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Spice Up Your Life with Patti Doyle

Chief Executive Officer at Rumi Spice

Join us for our conversation with Patti Doyle, the CEO of Rumi Spice. Founded by military veterans who served in Afghanistan, the spice company’s mission is to bring flavorful, ethically sourced and socially responsible spices from Afghanistan to share with customers worldwide. In her own right, Patti is an accomplished and innovative B2C and B2B marketing executive with profit and loss responsibility, extensive experience in marketing strategy, business development, digital marketing, advertising, brand management, CRM and eCommerce. She Utilizes her outstanding interpersonal skills to lead cross-functional teams and to ensure that goals and objectives are achieved. In talking with Patti, we learn about Rumi Spice and her personal connection to the brand. In addition, she shares some of the challenges she has encountered throughout her career, as well as the pivotal and proud moments that pushed her to grow.

Today’s episode is hosted by Diana Fryc of Retail Voodoo, connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianafryc/

Key Takeaways

  • The history and origins of Rumi Spice
  • The career journey from analytics into joining Rumi Spice
  • Giving opportunities to local farmers to access global markets
  • Lessons and experiences from working with Rumi Spice

Quotes

“I’m a big believer in the power of the network. Those networks and the people you meet are the ones that are going to help chart that path for you.” – Patti

“I’m so proud that we’ve grown our network of farmers and we’ve grown our network of women that are a part of harvesting and processing.” – Patti

Chapters

00:00 | Introduction
03:32 | Ethically Sourced & Socially Responsible Spices
08:39 | Personal Connection
12:26 | Facing Business Challenges Head On
17:04 | Pivotal Career Moments
22:06 | The Importance of Mentorship
27:42 | A Career Filled With Proud Moments
30:52 | Creating & Launching New Spice Flavors
37:38 | Craving Global Flavors
42:11 | Women Who Bring The Flavor
45:43 | Learn More About The Company

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo. A brand consultancy focused on building,growing and revitalizing brands in the food, beverage, health and wellness industries. If youare ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy thatgives your brand an advantage, please visit

https://retail-voodoo.com/contact set up a discovery call today.

Produced by Heartcast Media.
https://www.heartcastmedia.com/

Transcript

Diana: Hi, Diana Fryc here I am, the host of the Get Her podcast where I get to talk with the powerhouse women in the food, beverage, and wellness categories about their journeys to success and their insights on the industry. This episode is brought to you by retail voodoo. Retail Voodoo is a brand development firm providing strategic brand and design services for brands in the food industry. Clients include Starbucks, RBI, PepsiCo, Nike, and many other market leaders. So if your goal is to crush the competition by driving growth and disrupting the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call and let’s talk. You can find out more on retail-voodoo.com. Well, I am very excited to have you all meet Patti Doyle, CEO of Rumi Spice today. Patti oversees the brand’s mission of bringing flavorful, ethically sourced, and socially responsible spices from Afghanistan to worldwide customers. An accomplished and innovative top B2B and B2C marketing executive. Prior to joining Rumi Spice, Patti had a mixture of executive and senior marketing roles for a digital content platform and a number of food and beverage brands, including Kraft Foods and PepsiCo. Well, hello, Patti. How were you?

 

Patti: Again, I’m great. Thank you for having me on.

 

Diana: Of course. Where are you located?

 

Patti: Yes. So I am in the heart of the Midwest in Chicago, Illinois.

 

Diana: Chicago, you know what Chicago, Illinois is right now is the inner innovation hub of food and beverage, particularly in the natural space. It is an explosion.

 

Patti: Yeah, I feel like there are so many. There’s so many good things happening here. I think it’s one of those things, too. I mean, there’s just an amazing amount of startups that scale up, you know, brands that have quote-unquote made it. But because of that, I think that ecosystem just keeps feeding on itself. Yeah. So it’s just it’s a, it’s a fun place to be doing what we’re doing.

 

Diana: Yeah. And you’ve got a built-in infrastructure that’s just legacy old for distribution and that sort of thing. But I will say, I don’t know if you know the hatchery, but I think the work that’s being done that Natalie is doing over there and her team is really catapulting, I think that’s part of it. Yeah.

