I Heart Keenwah is a company focused on heirloom quinoa. The company exclusively sources Bolivian Royal Quinoa for all of its products, grown by smallholder farmers that employ sustainable agricultural practices. Its commitment to Fair Trade Certification ensures that its farmers make a living wage. Its co-founder and president Ravi Jolly joined us at our Fail Friday this past June to share his stories of failure and lessons learned.
Ravi established I Heart Keenwah with the idea of using a brand to make quinoa part of people’s everyday. The company soon found itself embarking on an ambitious path. Its first product was a superfood-loaded quinoa cluster, which caught on to the ancient grain craze and gave the company enough momentum to raise money for expansion into conventional retail. Ravi quickly realized that what translated well in the health food space didn’t have the same sort of appeal in conventional. As one of the early players in the health food movement, the company also saw itself facing a new host of competition against other snacks.
In that moment, Ravi realized the need for a return to the company’s core mission and made the decision to pivot I Heart Keenwah into a platform brand, rather than a snack brand. This allowed the company to simplify its products and produce more mass-friendly formats. His biggest takeaway as an entrepreneur was to be open to the reality that the first path or format that he embarked on wasn’t the end-all, be-all.
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