Savaiians in the remote far west end of the big island now have a slice of sweetness in their neighbourhood with ‘Soul of Pasifika’ opening its operation out of Sal le Pel Variety Store in n Falealupo-uta.
‘Soul of Pasifika’ is a business that specialises in artfully made cakes and cupcakes for any special occasion of which there are many in Savai’i according to owner /operator Lote Fa’amausili Scanlan Savelio.
Ms Savelio returned to her roots in Falealupo in July this year after living in Brisbane for the last 30 years. She brought her family with her as well as her enthusiasm and passion for baking which she has quickly turned into a profitable business and given Savai’ians something to smile about and celebrate.
Although Lote was born in New Zealand, she was raised till she was five years in Falealupo by her grandparents before returning to her parents in New Zealand and eventually Australia where she lived and raised a family.
During that time she would return to Falealupo every chance she had, making more happy memories which made it harder each time for her to leave. Carrying her love for her home, she opened a small home business she called ‘Soul of Pasifika’ in Brisbane which allowed her to care for her children at home and take up her passion for baking to supplement their family income.
“I always knew one day that we would retire in Samoa.’ she said. “Through watching our kids, I always yearned to give them the same happy memories of a childhood growing up in Samoa where life is more about the importance of aiga, being outdoors, simple living, less technology and helping and serving others.”
Her husband and two young children finally decided to heed that calling and made the move to Samoa in July of this year to better support their families and help take care of her grandmother who turned 90 years old in the same month. This was perfect timing for Lote to honour her grandmother by doing what she does best,
“I had the honour of baking my grandmother’s 90th birthday cake. I baked her 9 cakes, one for each decade.
“My husband is also assisting his family in Fasito’o Uta building a family home so we feel like we are serving and supporting our families which will always be one of the most important roles we have as Samoans.”
Leaving behind her business in Brisbane was a bittersweet move as she had built up a large, loyal customer base there but she was also excited at the prospect of moving home and finding new customers.
The locals in Falealupo were very welcoming of having a local cake maker and the word quickly spread around to the surrounding villages about Lote’s services.
Hoteliers in Savaii also came calling for Lote, seeking her baked goods for their special events. One in recent times was the Pinktober high tea fundraiser at Amoa resort held last month.
In addition, thanks to social media, the word also spread around in Brisbane and Melbourne that Lote had relocated ‘Soul of Pasifika’ to Falealupo which only increased her sphere of influence and potential for business.
“ I have truly missed leaving behind my amazing customers in Brisbane though I always enjoy making new ones and what better place than Samoa.
Because I’m baking, I’m doing something I’m passionate about so it makes the transition easier. I’m loving the ability to provide a service to not only my beautiful village of Falealupo, but also the surrounding villages too.
“ When I moved to Savaii, I was surprised to receive requests from my customers in Brisbane, asking if they could order for their families in Savaii. I also have customers from areas in Australia, New Zealand and Upolu who are ordering on behalf of their families.”
While Lote’s presence has created quite a buzz in Savaii with her skills of producing delicious and beautiful looking desserts, her primary focus in her business venture since the beginning was to provid affordable and high quality baking goods to everyday families especially those on budgets,
“I’m more humbled that I’m therefore able to give back for families who may have otherwise not have been able to afford cakes and cupcakes for special occasions such as White Sunday held earlier this month.”
It’s common to hear that ‘what is good for Upolu, is good for Savaii’ but in this case - what is good for Lote’s soul is also good for Savaii and her return home to her beloved Falealupo has had a positive flow on effect for her family and local community,
“My return to Falealupo has not only been a blessing for my soul, it has reminded me of what’s most important in life and the ability to live simply. My priority in Falealupo will always be assisting my family to care for my grandma as my grandfather passed away in 2002. Helping out at my aunty’s shop, supporting my family and the ability to earn a living doing what I love, is good enough for me. You appreciate the simpler things in village life including the environment, spending time with family and appreciating and making do with what you have.”