 

Patti: Yeah. So we are actually hatchery members. You are? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we certainly were beyond probably sort of what you call, the startup stage. But I am such a big fan and advocate of everything they have going on, the resources, the networking they recently did, you know, sort of a local or like a regional buyer event just for buyers and sort of driving distance for us. And I agree with you like I can’t say enough good things and you know, even as you continue to grow, they’re just a phenomenal resource to work with and just a great team of people.

 

Diana: So yes, I love it. Yeah. Well, so let’s talk a little bit about what you’re up to. First of all, Rumi Spice. Tell us a little bit about the brand, what it is and what it stands for.

 

Patti: Yeah. So really, like, at the simplest level, I could say we’re a spice company, but really we are so much more than that. And we can also talk a little bit about where we’re headed and what the future looks like for us. But what we aim to do is create jobs and really a sustainable source of economic support for women and farmers in Afghanistan by sourcing these amazing agricultural products that come out of this country. It’s a really incredible growing region, and the quality of what grows there is just phenomenal. And it’s wonderful, too, because it’s very unadulterated. You know, we will harvest a lot of the products we know that are sort of farmed like saffron is. And so it means that they’re not getting pesticides. They’re not any sort of Franken seeds or anything like that. They’re just really natural, flavorful products. And so, you know, part of it is just showcasing that so that we create demand for them. The more demand we can create, the more products we’re going to the source, and the more people can be a part of our farming. And, you know, my goal is to really figure out how we create connections through food to the vibrancy of this area. And I think for many people, if you ask them about Afghanistan, they’re going to think of either war or violence, the turmoil of some sort. And, you know, that certainly has been part of the history. But there is this incredibly rich story as it relates to the people, their food, and their culture. That is what we want to help share through the products we bring to market now.

 

Diana: So I’m glad that you brought up the history a little bit. I wonder how much the founder’s story tells us a little. I mean like that’s to me the special part of Rumi stories. Can you share that with people like, how did it get creative? Why does it even exist?

 

Patti: Yeah. So I love talking about how we got started. Full disclosure, I call myself founder to point out because I was not one of the boots on the ground when we got started. I took over from our founders when they decided to pursue some other path, but three of our original founders were all in the army, so they’re Army veterans and we’re serving in Afghanistan. So that’s actually where they met. And while they were over there, they got to know some of the folks there and especially some of the farmers. And they were the ones who really started to understand. Beautiful products were being grown there, but the farmers and the foragers had no real path to market. So it wasn’t you know, this was not as simple as, you know, calling someone or sending 10,000 emails to try to get someone to buy your product. They really just didn’t have that mechanism to reach other markets outside of the country. And so it really started by our founders bringing back. We started with Saffron. That was our original product and bringing satchels of it back to sort of vetted hear both, you know, from a quality standpoint. But then, you know, bringing it we started by just bringing it to shops both here and then in Boston because one of our founders is out there and having them try it and they were really the ones who understood and could just see the quality of the product. You know, besides the fact, Saffron, it’s also the part I think it’s adulterated frequently because it’s so expensive. But, you know, when you steep it in water and you see the flavor and the color that’s coming out of it, you know, the chefs are really the first ones to say, oh, this is amazing. This is a really high-quality product that you have. And so that really started us on our path. And so from that, it really was starting to package it, package it. So it was sized for retail, so for home use, and for consumers. And eventually, that led to us getting into Whole Foods regionally. And so they were really our first major brick-and-mortar customers. Yeah. And so that was really the path we started on with them. And so I am so fortunate because they created all the relationships that we still have today. So we have sort of a lead, what I call a farmer partner we work with who helps interface with all the farmers that are in our network who helped us set up our processing facility, which is where all the women work. Mm-hmm. And so that was really the foundation of how we got started and that sort of in the first half of our trajectory in terms of establishing the brand and bringing our initial products over.

 

Diana: That’s so cool. So dare I ask, what is it like? How did you get involved with Rumi? Like, yeah, I feel there is a personal connection there.

