In 2014 a small event changed the course of my life. I had placed an order for one kilogram of Madagascar vanilla beans from a small company located in the SAVA region of Madagascar. I was in search of fresh vanilla to make homemade vanilla extract to use as gifts for friends and family.
A couple of weeks later, a DHL shipment arrived. I remember the heavenly fragrance emanating from the beat-up cardboard box. I held the box close to my face, savoring the magnificent aroma for several minutes! I don’t remember what woke me from my vanilla bean trance, but eventually, I decided to open the box. What I discovered inside did not disappoint. As I peeled back the top of the box, I revealed two of the most beautiful bundles of fresh vanilla beans! The aroma still enthralled me as I gazed at these exquisite beans, wrapped in traditional Madagascar raffia ribbon.
So I began to earnestly research this remarkable spice. It didn’t take long to discover that grocery stores and online shops were selling vanilla beans and extracts with unfair markups. Even worse, some of the vanilla available was not of very good quality.
My friends and family were thrilled with their homemade vanilla extract from these magnificent beans and so I told them about my idea. I decided that affordable, high-quality vanilla beans (and therefore extract) should not be such a rare commodity. Although it is clearly a luxury, I wanted to offer high-quality vanilla beans to the masses via online sales channels at affordable prices.