Adoboloco, Maui’s family-run hot sauce company, is really on fire. What began as a homeschool project with the Parsons family turned into a full-time business, with bottles of their made on Maui hot sauce now available for purchase across the country! Tim Parsons shares the stories and secrets of success for Adoboloco.
Maui Made: Can you explain how this ‘little’ venture started?
TP: Adoboloco sprouted from a homeschooling garden project in Maui. Now the business involves the whole Parsons family and is being used as a teaching platform for our children’s education. Adoboloco partners with small local farms to source the fresh ingredients for our unique and delicious sauces.
MM: Was there a particular event that helped you launch your business?
TP: Not really, we started out by selling at the swap meet and then moved into wholesale, selling directly to stores. During the first 1.5 years I was working two full time jobs- I was running my full time design business doing work for clients out of San Francisco remotely from Maui and launching Adoboloco at the same time. When we decided to turn Adoboloco into a business, it took us almost a year to get everything setup- permitting, licensing, packaging and health dept. inspections.
And we pause here for a Commercial Break – Check out this hilarious video about the important issue of Adoboloco addiction (there’s a cure)
Or, for something a bit more heartwarming, meet the Parsons family and hear firsthand about their business
MM: I see that the Pineapple Habenero hot sauce is at the Maui Costco – how did this happen ? Is it hard for local suppliers to get an order from Costco?
TP: Yes this is our first run with Costco. We thought that our Pineapple would be great in larger bottles because when people try it they really start using it heavily. It goes on so many types of food like tuna sandwich, pizza, grilled fish, steamed beets and in cocktails.. it’s almost endless, so the larger bottle really helped with that.
To give you a sense of getting into Costco, it took us about 1 year from the time we contacted them to getting into the Maui store. Now we’re in the process of doing demos there and trying to get the word out that it’s available there.
MM: I don’t see the Pineapple online however – will it be available online at some point?
TP: It was when it first came out for the Made in Hawaii Festival but sold out. We can’t do the larger bottle on the website due to shipping issues. We just received our new labels for our 5oz bottles. We’ll be making a new batch very soon and it will be back online very soon.
MM: To what do you credit your success?
TP: Loving what we do, working together as a family, creating a high quality local product that our fans can get behind. Our sauces are unique in that they’re really a varietal sauce. All about flavor over heat. Yes we have very hot sauces but even with those it’s about profiling the flavor of the peppers. I feel it’s very similar to grape varietals and wine.
MM: How is Maui for running a small family business – challenges? benefits?
TP: I was born and raised here on Maui and then lived on the Mainland for 11 years running a design studio there. Doing business in Maui or Hawaii is totally different. Shipping in supplies like bottles etc. is one of the largest, most expensive hurdles. A major benefit is that we can grow chili peppers here all year long.
MM: What’s your most popular sauce?
TP: That’s a hard question… It really comes down to personal preference so they all sell pretty evenly and when someone latches on to that flavor they really go back to the same flavor quite often.
- Jalapeno (mild)
- Bangkok Thai Peppers (medium-hot)
- Hawaiian (hot)
- Habanero (hot)
- Pineapple Habanero (hot)
- Hamajang Kiawe Smoked Ghost Peppers (very hot)
- Maui No Ka Oi Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers (very hot)
MM: Where can people buy Adoboloco?
TP : We are all over Hawaii, and across the nation in most Crate and Barrel locations and specialty shops from coast to coast, with new locations appearing frequently. Can’t find a shop near you? Adoboloco also offers a ‘bounty’ – if you suggest a store that places an order, they will send you a t-shirt and bottle of sauce!
MM: How can people purchase your sauce online?
TP: As a family we cook together all the time and make different things that end up become a regular thing on the menu. We have an ongoing idea list and will be introducing them as we can afford to expand our product offering.
One major goal is to expand the chili pepper growing capabilities within Hawaii farms. Chili peppers can be grown all year round and Hawaii has the perfect environment for it. We’re really wanting to get to a point where we can contract grow with more local farmers.
(Maui Made Note: Adoboloco also sells heirloom hot pepper seed packets online!)
Another project is our gift box. Its patent is pending and we are starting to provide it to other hot sauce makers to bring down their shipping cost to their customers under the name HOT SAUCE BOX
MM: Anything else you want to add?
TP: We truly appreciate the support our community has given us over the last 2.5 years. We’re looking forward to our next community day so we can say Mahalo to everyone.
Maui Made Note: The Parsons team said Mahalo in a pretty spectacular way, by handing out bottles of free hot sauce at the Swap Meet! Check out the video –
Mahalo to Tim Parsons for taking the time to answer our questions!!!