 

Patti: So I will say it is. What I think of is like all the good moments that have happened in my career have happened from the awesome network that I’m a part of, which could be like a whole separate conversation. But I’m a big believer in the power of the network. I’m sort of fortunate though, you know, whether it’s the places I went to school or having spent my whole career in Chicago and things like that, that, you know, those networks and the people you meet are the ones that are going to help chart that path for you. And so actually through one of my like alumni relationships, I met one of our board members, and they at the time were looking for someone as the last of the founders was stepping away from the business and sort of trying to figure out what to do. It’s a little bit of an unusual stage that we were at to bring in someone new. And it just was you know, I had been looking I was somewhere else that sort of knew that that trajectory was probably winding down. And I talked to him and then the rest of the board members and learned this incredible story of what was happening here. And, you know, to me, it was sort of the perfect intersection. I love being in the food space and just personally, I’m I love to cook. I grew up in an Italian Irish household. And so food is always a part of what we did. So I just love it from a personal standpoint. But then also the idea of really being especially like this point of my career, being a part of something mission based where I get up every morning and I know what I do matters and I find that very exhilarating. There’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also so satisfying to think of at least being able to contribute in some way to the path that, you know, the women that are part of our processing are on and the farmers as well. So it was sort of a network connection that led us to cross paths and have that initial conversation. And it was just sort of as we all talked, it was one of those moments where you like, Oh, this is the right fit, this is happening, you know? And that was that. Yes. Interestingly enough, that was sort of summer, late summer of 2019. And if you had told me then that six months later we would be hit with a pandemic, I would have spent more of my time now managing this company in a pandemic than not in a pandemic. I would have never wrapped my head around that, but that’s been a sort of an interesting journey as well as I think about, you know, how I mean, so many of us have obviously been in uncharted territory, but. But how that would play out?

 

Diana: Yeah, well, I’m curious. For a business like yours where you’re talking about wild foraging. And I had considered thinking of even thinking of this through. But I’m just curious how you were able to work with those farmers during the pandemic. I guess the wild foraging allowed for them. You didn’t quite have the restrictions that you would have kind of in more of a factory setting where you were working. So maybe more of the challenges were on the US side once we were getting to distribution and finding packaging than it was for working with those women over there. But I could be wrong. Yeah. What were the challenges in that scenario? No. How did you overcome them?

 

Patti: Yeah, you’re definitely thinking like as you talked that through, you’re thinking about it the right way. We really didn’t have, I would say, something sort of COVID-specific that impacted our ability to source products on the ground and things like that. And our team stayed healthy and safe. And to your point, you know, where we source not all, but a majority of our products in is sort of the west side of Afghanistan, which is the Heart region, which is where a lot of the saffron grows. And so, obviously, to your point, lots of space was outdoors. You know, that all sort of was helpful. As we were going through that, we really faced some challenges and this is much more along the lines of what so many other makers were facing. But eventually, our product comes to the U.S. on a boat. Right. And we tend to ship out of Turkey. And so the challenge with that was the boats, as they go that direction to pick up products is passing through Italy. And if you remember Italy was sort of the yeah. Not that the core of what was happening, but it was all there and the start of the pandemic that and it was when you know we didn’t know how to manage this virus, we didn’t know how it was being transmitted. So the challenge was ships would stop there. And just getting them. So they felt like they were sort of satisfactorily disinfected. You know, that was taking weeks and adding equipment, you know, and all that sort of thing. And it was the great unknown then. And so there was sort of nothing we could do about it. You know, we started to obviously think like a lot of other folks, like bring more inventory over and things like that. And then, you know, the other side of that was as we then got through the pandemic, we faced the supply chain pressures that everyone else did. So the combination of rising costs where that sea freight container that we would bring over the cost of that rose 3 to 4 X, what we would pay. And we were smallish, you know, growing. But that’s a lot to absorb. And then, you know, at the same time, everything else was in short supply. So I have a great operations team. And so, you know, we were scrambling like where do we find glass to pack our products in? Yes. Can we get enough lids? And, you know, there was a point where we changed the color of the lids and we said, you know if someone on the shelf is going to complain because it’s a black lid versus a gold lid. Yeah. You know, like we got bigger issues and so like we went through all those things that everyone else did over the course of the pandemic and, you know, navigated most of it without too many issues. I think the interesting part to me, you know, versus if you think of the huge suppliers that have been talking about supply chain issues, we could be a little scrappier. So if we couldn’t get the full quantity of jars we needed, we said, okay, we’ll take like three pallets you got looking at. All right. We’re you know, we have to ship them here first. We’ll do that. You know, so that’s, I think, a little bit of where if you were smaller, you could be a little flexible versus. Yeah, you know, folks that are shipping over thousands of pieces of furniture right now, massive amounts of packaging, things like that. So but, you know, really our challenge is we’re sort of in that front similar to everyone else versus issues on the ground.

