we don’t agree on. But we do have the same common goal of being a family and loving each other, and these different things of me being an athlete, him being a business owner. And in the business, it’s like we want people to come into the space and enjoy it and have a place, almost a home away from home, that they can be. So I think being a team and doing it together has been really important.

Chris: One of the things that I’ve seen maybe between you both is just maybe the empathy that you have towards each other. And the empathy that you have towards yourself about the challenges that you’re facing and how to tackle them and stuff like that. So maybe talk to me about maybe what’s the most, I don’t know, maybe a vulnerable moment that you both had, either at the start of choosing to do a business or what’s one that really comes to mind that was a big lesson for you guys and how to come together and using vulnerability and empathy to do that? She has an idea, I could see.

Matthew: Oh, do you have an idea?

Kaleo: I do. And we talked about, it’s kind of on the same realm, but the most vulnerable moment we’ve had as a couple in business, and that honestly makes me feel very, it’s funny because that also makes me feel sad because I don’t think about it very often, but it makes me want to be there for other business owners. So when we started our business…

Matthew: Not even, the week before.

Kaleo: The week before, so our son was turning three years-old and it was October 18 and we opened the shop October 26. But we were out at Party City and we were shopping for things for my son’s birthday. And we got in the car and looked at our bank account and literally just sat there and cried. This was a week before we opened, we had nothing. And we were trying to figure out how will we buy food for our son’s birthday party. And just that moment of we do have people around us who can help us and we knew that. But just the reality of we have really spent everything on opening this business, I am tired and we are financially done. And everything we had saved had gone into the business.

And I just look at that moment and I think that’s what a lot of entrepreneurs talk about, but then they don’t give empathy towards other business owners who are at that same place. And so I think that’s one thing that is important to me is that other business owners know that that is a real space. And I pray to God you never get there because it’s a very hard place to be of just, “How will I feed my son’s birthday?” But in reality, you do get out of it if you ask for help and if you look to other people. And then, if you just keep going, you will get out of that space. Thankfully at the time, we were living with my mom, and we had people supporting us. But it was just that one piece of time where we were literally looking at our bank account, and it had $15 in it. And it was like, “What have we done? Is this the end of us?”

Matthew: Did we just mess up?

Kaleo: And so it just took on more cookies, and thankfully we were able to make it work. But that place I think gives me so much empathy for not even just business owners, but people who find themselves in that place of, “I’ve spent my last dollar. Where do I go from here?” And we had faith and we knew that the business was going to go well, that we were going to make money, that it wasn’t going to be the end of it. But getting to that point was so scary and difficult and it’s like every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare. But for us it was also the encouragement that we found our way out. And we looked to our family and people who were willing to support us, but also empathy for people who don’t have a family or who don’t have people who can support them in that avenue.

Matthew: And I was just going to say, and if I could, you mentioned the one-liners earlier, just something kind of kept in my head. Number one, it’s funny because she mentioned how we were talking to our other business owner friend the other day and we go into a store, so say we went into a store and we were both feeling some pressure financially, feeling pressure staff wise, even just from the shop. And we go in and start having a conversation about business. First thing first in my mind I’m like, “Honestly, I don’t really want to have this conversation right now because I just don’t.” But at the end of the conversation, both Kaleo and I felt so much lighter and felt so much happier, not necessarily to know that there are other people dealing with the same things we are, but there are other people who are getting through the same things that we are and haven’t gotten through before.

And it brings me back to this whole quote. And again, I’m a big proponent about if you are not healthy mentally, physically, even me, currently in my life, I’ve just always been a tall, skinny twig boy, and with my lifestyle it’s like I need some more muscle. I need some more protein, I need some more meat on my bone so I can sustain everything I’m doing. Honestly, mentally it’s the same exact thing. If you’re not healthy up here, then anything you do, it might be healthy or look good on the outside, but it’s not going to last and it can’t be sustained. So if you’re not talking, you’re dying. And that can mean physically, that can mean spiritually, that can mean emotionally. And again, just from having a simple conversation with another business owner, we felt so much better. And so I just did want to say that any entrepreneurs, business owners watching, listening, please just talk to somebody. It is the most important thing I think you could actually do in the midst of a good and bad season.

Chris: Something remarkable happens when somebody opens up about something, vulnerability. I can’t think of times where someone was truly vulnerable, and something bad happened. Now there are people that’ll take advantage of that. And so you have to recognize what space you’re in to be able to do those things.

Matthew: Yes, 100%.

Chris: Stop being careless with your vulnerability. But you just said something, life and death is in the power of the tongue. And it’s like you just said it, “If you’re not talking, you’re dying.” And that is one of the things that I think is a way that other entrepreneurs can help other entrepreneurs is to invite them to talk and to be there with them and to say, “Hey, this is something that I went through,” and to share those vulnerable things. It’s one of the reasons why we’re doing this whole thing. You really do have to create an environment to get somebody to talk because if somebody will listen for a little bit and hear something about vulnerability and be like, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to go find somebody. I’m going to talk to them about it.” Something gets released, something special can happen where there’s a sense of freedom in your mindset, or there’s some sort of next level that you unlock, or you get a new perspective. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed about talking with you guys is how you reframe things. And those don’t just originate always, those aha moments don’t always originate on their own. Oftentimes, they happen in a vulnerable conversation.

