Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli. Lisa is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Lisa provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Kuli Kuli. Lisa Curtis joins other leading Bestselling Authors, International Speakers & CEO’s and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team is delighted to have Lisa join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
Let’s start by telling us about your business.
Kuli Kuli is the world’s leading moringa brand with the highest quality moringa on the market. Moringa is a leafy green more nutritious than kale that provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits rivaling those of turmeric. Our Moringa Superfood Bars, Pure Organic Moringa Powder, Moringa Green Tea Wellness Shots, and Organic Moringa Green Smoothie Mixes are made in the US with moringa sourced directly from women’s cooperatives and small family farmers around the world. By importing a portion of the moringa to the US for our products, we’ve created an international market for moringa and a sustainable livelihood for our farmers.
Over 60% of Americans say incorporating more vegetables into their diet is their #1 priority but only 4% of Americans are getting our recommended serving of veggies per day. Kuli Kuli’s delicious moringa products make it easy for Americans to get their greens on the go. To date, Kuli Kuli has planted over 24 million moringa trees, partnered with over 3,000 farmers, and has provided $5M in income to women-led farming cooperatives and family farms. You can find our products in over 11,000 stores across the US, including Whole Foods, Sprouts and CVS. Connect with us @kulikulifoods on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Q: Please tell us how you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Unlock your superpowers with the most nutrient-rich, revitalizing, good-for-you green on the planet! Moringa gives kale a run for its money, rivals turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, and is packed with antioxidants. Add this daily defender to your diet for a quick, caffeine-free way to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to power through the day.
Q: Please tell us the one thing that separates your business from the competition?
Kuli Kuli has vastly outgrown our competitors, quickly becoming the largest player on the moringa market. In less than five years on the market, Kuli Kuli has grown from an idea dreamed up in the Peace Corps into a multi-million dollar social enterprise. We’ve worked hard to pioneer a global moringa supply chain with high safety and impact standards. Kuli Kuli’s moringa products have won multiple awards and are sold in over 11,000 retail locations including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, and Safeway. Kuli Kuli has formed partnerships with leaders in the field, including Whole Foods Market, the Clinton Foundation, Timberland, Indiegogo, and Kellogg. Our Pure Organic Moringa Powder is in the top 2% of all supplements sold by the largest natural food distributor in the country. Kuli Kuli has received investment from the top food companies and venture capital firms in the world, including Kellogg, Griffith Foods, S2G Ventures, Rocana Ventures, and others. Kuli Kuli has been featured in over 300 media publications, including Forbes, MSNBC, and The Wall Street Journal. Moringa was named the top wellness trend by Good Morning America and the Sterling Rice Group.
Q: And to finish this section, please tell us what is the one major key to your company’s success?
Kuli Kuli’s key to success is our strong mission. Kuli Kuli’s goal is to add an innovative expansion to the Fair Trade model. Instead of sourcing a crop that has little nutritional value (coffee or chocolate) to the local community, we are sourcing a superfood proven to reduce malnutrition and CO2 – moringa. Kuli Kuli is building Fair Trade 2.0, a way for consumers in the U.S. to gain access to superfoods while encouraging farmers in the developing world to grow and utilize more local nutritious plants. By carefully managing our supply chain to source only a portion of each harvest for Western consumption and by paying fair wages, we can ensure that superfoods like moringa benefit those who need them the most.
We’re working to become the leading provider of unique superfood products, starting with moringa. We will work with women’s cooperatives all over the world to drive sustainable growth and agricultural development. Our non-profit arm will invest heavily in nutritional education and rejuvenate nutrient-rich food sources as a tool for nutritional security.
Our mission is to create a world where everyone has access to nutritious sources of food and malnutrition only exists in history books. We believe investing in the nutritional power of plants like moringa nourishes communities where these plants are sourced. Kuli Kuli supports farming groups that teach women to grow, process, and incorporate nutrient-rich moringa into their families’ diets, reducing malnutrition. Kuli Kuli can scale globally, as moringa thrives in many countries (India, Haiti, Nicaragua) that suffer from malnutrition. Moringa is also resilient to increasing droughts caused by climate change.
Q: For our readers just starting to build a company, what advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
Often entrepreneurs want to grow big so badly that they fail to recognize the competitive advantages that they have when they’re small. Especially for product-based businesses, it’s key to test and do lots of interactions before you get to factory-scale.
Q: For entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what big piece of advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
I view startup life as a rollercoaster. When I’m down in a black hole, feeling like the world is ending, I remind myself that I’ll soon be back on top of the world.
Q: In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
I spend a lot of time chatting and brainstorming with other CEOs. I try to “be a sponge” and soak up best practices from everyone around me.
Q: What is your “Why”? In one sentence, why do you get up in the morning?
To use nutrient-rich plants like moringa to improve nutrition and livelihoods worldwide
Q: In one sentence, what is the most important thing one has to do to be a great leader?
Lead with inspiration and effective delegation
Q: In one sentence, describe how important your customers are to your business?
The customers are the only reason our business exists
Q: In one sentence, describe a positive way that technology can make the world a better place?
Technology can connect people and ideas across continents and cultures in a way that hasn’t been possible up until now.
Q: In one sentence, tell us how something positive to motivate our readers?
Starting a company will be both the hardest thing you’ve ever done, and the most meaningful.
Q: In one sentence, tell us how you start your day to get ready?
I wake up well-rested after 8 hours of sleep, meditate, read something non-work related and then tackle my hardest task of the day.
Q: In one sentence, describe how you handle rejection and setback?
I love rejection as it tells me I’m pushing the boundaries of the possible.
Q: In one sentence, describe what your hiring philosophy is?
Understand your strengths and weaknesses and hire people whose strengths are your weaknesses.
Q: In one sentence, describe how you keep your sanity in a competitive business environment?
I take care of my body and make time to spend with loved ones.
Lisa Curtis, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We appreciate you participating in this important roundtable interview series, and helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Kuli Kuli, nothing but the best.
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