 

Diana: Gotcha. You know, I’m curious if you could. Like, I know how you and you shared with us a little bit about your networking and how you came to Rumi. I kind of want to step back a little bit further, you know, like you started out at IRA. Is that right?

 

Patti: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Diana: So you’re a numbers person.

 

Patti: And.

 

Diana: Any kind of made your way through Kraft and a couple of other places. And here you are. Well, maybe the previous place that you were in was when you started working with them at one point. But I’m assuming this is kind of a smaller operation. And I’m wondering when you’re looking back at any of your kind of beer history and then marrying it with who you are, what I wonder are those pivotal moments where you might go. Yeah, I knew that eventually, or I kind of maybe that one-moment kind of pushed me here. Can you think back to any of those times? I got to go. Yeah, that was really important. And. And this effectively pushed me towards an opportunity like mine.

 

Patti: Yeah. So I think for me as such, if I look back at where I started and to your point, I started in the marketing research space with a very analytical side of it, you know, my undergraduate degrees in mathematics. Most people, when I say that, like I get a really funny response back, they’re like, Oh, like sort of, why would you do that? Or like, I can’t comprehend, you know, it was a good fit for me at the time. And even when I made that decision, I went to school to be a little business major. And I called my parents one day and I said, I don’t know if I like all these business classes. I think I want to study math. And my parents said, go learn this is what you’re supposed to be doing. And so, you know, really supportive. It wasn’t about, oh, you have to be on this career path. It was about finding something you like and learning. That’s what it was that my parents obviously agreed that way and said, Yeah, go for it, be a great math major. And it still led me back to business and that all worked out and it worked out as the right way to say it. But, you know, got me to a great place, but it gave me a great foundation. I’m a big believer in numbers just in terms of, you know, knowing how they impact any part of your business. But, you know, for me, having done that, I felt like two stints in big food, you know, both at what is now Kraft Heinz and then at PepsiCo. You know, I, I think some people that have gone from those experiences and then have chosen to do something, whether it’s more entrepreneurial or maybe they form that on the services side of things like that. You know, sometimes I hear people look back and sort of not be happy with those experiences or something like that. And I absolutely loved them and I credit them for giving me such a strong foundation to operate. Know that you work in some of those organizations and you’re managing a $1,000,000,000 business. That’s a very young person. And for me, it just helped give me a great skill set for that. I feel like I’ve just built, built upon it, know every stage of my career. But I think when you talk about sort of pivotal moments, you know, I think, you know, there was this point and I am not even that goes into what brand it was, but where, you know, we were having a conversation about basically how to take the product out of what we were selling to make it more cost-effective. But it was just like the antithesis of what you wanted good food to be. And I think, you know, there was a moment there where I just thought to myself, like, you know, it sort of it didn’t sit right. Like, is this really how I feel about food? And, you know, not that I think you and your job have to be 100% aligned, but certainly much more satisfying. And so, you know, that was certainly one of those moments that gave me pause to think about what I was doing, you know, which then led to a bit of a turn. And, you know, similarly, I think I had another point where, you know, lots of good things come from big organizations in terms of resources, I think learning access. I had met incredible people that I work with and, you know, celebrities and things like that that have all made it very enjoyable. But, you know, I think I also hit a point where to make every decision required so much selling and pre-selling and watercooler conversation, all of that. And again, some people absolutely thrive with that. But I think I sort of hit a wall with that where, you know, I felt confident enough in both my personal skill set and my business savvy and being able to do that, that that was probably then another jumping off point for me to really start to prioritize smaller organizations or organizations where I could, you know, ideally share what I had learned.

 

Diana: Yeah.

 

Patti: And transfer that to an organization. So, you know, for me, those were the types of moments that, you know, just I would call it shifted my thinking so that I would look for different opportunities or be open to that.

 

Diana: Gotcha.

 

Patti: Yeah.

