There’s no shortage of incredible product ideas by good people in the natural products industry. But what’s the key to balancing marketplace ideals with common business sense? What does real success look like? This is one of my very favorite interviews, originally published in Natural Foods Merchandizer. Harmless Harvest cofounder Justin Guilbert shares his path to success (confidence, fumbling, setbacks, big checks … they’re all in there!) and why the company’s raw coconut water is just the first step toward developing markets for wild-harvested products that bring economical value to developing communities. (All while
newhope360: What does Harmless Harvest’s tagline—“Positive feedback loops between people and plants”—mean?
Justin Guilbert: From the get-go, we wanted to develop a business that was a catalyst, a business that would not hide behind the black box of the corporation or brand name. We wanted to create transparency throughout the supply chain. What we are doing is harnessing individual consumer power and using that consumer power combined with other forces to bring tangible economic value to areas that do not traditionally have an immediate economic value.
[My business partner and I] flew hundreds of thousands of miles all around the world for three years before we came out with a product. As we were doing this, we actually hung out with the people of the regions [where we source ingredients] and saw what it was like and realized: Wow, it’s great that [the landscape] is so beautiful, but all the people care about is figuring out how to make money from the land—and that is because they’re basically starving. Our mission at Harmless Harvest is to give these communities actual value for that wilderness.