Diversity and InclusionResponsible ImpactSustainable Shopping

How Rumi Spice Is Changing The Game In The World Of Culinary Spices: Navigating Sustainability, B Corp Certification, and Empowering Afghan Farmers in the CPG eCommerce World

March is B Corp Month, and although sustainability and diversity have always been central to MagicLinks’ values, being a B Corp business means so much more. Certified B Corporations®  are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy while meeting the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. For us, living by these values each and every day is key, not only in every interaction with our employees, but with our brand partners, creators, and beyond. For other brands in the space, this month is also a chance to learn from one another, build stronger connections with other businesses, and generate mutual respect for the power of business to change the world.

B Corps are shaking up what it means to do business and taking a stand for something bigger than profits. B Corp certification requires meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

We recently got the chance to catch up with Liza Cohen, Manager of Marketing & eCommerce at Rumi Spice, a B Corp CPG eCommerce brand that works to empower Afghan farmers and create a market for high-quality, ethically sourced spices. We wanted to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a B Corp CPG eCommerce brand that aims to use spice as a force for good in 2022. 

Q: Tell us about Rumi Spice’s origin story?

A: Rumi’s founders were a team of military veterans who served in Afghanistan with the US Army. Given their experiences in Afghanistan as deployed soldiers, our founders grew to love the people and the land of Afghanistan and wanted to find a way to support this vibrant community. They started Rumi Spice to empower Afghan farmers and women workers to be connected to the international marketplace through saffron. Our veteran founders also developed our strong Afghan networks and on-the-ground understanding of how business is conducted, which remains our competitive advantage to this day.

Rumi has imported nearly 1 MT of saffron since it’s inception, opening up the US market to the unique, high-quality product. Courtesy Rumi Spice

Q: Who are Rumi Spice’s customers and how do you make sure your brand mission reaches them? 

A: Rumi brings flavorful, ethically sourced and socially responsible spices from Afghanistan to our customers while catalyzing sustainable rural economic development in Afghanistan and providing countless jobs to Afghan farmers and women who harvest and process these spices. We sell our spices directly to consumers, through our website, as well as via retail, food service, and wholesale. Our spices are sought after by adventure-seeking food lovers who value high-quality ingredients and making connections to the larger world through food.

Q: How was the process of becoming a Certified B Corporation for your team?

A: Although it’s always an extensive process to become a Certified B Corporation, Rumi is proud to showcase our commitment to social and environmental ethics, transparency and accountability. From day one, we were laser-focused on the “why” of our work. Mission and purpose are at the core of everything we do and we are honored to be a part of this growing community of companies using business as a force for good.

Q: Can you share some insights on what it’s like to be a B Corp CPG e-commerce brand in today’s digital marketplace? 

A: With today’s increasingly competitive digital marketplace we hope that our strong mission of empowering Afghan women and farmers helps draw customers in and try our direct-sourced spices. We know that when people taste the Rumi difference they will be hooked. We are fortunate to work alongside such a strong network of fellow B Corps who help spread our mission, and so many amazing assets provided to us from the leaders of the B Corp community. It is important for B Corps to continue working together toward our shared mission of using business as a force for good.

Rumi Spice’s Afghan harvesting team is comprised of 95% women. Courtesy Rumi Spice

Q: As a marketing leader, how do you view the current CPG marketing landscape? What are your top challenges?

A: With all the new privacy firewalls in the digital landscape, it has become increasingly difficult to learn about our customer online. The more we know about our customers, the more we are able to tailor our new product launches, messaging, and recipes towards them. At Rumi, we are very fortunate to have such a loyal customer base that has been with us since the beginning. But, we are always looking for ways to attract new customers while educating them on what makes our products unique. We are always seeking out new avenues to share our mission and educate more and more consumers on Rumi’s competitive advantage. 

Q: What are some emerging trends in social/environmental responsibility that you’re seeing in the food / CPG space? 

A: We are loving the trend toward sustainability and environmentally-conscious packaging options. Rumi is excited to bring some new packaging formats to our customers later this year. We are also noticing that customers are paying more attention to where their food comes from and the supply chain involved in bringing it to market.

Q: I understand Rumi Spice has leveraged a variety of marketing channels, such as affiliate marketing in some form. Do you plan to expand into influencer marketing in the future? 

A: Yes, we have seen great success from the limited affiliate marketing we have done in the past and are very excited to tap into this resource more in the future.

Q: What’s ahead in 2022 for Rumi Spice? Anything you’re open to sharing? 

A: In addition to launching new packaging sizes and formats through our D2C avenues later this year, we are thrilled to announce that our amazing retail partner, Whole Foods, will be adding new Rumi SKU’s to their offerings later this year as well (in all stores nationwide). And, we are gearing up to launch a delicious new wild foraged Afghan whole seed spice later this month!

To learn about new Rumi Spice product launches, exclusive discounts, new recipes and more:
Sign up for the Rumi Spice email list here

For Rumi Spice social media updates:
 @rumi_spice (Instagram) | Rumi Spice on Facebook  

Our hope is that by being a Certified B Corporation, both Rumi Spice and MagicLinks alike will make more people aware of our values as a company as we continue to navigate within each of our corporate responsibility, diversity, and sustainability journeys. In this process, we’re always looking for new ways to improve our impact. By being a B Corp, we’re giving ourselves the freedom—and the challenge—to do just that.

 

 

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