I’m so honored to introduce you to one of the most humble and talented entrepreneurs on Guam. I met Pika almost 3 years ago at a boutique opening, we were introduced but didn’t really have time to chat, we lost touch for a while and happened to run into each other at Christmas time last year. As we began to talk there was absolutely a spark. We quickly bonded over travel, motherhood, and female empowerment. I knew immediately that #AGlobalTribeOfWomen would love her too! And so of course, I asked to interview her.
Pika has such great wisdom and perspective that I believe stems from three core values of hers, her Chamorro roots, her dedication to family, and her desire to empower others. You’ll definitely want to grab a pen and paper as you read through her interview because she shares some things that will absolutely help women at all stages in life. She also shares some extremely touching personal life stories.
As I originally read through Pika’s interview, I began spamming her inbox with exclamation point filled messages. Each section had me nodding my head and grasping my chest. I absolutely couldn’t wait for this to publish and I’m so excited to share it with you today.
Please leave a comment below after you read. I believe this interview will be a great motivator for any of you struggling to pursue your passion or take a risk.
AM: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your family and background.
PF: Hafa Adai! My name is Pika Fejeran (pronounced like fair-an), a Chamorrita born and raised on the beautiful island of Guam! My father is Chamorro (native of Guam) and my mother is Hungarian by way of New York City. I grew up in the Chamorro culture of respeta (respect) and inafa’maolek (make things good), where your family is your greatest asset and resource. On my father’s side I have 86 first cousins, so my extended family is huge- which is completely normal for Guam! I have one younger sister, Lola.
We grew up in a house full of love and travel.
By the time I graduated high school I had visited all continents except Antarctica and South America. Exposure to the world, along with my parent’s value of education led me to leave island after graduating high school, to attend the University of Southern California in beautiful Los Angeles (go Trojans!)! Being on my own for the first time in the immense concrete jungle of LA and amongst the people of Hollywood and Beverly Hills was an intense culture shock.
For the first time in my life, I struggled to find my identity and voice.
In my dorm floor full of gorgeous girls with make-up, hair and clothes, here I was, the brown girl who only owned mascara.
Freshman year was a defining time for me- feeling so out of place forced me to dig deep and reflect on who I was, and my first trip home to Guam for Christmas break was an eye-opener. It was like I was seeing the beauty of my island and her people for the first time. My self-confidence was renewed and, though I now know how to do my hair and makeup ;), I maintained my identity as a Chamorro woman who is kind, sees strangers as people, and cares for and nurtures those close to me. I also decided that one day I would move home to Guam to be a productive adult and give back to the island that raised me.
Fast forward 10 years, and here I am! I am married to a Chamorro man I’ve known since I was 15 (and loved since then, but fate wouldn’t have us together until we were both in LA), and together we have 3 children: Cali (born in California) who is 8, Isla 5 years old (born on the island), and KO who is 2.
AM: What are you most passionate about?
PF: My passion lies in making my island a better place to live, and helping her people feel empowered and happy.
AM: What was your first business?
PF: Pika’s Café was our first business but second baby! We opened the Café between having Cali and Isla, and always joke that we’ve had to give the Café the same love and care that we do for a child. When we opened Pika’s Café, we introduced four values to Guam that we had not seen in other establishments, which, I believe is why we’ve been so successful:
1. Our product is 51% our island hospitality, 49% our delicious and consistent food and drinks
2. We are part of the community and support the community, especially our local farmers and artisan businesses on-island.
3. We invest in our team because a happy team is a happy customer.
4. We are generous and giving, because when we give $1, we know we’ll eventually get $10 in return.
We have an amazing team that holds these values dear every day, and today we are the #1 restaurant on Guam, according to Yelp and Trip Advisor!
AM: What sparked your entrepreneurial spirit?
PF: My husband sparked my entrepreneurial spirit! With my education (at USC I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Management, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning), I happily pictured my life working in my career as an urban and environmental planner. And I did, for a while, to support our family while my husband pursued his dream of opening his own restaurant.