Kaleo: And even this specific scenario just was very... Last week was honestly one of the worst weeks of my life, but…

Chris: Well, welcome to this week.

Kaleo: Yes. Hello, it’s the new week. But talking to him allowed me the space to create new ideas. I was kind of talking about earlier of bearing the financial burden and the actual operations burden of the shop can be really hard, the emotional burden. But being around him literally created space in my mind to create a solution. I was able to just sit down the next morning and create solutions for the issues that we’ve been having. And it’s like, unless you’re talking, you aren’t allowing your mind —my mind can go crazy, it’s another introverted thing — to work it out on its own. But just taking a second to step outside of myself and listen to other people — and that’s what I love about podcasts — is just being able to listen to other people process and think and find solutions, is one of my favorite things. Because solutions are available. You are not the first one to experience whatever you are going through, but there is a solution for everything. And if there’s not, there’s someone who can help you find a solution.

Matthew: It’s always good when we don’t call all the shots ourselves, isn’t it? It’s always great.

Chris: Yeah. There’s a good and bad to that one. The thing that I thought was really awesome about what you just said is — if you’re leading anything and you’re leading people, you tend to get problems, there are problems…

Kaleo: They’re messy.

Chris: ... they’re everywhere. And I think one of the things that I will tell people is like, “Hey, don’t throw a monkey on my desk. If it’s just a problem, it’s just going to be a monkey flailing on the desk.” And I’m like, OK, give me the situation. What’s making it complicated, and give me a recommendation? What are you going to do? What’s your proposed solution? And the thing that I found is that I will say that to people, and then when I’m in the same space, and I’m throwing my own monkey on my own desk or talking to somebody or something like that, then I go, “All right, Chris, what’s the situation?” I have to list it out. It really does help me to think through, OK, what’s the actual situation? No emotions, what’s the situation? What’s the thing making it complicated, and what should I do about it? What can we do about it? And sometimes it’s “Go talk to somebody.”

Matthew: Yeah, for sure.

Kaleo: Absolutely.

Chris: Well, that’s awesome. Is there anything else that you want to share? Because I have some rapid-fire questions for you guys.

Matthew: Anything else you want to specifically share?

Kaleo: I think I want to share with being partners and family, being married and being partners in a business, if you are looking for something, before you start, try to go through some therapy. Because going through the burdens of business can be sort of a scary place to be because it brings out sometimes the best in you and then other times the worst in you. And so one thing that we did was we were in therapy sort of a year before we opened and to just get through the muck of life and try to get to the point where we had actual tangible things to help us. And one of those things was to assume positive intent. So if you’re doing business with your partner, that when they say something, try to not expect it to be out of malice or ill intent, but you guys are working towards the same goal.

So assume positive intent, to know that he’s just saying something for the good of the business or for where he thinks the business is going. And don’t get offended, but just be able to listen and process. And then if there’s an issue to communicate that. And I think even if you have just a business partner, because that’s something that we still struggle with, but I think especially if you’re in business with a partner, that’s just something. Try therapy, try getting tools to be able to communicate and talk and get through some of the questions or big elephants in your life and in your marriage and in your family so you can have a successful partnership in business. And so you don’t get burnt out and honestly dislike each other, because it could be hard if you are not prepared…

Matthew: No, for sure.

Kaleo: ... because it’s not always easy.

Matthew: And again, I think it’s very important to realize the fact that it is literally not for everybody. If you don’t think you can do it, then don’t do it, just don’t. Because if marriage is hard, try marriage and doing a business, it doubles it up. It makes it more difficult. But again, some people will thrive in it, but if you don’t think you are, then that doesn’t mean you have to go for it. Don’t put that pressure on yourself.

Chris: Same thing with friends. I mean, doing business with friends is challenging.

Matthew: That’s great, yeah, it’s true.

Kaleo: And just be OK with relationships changing because it’s not always easy.

Matthew: Oh, that’s obviously great too, in the sense of marriage. The same thing for our marriage relationship. Again, it’s like we all know, we got married, Kaleo was 19, I was 21, or was it 20 and 22? I can’t remember, either/or.

Kaleo: 19.

Matthew: 19 and 21. And so we were so young when we got married. And so now fast forward almost six years, we are completely different people in business, honestly, ideas, mindsets, everything will start off one way, but if you’re not OK with that transition and looking different over the next few weeks to months to years, then honestly you might not last in it. So just be willing for that transition in how your spouse, aka your business partner, is going to go through in that time.

Chris: Wow, that’s good. One of the things I’ve always struggled with and I still do today, is being attached to results.

Matthew: Same.