 

Diana: That’s interesting. I love that. Well. Why not? You know, when I think of leadership, you know, and I think of what you’ve been doing for the last couple of years and those moments that inspired you to kind of move into something where you had more of a say. I’m thinking about possible mentors, and there are going to be kind of two sides to this conversation. The first is, are there any mentors that have? That was what provided you with this kind of growth opportunity. And then the flip side is, you know, how do you like to mentor people as they’re going through a path similar to yours?

 

Patti: Yeah. So. The first question in terms of mentors that have really helped me has sort of like two buckets of them, right? So to me, I have a support group of I, I feel like it’s like 2 to 3 people now that I will reach out to rely on and be oftentimes a sounding board for me. And, you know, as I think about, you know, sort of how I use them or engage with them. To me, what is usually so obvious after we’ve connected or had coffee or whatever is what they really are doing is just listening and they’ll certainly provide guidance and coaching and things like that. But it is as much about sometimes listening and playing back to me what they’re hearing as much as saying, Oh, have you thought about doing this, or have you tried this? And you know, certainly, there’s that element of it too. But I think, you know, when I think of the folks that have sort of stayed with me over the years, it is real folks that have provided that type of support that at the time, I think I was like going in, I’m always asking questions, what do I do? How do I solve this? But they’re asking the questions and sort of, you know, in a certain sense leading me down a path that I don’t even realize, which I love, you know? And I think that’s so, so valuable. I also am really fortunate, both as sort of a younger version of me, both my father, and then I have an uncle who is very dear to me who was, you know, both spent their careers in business and were always so giving and gracious of helping me out and, you know, pushing me a little or steering me a bit. And so even just from a sort of family and mentorship standpoint, that’s been a tremendous part of how I got to where I am, what I think of it, and now my relationship with other folks. You know, I think well, certainly I like to try to emulate what I’ve seen in people that I worked with. You know, the other thing I find and it’s even I think it’s a combination of both folks that have previously worked for me, but I still keep in touch with or even my own team, which is really trying to push them to think about what they would do. Mm-hmm. Right. Because usually the same sort of thing. They’re coming to me with a question or uncertainty or whatever. And I think, you know when you can flip that and put the onus on them, and I’m never going to leave anybody, you know, to hang them out to dry anything like that, but to really have them think through what they would do if they were the final decision maker or if, you know, like I was unreached, whatever that might be. And, you know, I like that to try to see how people can, like, turn those wheels on their own. Mm-hmm. And then talk about, you know, maybe they don’t get to a place that is exactly right. But then talk about the why or talk about how to think about it or, you know, sometimes maybe they don’t have all the information. Maybe they don’t see everything that I see or haven’t had the same experiences. But I like to sort of watch that thought process and try to help them. Learn about what to do or where to go through the thinking piece as opposed to saying Think. Maybe I do know the answer, but I don’t need to tell you. I want you to learn why that is the case. And I even feel like I did have one manager very early on who was like that, which stuck with me a lot, as opposed to just, you know, telling people what to do or things like that, because that’s what’s going to stick with that.

 

Diana: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s so interesting. It’s interesting to hear what you say. I may not be interested, but I love hearing you say, you know, you want people to kind of think through and bring the opportunities to them. And I think also the added safety net of being able to. Know that they can make the decision. Have it go sideways and then know that you’ve got their back. Do you know what I mean? Nobody wants anything to go sideways, although I’ll say that that’s where some of my biggest learnings have come from professionally. So. So, you know, I’m kind of glad to do it. I’m excited to hear about it. I that you’re open to that approach because I think it’s very easy to have come from the really large organizational structures where that is. There’s less tolerance for that, which is weird because there’s so many redundancies in the system that you would think that, okay, because.

 

Patti: You know, there’s like a way to do things.

 

Diana: Right. And when you’re talking about losing 1% market share of something that is like a $1,000,000,000 brand, that’s a, you know, that’s also something to take into consideration, you know. Yeah. I’m curious if this is a question that could either apply to Rumi or in general. But I’d love to know when you’re looking back at things like where’s what are you most proud of? Like for yourself professionally? Or as just generally as a human?

