BXP - May 2018 - 14
community, and ultimately promote peace and stability in the
to provide for their families. When afghanistan farmers are
war-torn country, Harkins adds, "Rumi Spice is an easy story
given a sustainable and peaceful way to live, alaniz explains,
to share because it is just so compelling!"
"they're not as tempted when insurgents come around and
say, 'pick up a rifle and I'll pay you a dollar a day.'"
TakeS a Team
alaniz insisted on bringing in Ryan Watt, sales manager
alaniz also echoes a sentiment put forth by the Persian poet
at Rumi Spice, and Imelda Lopez, digital marketer at Rumi
Rumi that trade can be the connector that helps prevent
Spice, to the interview, because he believes that Rumi Spice's
military conflict. "Before we started with working with the
success isn't his own, or even alaniz' and his co-founders',
afghan farmers, many of them didn't know anything about
but of the entire team, noting that Watt and Lopez play
americans except for what they hear from the rumor mills,"
critical roles in the brand's success as a market disruptor and
alaniz remarks. "This made it easier for an insurgent to
its ability to empower consumers to enact societal change
spread their messages. The Taliban would come around and
with their purchasing power and also partner with brands to
say, 'Hey look, these americans are evil. They're infidels who
inform the business' marketing and development strategies.
are out to get you.' If these insurgents go to the farmers we
partner with, they are resistant to the Taliban's messaging
The CeO's philosophy's roots start with his military experi-
and they share their experience that 'americans are helping
ence in afghan Hands-a language and culture-focused pro-
provide for me and my family'"
gram of the U.S. army that works in collaboration with local
businesses and government officials. "When I was serving
Growing a market for afghan saffron also helps eliminate the
as an advisor for the governor of a province in afghanistan,"
attractiveness of poppy as a crop and, instead, spreads the
he explains, "I ran into these farmers who were growing this
idea of food for social good around the world. Poppy is more
incredible saffron and that what's sparked this question for
than an afghan problem; it becomes a problem right here in
me and my partner kim [Jung] of what could happen if we
the U.S. mike Stobbe from the associated Press has reported
connected these farmers to international markets."
that more than 64,000 americans died from drug overdoses
alaniz and Jung saw an opportunity to use this valuable crop
to lessen the allure of joining an insurgent group to be able
making a difference on both sides of the globe has helped