Co-Owner, Cajudoy Construction LLC
Selected as participant for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Business Center’s Business Certification Training Cohort 4A/4B
The adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has played an important role in the lives of Brandy Cajudoy and her husband. For nearly 18 years, she worked as a teacher and he as a baker at various hotels, and they diversified their income through real estate investment properties for long-term rentals for residents and short-term vacation rentals. Additionally, Brandy’s husband did handyman and remodeling work for friends and family, and after doing side jobs for many years, they got their contractor’s license in 2017 with Brandy as the responsible managing employee (RME). Both left their full-time jobs in 2018 to focus on Cajudoy Construction LLC.
“My husband always comes home with a smile on his face. He loves to build, and I love numbers and business,” she said. “We’re still growing our construction company, and luckily we had it because during the pandemic construction started booming,” Brandy said, noting it helped to offset this time in 2020 when many residents were unable to afford rent and tourism was at a standstill.
The Maui couple takes great pride in their work and always have their clients’ best interests at heart. For example, they select materials that are most suitable based on weather conditions, value, and quality.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women working in construction made up just 1.5 percent of the entire U.S. workforce in 2018. With the industry being overwhelmingly male-dominated, women like Brandy face a unique set of challenges.
“They do tend to just go to my husband or call him to ask questions,” she explained. “He’ll graciously tell them, ‘I don’t know that; you have to talk to Brandy.’ You just have to let it roll off your back. It is what it is and it’s never going to change, especially in this industry, but I have tough skin so it’s fine. You gotta let it go, and I don’t take it personally.”
Brandy is also incredibly proud to be able to work from home and take care of her children and, most recently, her mother. Being self-employed has afforded her the ability to work full-time and manage her schedule well such that she can devote energy to herself and her family.
“If we didn’t make these major changes, I wouldn’t be able to do what I need to do for my mother now,” Brandy shared. “I’m definitely a caregiver and I’m there for her and it’s amazing.”
The MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center got on Brandy’s radar when she was perusing online for ways to educate herself on how to run the business smoothly and expand. Her goal for 2021 was to focus on professional development, and the timing of the Center’s Business Certification Training Cohort 4A/4B worked out perfectly. She’s now working with the Center’s instructors/consultants Jose and Mari Villa on getting her business certified.
Brandy was also pleasantly surprised when her daughter—after completing her first college semester in New York for fashion design—came home and expressed interest in taking over Cajudoy Construction in 15 to 20 years. Brandy and her husband never thought they’d have a family business and were planning to retire eventually, but they’re now excited and looking forward to growing and succession planning.
As a woman small business owner, Brandy offers the following piece of advice to current and aspiring entrepreneurs: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seek all the resources and information you can find. Don’t be afraid to do research and find what you need. No question is stupid.”