 

Patti: You know, I probably would say I’m most proud of growing Rumi right now. I think I have had so many amazing experiences, but this is really the one where I feel like it’s touching other humans and to me and, you know, I think that comes with a sort of, you know, multiple different experiences under my belt. But it’s, you know, it’s nice for me to do something that is, you know, when we’re fed up or frustrated at the office because something arrived late or POs didn’t get fulfilled or whatever that might be the sort of mundane stuff, but the stuff that sometimes makes us pull our hair out. Yeah. The flip side of it is like because there’s a reason behind it, you know, and, and it’s this intersection where we say like, you know, we’re measured on two things like business results and people results. And so like being able to impact that people’s side of it. Me, I’m so proud of that. We’ve grown our network of farmers, and we’ve grown our network of women that are a part of harvesting and processing. And, you know, my hope is certainly that we can come up with some way, as there are so many Afghan refugees in the country, that as we grow, we can think about how to incorporate them in what we’re doing. You know, we don’t have that capacity right now, but like I have a huge passion around trying to figure out how to do that. And so we’ve been trying to come up with ways that can fit into our business model, whether that’s today or maybe a little bit further down the road. And so that to me is what this is all about. And it is probably why I am most proud of what I’m doing right now.

 

Diana: Is there a large Afghani population in Chicago?

 

Patti: You know, I believe and I probably couldn’t tell you the sources, but I do believe it has the second largest population outside of the East Coast. I’m not sure if I could actually give you a source for that. So let’s take that with a grain of salt. But definitely, because I know of a strong population here, both the folks that had immigrated here a long time ago, but then also with the number of refugees that came in over the past year, there’s quite a large community of them. We have a relatively strong refugee community connection here that provides a sort of support beyond what you get from the government as a refugee. And so I’m connected with that. And so we’ve seen, you know, a lot of folks that have come in recently. So there’s definitely quite a large number of folks here.

 

Diana: Oh, my goodness. That’s so cool. Well, tell us what’s next for Rumi. But yeah, that’s what’s in the near future.

 

Patti: Yeah. So we have, you know, one of the things since we started, we’ve always been bringing more products to market, right? Both traditional paths for food companies, but also spices turn relatively slowly. And so if we’re trying to grow this business and grow demand, you know, it’s also a bit about providing people a different opportunity to, you know, buy products from us, whether it’s Whole Foods or on our website or the chefs that we sell to. So, you know, that started with after we started importing saffron, we started bringing Cubano over and then we added coriander and fennel and some of the spices that are really prominent in the Afghan agricultural regions. And all have done really well. They’re equally flavorful and really high quality. But we took some time during the pandemic to really think about, like, where do we go next? Or How do we unlock growth where we’re making an even bigger impact? And that’s how we really came to focus on creating these connections through food to the culture, now Afghanistan and beyond that sort of the Middle East region because they share a lot of common food traits. And so we’ve you know, we had our core had been in regular slices. We do a lot of blends as a way to help consumers know how to use them. But to me, that’s sort of a different version of the same thing, you know, whether it’s like, ah, we have an Afghan curry braise and things like that, that at least I think most consumers say, okay, I can take a chicken breast, I can put a spice on it and I can grill it or something and I can figure out if I like that taste or whatever. But yeah, recently over the summer, we launched a line of seasoned salts and that’s sort of our first foray into anything that was just different than what I call spices and jars. And so we launched like we launched saffron, seasoned salt. We have cumin, and one dill seed, all based on our core spices, but made with a really beautiful New Zealand sea salt that has another way for consumers to think about, okay, well, this is a finishing salt. You know, I can sprinkle this on top of a salad, or I can use it as a marinade and things like that. So that was really our first foray beyond the spices. And I think, you know, some people might say, well, that’s still really close to it, like what is happening there. But for us, they were really successful and so it was just sort of a good way to dip our toe in the water. And so as we look ahead over the next year or the end of August, we have two sets of new product launches that we’re doing over the next basically like four weeks. So one that we’re doing at the end of this month and then another that’ll happen at Expo East and they’re really about now starting to provide convenience in a little bit of a different format. So we are coming out with some individual packets that will be used in different ways for seasoning and to help create meals and things like that. So I’m not going to go into too much detail because we’ve got this news embargoed for a few weeks, but yeah, cause I know, I know what we’ve got coming up ahead. And so we’ll have, I think, a total of 17 new products between those two launches that’ll come out.

 

Diana: Oh, my gosh.

