Here are the Top 10 people that I am thankful for on our 5th birthday today.
Without my dear friend and partner in India, Reluctant Trading simply wouldn’t exist. After I left my first business, The Land of Nod, Divakar started talking to me about getting into the pepper trade. I was Reluctant. Capital "R" intended. I didn’t know a Tellicherry Peppercorn from a telephone pole. (Here’s the full story.) But I eventually gave in to the amazing aroma of the Tellicherry peppercorns and followed my nose.
Divakar travels the farms in India sourcing the freshest, most aromatic spices exclusively for Reluctant Trading.
Divakar is quite possibly the most pleasant and cheerful human being on the planet. I feel lucky to have such an amazing friend and partner.
You know what they say, “Behind every good spice man is a good spice woman.” Okay, maybe they don’t say that, but it sounds good. Without Mrs. Reluctant’s support, there wouldn't be a Reluctant Trading. She has put in countless hours doing just about every thankless job imaginable. So, thank you Karla for always being willing to do the thankless.
Was it karma or the kati rolls that brought me to Troy’s Bollywood Theater Indian restaurants in Portland, Oregon? Probably both.
I was and still am blown away by Troy's restaurants. The decor, the food and even the videos of India playing in the bathrooms. The restaurants are even crowded like India.
Troy and I became fast friends and I soon found myself working with Divakar to bring Troy's authentic Bollywood Chai and masalas to a national audience through our website.
I’m indebted to Troy for introducing me to several outstanding, award-winning chefs in Portland who have become some of our best customers. I'm also indebted to Troy for turning me into a Portland Trailblazers fan. He taught me that "CJ and Dame" are two phenomenal Blazers basketball players and not the names of characters in a buddy cop film.
I'm not a chef. And I don't play one on TV. But I do love working with creative people who care so much about their craft. I feel like we supply excellent quality paint. But it's up to the chefs to make the art.
I love visiting chefs in the kitchen and watching what goes on during a busy night. I have gained such an appreciation for what these people can do.
This past year, we were honored and humbled when Chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s recommended us in his best selling, beautiful cookbook, Six Seasons.
I’m humbled work with so many talented and supportive chefs, butchers, distilleries, bartenders and stores.
Michael Mabry is a phenomenally talented, graphic designer, artist and illustrator from the San Francisco Bay area. He helped bring The Reluctant Trading Experiment brand to life (and long ago, The Land of Nod). We’ve been working together for over 15 years. Somehow Michael always seems to understand what to do even when I can't quite tell him exactly what I want. He continues to inspire me to do my best work and I've learned so much about creativity just by watching him over the years.
I always dreamed of taking my buddy and pro photographer Alan Shortall with me to India. This past February, we made it happen. Alan dropped everything he was doing and made his first trip to India with me to document the peppercorn harvest.
We created a lifetime of memories in just a couple of weeks.
We trekked through Mumbai, Kerala and Rajasthan. I was hit by a car and we were almost killed by wild monkeys. What a great time! LOL! Well, I have the spices to show for it. And thanks to Alan, the photos too.
We brought back so many great stories, but mostly people just wanted to see us getting attacked by monkeys.
Magnus is the immensely talented Swedish designer and craftsman behind our best selling Magnus Salt and Pepper Mills. Magnus hand sands and finishes each and every mill like a work of art. Truth be told, he can barely keep up with our orders. And truth be told, he can barely put up with me constantly badgering him for more mills.
We are both avid tennis players and look forward to trying to clobber each other on the tennis court one day soon.
My old college friend and friend from the University of Illinois went on to become a super successful television commercial director, doing spots for companies like ESPN and Sony. He heard about my Reluctant Trading adventure and he convinced me that we had to re-create the story in film. I played myself. Barton asked an actor to play Divakar.
The video went viral and received almost 80,000 views in a few days.
Richard LaPorta is like my brother from another mother. We have the same tastes in sports, food and craft beer. He is a professional filmmaker and editor and is responsible for helping us cut our documentaries.
Here’s a film from my first trip to the peppercorn jungles that RJ edited.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank you for your support. Without you, there is no "Trading" in Reluctant Trading. And then it would have just been "Reluctant." Sad!
Thanks for your orders. Thanks for your repeat orders. Thanks for taking the time to write so many nice product reviews. Thanks for spreading the word.
I've enjoyed connecting with you through email and on the phone. I see each and every order that comes through and I recognize many of your names.
I promise to keep the quality that you've come to expect. And to always treat you the way I would want to be treated.
Thanks for supporting the Experiment for the last 5 years.
All the best to you and your families this holiday season.