Lenny never went to college, but worked with a wonderful restaurant team in Los Angeles which he called his “college.” So, when we moved home in 2010, he hit the ground running towards his dream while I brought home the paychecks. His work paid off, and within 4 months of moving home, we opened our restaurant, which he named after me, “Pika’s Café.”
I kept my full-time job, while also maintaining the books and back-office for the restaurant. We started small, only 27 seats, but within 2 years we had expanded to 60 seats because people loved us!
After 4 years of growing our business, I took the plunge and left my job (and amazing benefits) to work with my husband, and I’ve never looked back!
AM: Tell us about your current business(es).
PF: Leaving my corporate job helped us set up more systems and control in the restaurant, and my husband was able to promote and train his replacement as General Manager so he could move on to his next endeavor.
We partnered with his friend, and I’d say, the best Chef on the island, to open Kitchen Lingo. A boutique-y, chef-driven, craft restaurant in the capitol of Guam. We’ve had a great reaction from the community, and have plans to expand Kitchen Lingo in the next couple of months.
Also, in the last few months, we have brought partners in to Pika’s Café. This was a big step, to relinquish some control to our partners, but we felt it was the right thing to do. Like any baby, they grow up and we need to let them go to grow! So, we brought in these partners, who have extensive experience managing multiple unit restaurants, so that we can see Pika’s Café grow to multiple units.
AM: You seem to be very involved in the community here on Guam. What things are you a part of and why are they important to you?
PF: Since I am self-employed, my schedule is on my time, which has allowed me to get involved in a few different things outside of my job, which helps me keep my foot in the door of my career.
I am currently the governor-appointed Commissioner for the Chamorro Land Trust Commission; the commission manages the land held in trust for the Chamorro people.
I am also a board member of and the Secretary of the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, where our vision is to create an island economy that is driven and influenced by the equal participation of women in business; we empower women!
I am also the Chairperson for the Land Use Master Plan for Guam 2065- our government led effort to plan Guam’s future for the next 50 years.
I am also deeply passionate about the status of our island; today we are an unincorporated territory of the US. Which basically means, that we are a possession of the US. We don’t get to sit at the table for decisions made by the US for our own land- the US military occupies 1/3 of our land, land which used to be passed down from family to family for subsistence and livelihood.
There are currently plans to move Marines from Okinawa to Guam (literally the Okinawans are protesting to get them off of their island, and now they are coming to ours); this will strain our resources and destroy portions of our environment.
Today, more than ever, there is a movement for Guam’s Independence. As one of the few remaining colonies of the world, I believe Guam is ready, and Guam needs independence. With independence, we can make decisions that are best for our people, and our water and land. None of this is to say that we don’t love the US, or have attachment or appreciation for where we are today; instead we just want the US to provide us the same respect and recognition that they expect from other countries.
AM: What do you like to do for fun?
PF: I love to go to the beach with my family and friends. I can spend all day out on the sand, ordering Pina Coladas from the hotel bar behind me, building sandcastles and burying the kids, then when I get to hot- dip in the water and go for a snorkel and feed the fish.
AM: I see you recently launched a jewelry line, please tell us the story behind that.
PF: Since I was a kid I loved making jewelry with my mom and sister! Then in college, when my girlfriend and I were wondering what to tell people we did for fun (because drinking is not an approprate response ;)), we bonded over our love for jewelry making and we went out to buy the materials to do it. So, jewelry making has been a hobby, and something I made as gifts for friends. Then, late last year I was talking to a girlfriend who just wrote an amazing book (Handful of Smoke by Erica Sand– it’s on Amazon, get it, it’s a great read!). And she asked me: “if time and money were not an issue, what would you do?” And my answer surprised me- I said “make and sell my jewelry.”So, in December, as she was organizing a craft fair, she called me and said “Pika! Make it happen!” I was ready, I just didn’t know it, and her push helped me realize it. I specialize in delicate jewelry with gold-filled and silver chains, and prefer to make custom pieces for my wearer. I’ve had one showing, and I was able to make 7 custom pieces for my customers! I named my jewelry business “love, Pika” because prior to my business, I always signed my jewelry gifts to my friends “love, Pika.”