 

Patti: That’s tremendous. I know. And I’ve got a team that’s been hustling so hard to make it happen. We got, like, an incredible new product last week that was like literally jumping around the office. I was so excited. And so, you know, that’s really going to be how we start, you know, we talk about wanting to make these connections, but how do we do it? Well, what if suddenly you knew how to create a dish that was something that was coaching Afghanistan or cooking, you know, another nearby country in the region? And it was sort of as simple as we think about making, you know, tacos from a taco packet or a gravy packet or something like that. So we’re excited with I think that is a really pivotal jumping off point to start to introduce consumers to a lot more of the food from the region. But do it in a way that’s not overwhelming. Or, you know, if they don’t know what it is, that’s a little bit foolproof and things like that. So yeah, that’s some of the good news ahead. And then and then it’s figuring out what comes next.

 

Diana: Yes. Well, the time is right for that. Right, because the American consumer is really really ready for a more global palate, at least. You know, there’s a segment that really is and I think that the majority of Americans will get there sooner than later. But it’s big enough now where we can really start to put some innovation and put products to market and start satisfying those desires for trial.

 

Patti: And yeah, yeah, yeah. I agree with you. I mean, I think, you know, partly coming out of the pandemic, I think partly a sort of new generation of home cooks that, you know, just from an early age or exposed to much more global flavors, they are much more adventurous and willing to experiment. And then for us, I think we’re seeing a lot of people that are much more interested in where their food comes from or, you know, using their dollars to make a difference at the grocery store. And so, yeah, I think that is certainly helpful for brands like us, where it is more than just about. Itself. It’s about where it’s coming from, how it’s coming from, and, you know, ideally what the impact is from buying our products.

 

Diana: Yeah, that’s so fantastic, Patti. Well, as I mentioned, you know, I don’t think this was recorded when I first had Patti on here. So I was just saying I’ve been following Rumi, I think, since the very beginning. So a little fan crashed here that I get to chat with her. So this has been fun for me. Um, we’re kind of, we’re getting towards the end of our conversation, there’s a couple of questions I like to ask everybody. And the first one is along the lines of trends, not as in trendy, but you know, I’m curious what, what you are following, whether it’s in our industry or not, you know, can you share that with you with can you share it with yourself now? Can you share with us, you know, what sort of trends are you following right now?

 

Patti: Yeah. I mean, certainly, for me, I am an avid consumer of keeping an eye on, you know, the chefs and everything they’re doing from the sort of like things in the restaurant space.

 

Diana: Yes.

 

Patti: You know, practically, I think a lot of us in the food industry know that tends to lead to what happens at retail shelves. And I think, you know, we’re sort of pushing that envelope of also doing things, you know, trying to obviously get flavors and things like that to folks earlier. And so I’m a big sort of fan girl online, whether it’s watching chefs cook or seeing the creations come with them. And then, you know, for me, you know, because, you know, so I’ve never been to Afghanistan, right? Like it’s unfortunate timing.

 

Diana: You have to, you know because that makes.

 

Patti: Sense of the timing of the first of the pandemic and then the return of the Taliban. It will be a while until that’s an option for you, I think women from outside of the country to safely travel there. But I am a, you know, also like a rabid consumer of travel information and not so much just like vacation travel, but, you know, seeing where people are going, what are they writing about? You know, what are the others? Perspectives that people are seeing and thinking about how that also for me impacts food and the food space and things like that. And so those are sort of the areas I think of like, you know, either trying to look for trends or see what’s happening there. Yeah, I really enjoy that personally, sort of outside of the room these days. I’m also very, very keen on thinking about sustainability and the impact we’re all making on the earth and how we impact that. And so I also tend to consume a lot and watch a lot of things as it relates to sustainability because, you know, certainly I’d like to try to think about how we can do that even through our own products. You know, we have a lot of supply chains, so there’s a part of that’s consuming some fossil fuels right now that is sort of, yeah, not going to change if we want to support our mission. But are there other things we can do that, you know, impact that? As I look ahead and I think about how what I see and know other brands, I think even this week I was, you know, sort of looking around at there’s folks obviously like Grow Collaborative and method that are trying to provide you with refills instead of, you know, shipping water everywhere and things like that. And, you know, how do we translate that into what we’re doing and things like that? So there are a lot of answers there.

 

Diana: So I’ve been to a couple of conferences this year alone. We’re talking about reducing the environmental footprint altogether. Are you familiar with Loop Ops? Yes. Oh, I want to.

