Before becoming the mixer, baker, decorator, and creative force behind Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz, Cymbree Kailiehu-Fevella held a variety of different jobs including working at Macy’s, at a floral shop, and serving as a dental assistant. She refers to herself as a “Jill of All Trades,” but never in her wildest dreams did she expect to end up where she is today.
“Dreams don’t work unless you do” is the mantra that Kailiehu-Fevella lives by. “You gotta put in the work, you gotta put in the time, you gotta put in the hard days, you gotta put in the bad days, you gotta just have the whole mix of everything for it to all work,” she said.
Located in Kahului, Maui, Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz is fast approaching its 10th anniversary. It’s been quite a journey for Kailiehu-Fevella, whose love for creating the unique sweet confections she has become known for began when she was a young girl learning to bake from her mother, Davelyn Kailiehu.
Before rebranding in 2015 as Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz, Kailiehu-Fevella started out as Cymz Cake Pops in 2014 baking the little bite-sized cakes on sticks in her garage. “I didn’t see anybody making cake pops here on Maui, and thought maybe that’s something I should do,” she said.
During her first year in business, Kailiehu-Fevella expanded from making cake pops to experimenting with chocolate-dipped treats, using ingredients like pretzles and oreo cookies.
“We started out in the garage at home,” Kailiehu-Fevella explained. “We had a gas oven outside in the garage where we baked. We had a small office with sugar, flour, refrigerators, chest freezers, and tables. Then, once we started distributing to stores, we fell into the wholesale category.” Kailiehu-Fevella realized that the next step for growing her business meant getting a license and working out of a commercial kitchen.
Kailiehu-Fevella was able to secure use of Lōkahi Kitchen, Maui’s first shared-use commercial kitchen located in Wailuku. For three years, Kailiehu-Fevella produced her baked goods there. “We had to sign in and reserve time,” she recalled. “We took all of our things with us to make and prepare there. Then distributed to our accounts – including to the Sunday market at Kaʻahumanu Ave.”
Kailiehu-Fevella’s dessert innovations include a line of tarts. “We are the makers and creators here on Maui of the ‘Hawaiian Chantilly Tartletz.’ We hand stamp, hand press, and make our own shortbread crust in-house.” The bite-sized shortbread crusts are available in many flavors, including red velvet, lilikoʻi, guava, ube and chocolate. Her shortbread crusts are filled with surprises and then topped off with chantilly.
Kailiehu-Fevella’s passion for baking began when she was young. “Growing up, I was the only child so my mom would go to Lee Bear (a candy store and supplier) in Kahului. They had molds, chocolates, and sprinkles. My mom used to bake a lot growing up, and I would be the one licking the bowl and helping.”
These days, at Kailiehu-Fevella’s storefront in Kahului, their roles have flipped, and her mother is now helping her.
On any given day, Kailiehu-Fevella’s mother can be found making Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz’s famous tarts, from mixing up the ingredients to hand stamping the shortbread. Kailiehu-Fevella’s husband, Glen, also helps at the bakery after hours from his job with the state. Glen’s uncle, Bruce Fevella, helps with the baking too and specializes in wedding cakes. “It’s a small intimate local family business,” said Kailiehu-Fevella. “It’s home.”
After almost a decade of creating, making, and selling Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz’ confections, 95% of her business comes from the local community on Maui, with Kailiehu-Fevella creating custom orders for countless milestone celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties, graduation parties and more. Tourists comprise the remaining 5% of her revenue.
“The community has been super tremendous with our growth with maintaining where we are,” Kailiehu-Fevella said gratefully.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to support her community, Kailiehu-Fevella cut her prices and created special deals for essential workers, such as buy-one-get-one deals for nurses and first responders. These promos contributed to the growth of Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz through the pandemic.
With her business continuing to grow, Kailiehu-Fevella hopes to start hiring people and perhaps to open a second location on another island.
She also encourages everyone to go and pursue their dreams.
“For wāhine and young girls – or anyone who wants to start something – don’t be scared, just do it! When things get hard, don’t sit on the sidelines and give up. Stick with it and stay with it. Get in that grit of that hard time because it will be worth it in the long run.”
Cymz Sweet Kre8tionz is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and is located at 153 Maʻa Street in Kahului. For more information: www.cymzsweetkre8tionz.com/.