AM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
PF: In 5 years…I will be traveling on vacation with my family, and living part-time on Guam and part-time in Steamboat Springs, Colorado! Steamboat Springs is my second home- my grandmother lived there and I went there every year while growing up. Today our family still has a place in town and a cabin in the mountains. We’ll have the best of both worlds- the warmth of paradise and the cool of the mountains!
AM: What legacy do you hope to leave?
PF: My children are my legacy. I pray that they will grow up knowing their worth, that they spread love to everyone they meet, that they make and find happiness, and that they choose a life partner who celebrates and encourages them.
AM: What book are you currently reading or recommend?
PF: I am reading “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben. It is fascinating! It is about how trees in the forests he’s observed interact and care for each other beyond anything we’ve thought of before. His book piqued my interest, because on Guam, we have a very deep respect and understanding of our wild jungles. There are trees in our jungles that we believe are homes to our ancestors’ spirits, and the jungle is a sacred place for us. I believe that today, our global addiction to growth disregards the sacredness of our human connection to our natural environment, and Mr. Wohlleben’s book only provides a deeper perspective of this relationship. It seriously hurts my heart when I see our jungle destroyed for a housing development, or worse, a parking lot. And it happens too often. We must be more conscious of our developments- be smarter and more efficient. Because when we lose the wildness of our jungles, we cannot get it back. (okay, stepping off my soap box. This must be one of my passions!)
AM: What advice would you give a woman who’s just starting out in business and feeling discouraged because she feels like her business isn’t growing?
PF: If you are feeling discouraged, that’s good. Because it means you want more. But in order to get more, you have to do more. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Spend more time working or pursuing your goal. You may have to give up time with your family, but with a supportive partner, you must realize that this extra hard work today means that later everything will be in place and you will be where you want to be. Sometimes you have to be off-balance to make progress, as long as there is a clear goal in sight. You can do it! Let your discouragement be your fuel.
AM: Please tell us where we can find you on the web and where can we find out more about your businesses.
PF: I am not on social media. I made a decision last year to leave the social media world because I realized that every moment I wasn’t doing something, I was on social media, and that whatever I was looking at on there was not adding any value to my life, instead it was making me feel like I was lacking or missing out. So, I left social media. Although, I believe my instagram account is still out there (@pikapilar).
Pika’s Café and Kitchen Lingo are both on FB and IG (@pikascafeguam and @kitchenlingoguam). We also have a sweet website for Kitchen Lingo. Please check us out!
You can contact Pika at firstname.lastname@example.org for jewelry enquiries.
Tribe! Can I just tell you that I emailed Pika multiple times while initially reading her interview! I was just so inspired by her.
First of all, I love that she’s completely disconnected from social media. I’ve struggled with this SO much and have been tempted to just log out and never log back in again. To be honest, I feel like it steals my time and my joy. I know it’s been helpful in promoting this here site, but I’ve been considering other less stressful ways.
Second, it’s been my DREAM for years to work everyday alongside my husband. Really. It’s something I’m always saying to Brett. So to hear Pika say how she left corporate world and now gets to spend each day with her hubby, I about cried. I’m so happy for them!!
Third, her passion for her land. To hear her share what Guam means to her and sense such pride is astounding. I don’t actually have a place that I call home. I usually say that wherever I’m living at the time is my home. So to read such passion and commitment to her place, just rocked me. I love Guam so much and it’s taught me so many things. I’d love to see the people of Guam be respected as they wish. Also, if you haven’t heard about the Marines in Okinawa I highly encourage you to do a simple Google search. To make a long story short, they have murdered, raped, and disrespected the local people of Okinawa to the point that they have now been asked to leave. There are obviously many other details to the story, but this is what I’ve read and is widely talked about here on Guam and within the military community.
Were you touched by Pika’s interview? Please share in the comments below. I always reply.