Chris: And especially somebody, if you’ve got vision and you have the motor to go bring it to life when it doesn’t look like the vision, it’s like I’m so attached, it’s really hard. And that’s where the things like control and trying to shape things. And then there’s where the positive intent, you’re like, somebody says something that’s breaking the attachment that you have. That’s the thing that I think is really, really hard for me, is being able to detach from the result, the result is not a reflection on me. Or if the relationship changes, that should be OK because you can’t always stay so attached to every outcome or every result because it’s going to stress the crap out of you.

Kaleo: Yeah, I think even the look of your business and being OK with it changing and the look of success, or honestly even the perception of success. A lot of the time we see success is money, but success can be a lot of different things. And I think if we’re able to be happy with what we’ve created and kind of like you’re saying, not be so focused on what your original thought was, but be OK with the transition and the sort of change of what your business looks like, I think you’ll be a much happier person, you’ll be happier for your people around you.

Rapid-fire questions

Chris: All right. Well, some rapid-fire questions. You ready?

Kaleo: Yes.

Matthew: Yes, let’s do it.

Chris: All right. Kaleo, your sweet tooth. What’s your number one weakness?

Kaleo: Ooh, right now, Star Crunch, which is so random. I don’t know if it’s a postpartum thing, but the Star Crunch. They’ve got me currently.

Chris: It’s the caramel.

Matthew: Yeah.

Chris: That’s the deal. All right. What’s your favorite coffee, Matthew?

Matthew: Favorite coffee, I would say, I’m just going to be that coffee person, typically just a cappuccino or an espresso. But I do always love some good, condensed milk in my latte. So nice and creamy, it’s great.

Chris: Spam. Love it or hate it?

Kaleo: Love it.

Matthew: Love. We don’t live without Spam.

Kaleo: Even our kid loves it. You know it’s good when a four year-old loves it.

Matthew: Oh yeah. No, they’re called Hawaiian power bars.

Chris: There you go.

Matthew: Yeah, there we go.

Chris: All right, that’s awesome. So do you follow Winter Olympic sports? If so, what’s your favorite one to watch?

Kaleo: To some degree, but snowboarding. I think even Paralympic Olympics, they’re so great.

Chris: There you go. Where’d you get married?

Kaleo: Malibu, actually.

Matthew: Point Doom.

Chris: Point Doom?

Matthew: Point Doom, yes.

Kaleo: Point Doom, which is a great place to get married, the Doom.

Chris: I have so many questions. What’s your favorite thing to do when you managed to get a free weekend?

Matthew: Like together?

Chris: Yeah, or as a family.

Kaleo: Yeah, just walk.

Matthew: What’s our favorite thing to do? Is that our favorite thing to do though?

Kaleo: My favorite thing is to go on a walk, they don’t like it, it’s my favorite.

Matthew: To go on a walk? That’s not my favorite thing to do. Honestly, I don’t know, that’s a great question. Let’s say a walk, let’s say a walk.

Chris: We’ll say a walk. You’re like a treacherous game of “Pokemon Go” across the mountain side.

Matthew: Basically yeah.

Kaleo: It’s funny because I love games and I love all things like competition, honestly, but he doesn’t.

Matthew: No, I’m not like that at all.

Kaleo: My family will yell about…

Chris: Are you a fierce competition person?

Kaleo: No, because my mom is so, she has tamed me because I’m like, “Oh, I can’t be like her…”

Chris: I can’t show up like that.

Kaleo: Yeah, I can’t show up like that every day.

Chris: No, that’s good. Who’s the better cook between you two?

Kaleo: Oh, definitely him.

Matthew: Me.

Chris: Love that, was so fast.

Kaleo: I can bake, I cannot cook.

Matthew: Yeah, I don’t bake at all. I love the creativity of cooking and just being able to do whatever I want, basically. I can’t follow instructions like she can.

Kaleo: Yeah, with baking, it’s very to a T. And with cooking, it’s like “Throw a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” I’m like I can’t.

Matthew: I’m just like, “Tastes good, cool.”

Kaleo: I need the structure.

Chris: I need the recipe please.

Matthew: Yes.

Kaleo: Yes please.

Chris: Who is a key mentor in your life, and then who is a key mentor in your life?

Kaleo: Definitely my coach, Bill Hammetter, he’s the best.

Matthew: I would say Pastor Mike Kai, he pastors’, him and his wife. A church on Oahu called Inspired Church, they’re just literally two of the most incredible people. Mike and Lisa, Lisa’s his wife’s name, I love them with all my heart. Shout out Pastor Mike and Lisa, Inspired Church. That’s it.

Chris: That’s so good. It was awesome to sit down and chat with you guys and get to know you better and heard so many good things and I was like, man, I really just want to sit down with these two and have the conversation. So is there any parting thoughts you want to leave us with?

Kaleo: I mean, just thanks for having us.

Matthew: Yeah, seriously-

Kaleo: And don’t do life alone.

Matthew: Yeah, don’t do life alone. Remember, seasons come and seasons go, truly it’s going to be OK.

Chris: Well, what’s next for Flower and Flour?

Kaleo: We’d love to start getting into events, I think that’s kind of one thing that we are inching towards.

Chris: Well, thanks for coming. Glad to have you in the studio.

Matthew: We appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Kaleo: Thanks.


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