Vafels, Concieved || Part I

Vafels, Concieved || Part I


One of the questions I get most often is “How did you start?”


My name is Will Dugan and I control this little operation called Vafels in Boulder, Colorado.


Vafels was an idea conceived in parts between 2010 and 2017. I had begun racing road bicycles full-time following University, spending a lot of time outside of the United States. And though I enjoyed exploring unique gustatory sensations from one Hemisphere to the next, the Belgian Wafel left a mark - vegemite, not so much. The thought of sharing my own version of the gaufre de Liege West of the Atlantic was not my idea alone.


Between travel and events, my friends from home and I would share travel stories. Alex and I commiserated over the idea of bringing indulges from abroad closer to home. “How fun would it be to live simply and feed people authentic waffles that they can’t get anywhere else?” It would be a hole-in-the-wall brick-and-mortar or a small cart with a permit to operate around town. 


Ten years ago, it was hard to find an authentic Belgian wafel. Sure, shops and diners touted “Belgian Waffles” for breakfast but the only resemblance to the authentic version was that they were thick breakfast menu items with deep wells. Hell, you can still make your own at the Holiday Inn with a pre-made batter (good luck reading the ingredients). Not to be confused with a genuine wafel from across the pond - these waffles are vehicles for Aunt Jemima’s corn syrup and nothing more. Would you eat one plain, without toppings?


Notice that I’ve committed the spelling of “waffle” for the Americanized, bastardized version of the Belgian “wafel” - or “gaufre” in the French speaking region of Belgium, Wallonia.


Alex and I drafted a business plan for the wafel business. It dug fairly deep for an idea we’d lusted over on Google Chat and it got passed back and forth in Google Drive for some time. At some point, we realized it was more of an unrealistic dream, and the reality and safety of this entrepreneurial pursuit paired with my aspiring interest in cycling led us to table the plan. And there it sat in Google’s virtual space...for 8 years.

space...for 8 years.