 

Patti: Them to do our packaging. And we’re a little too small. We’re a little too small right now.

 

Diana: Yeah, yeah. But eventually. Yeah, yeah.

 

Patti: That would be amazing.

 

Diana: I don’t necessarily know that what they have right now is going to be the final solution, but what a great experiment. And they’re iterative to like, you know, they’re like, okay, this isn’t working. Let’s do this, okay? This isn’t working. Let’s do this. And other organizations like McDonald’s in Canada are working with Tupperware, believe it or not, and they’re sending their takeout in Tupperware. And then they have bins all over the place for people to put their Tupperware back in. And it gets. Cleaned through, you know, an industrial process and then reused for reuse over again. So. Yeah. So McDonald’s has a really bad rap. You know, their food is really not the healthiest. But when it comes to innovation, they are really smart people and they’re willing to test and they’re willing to fail. And I think that’s the secret to their success. And

 

Patti: Yeah.

 

Diana: But. Let’s see here. The other question that I have for you is, are there any other women leaders or rising stars in our category that you’re watching that you would like to just give a shout-out to for the work that they’re doing right now?

 

Patti: Oh, that’s a great question. Okay. Let me think on that one just a little bit. Yeah.

 

Diana: And we can clean this part up here if you need just a moment to think so. There’s not.

 

Patti: Okay, super. Sure. So it is a lot of pressure.

 

Diana: It’s tough because you could list 100 people.

 

Patti: I’m trying. Right.

 

Diana: Might be. They don’t even have to be in the category. They can be outside of a category.

 

Patti: I know I should not draw such a blank because I am such a female fan girl in general.

 

Diana: Well, who comes to mind? Like, right when you like. Who’s your first?

 

Patti: Yeah, it is. Yeah, this is sort of interesting. Actually, who came to mind is someone I just recently met. Ironically it was through the hatchery and is petite and she is one of the founders of Iron Foods. And we shared a table last week and, you know, we’re doing totally different things in different categories, whatever. But I sort of also felt like a bit of a kindred spirit to their brand because, you know, they are also about bringing sort of flavors and experiences that people aren’t familiar with to consumers. And so it was so fun for me to also just like to hear her talk about, you know, within their products and they were certainly super spicy for me. I did not do well with really hot things that I wanted to try. So I was like, Oh, that’s really hot, but that was really good. So I do think that was sort of obviously a more recent experience, but one that was really fun for me to have that interaction because it does feel like a little bit of a is a different version of what we’re doing, but a bit with the same goal in terms of bringing these new flavors to our consumers.

 

Diana: Yeah, I do. You know that she used to work at Nielsen.

 

Patti: Oh, I don’t know if I knew that.

 

Diana: She worked there. I interviewed her for my podcast before she worked at Nielsen and I came out of that and she was actually doing probably very similar work as what you were doing in Iowa. So you guys were kind then.

 

Patti: You think that’s so funny?

 

Diana: Isn’t that cool? She is such a sweet human. And her husband is.

 

Patti: Yeah.

 

Diana: We met at Expo West in person for the first time. And good people. Really nice. Good people.

 

Patti: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

Diana: Oh, good. Okay, good. I like that my world is getting smaller and I love that.

 

Patti: When I do love like a good, a good set of connections, you know, then yes. You realize they’re all not too far apart, especially in this industry.

 

Diana: Right? Yes, I know. Oh, my goodness. Well, we have been talking with Patti Doyle, CEO of Rumi Spice. Patti, where can people learn more about you and Rumi?

 

Patti: Yeah, we’d love to have everybody go check us out at rumispice.com Just like it sounds. R-U-M-I-S-P-I-C-E.COM. And check out the products we have there. And then shortly we’ll have some new things to share with everyone.

 

Diana: Hmm. Thank you so much for your time today, Patti. And I do believe that we will see each other at Expo East. Is that right?

 

Patti: Yes, we will have a booth there, but have some free time to connect as well.

 

Diana: Excellent. Well, I am so happy we finally got to connect and I look forward to seeing what’s coming up here through the rest of the year. And for you listeners, thank you so much for your time today. If you like this episode, please share it with a friend or otherwise. Have a great rest of your day and we’ll catch you next time on the Good Her podcast.

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For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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