Pooki’s Mahi: Hawaiian Coffee Arrives With Extra Zip
In the world of coffee, most experts agree that 100% Kona coffee is some of the best in the world. But, Kona coffee is also often hard to find, improperly labeled or packaged and very expensive.
Silicon Valley e-tailer Pooki’s Mahi is working to change all that, making Kona coffee, along with specialty teas, gourmet salts and sweeteners, available to online consumers—all with rapid, free delivery.
And it isn’t just founder and CEO Leslie Magsalay-Zeller’s Hawaiian connections that give Pooki’s Mahi an advantage in the market; it is her dozens of years as a Silicon Valley technology executive.
“Pooki’s Mahi isn’t just award-winning Kona coffee and tea,” says Magsalay-Zeller. “We are a technology company building a full supply chain ecosystem.” And in the end, the goal is “to have product shipped for free and in your hand from four hours to three days, anywhere in the lower 48 states.”
Launched in 2012 Pooki’s Mahi came from an idea Magsalay- Zeller had while working on a master’s project in 2001 and 2002. The project was called PITS (Pooki’s International Tea Service) and the challenge was to have customers order specialty tea online and have it ship the same day.
“The tools didn’t exist at the time, but I was confident we would be able to virtualize the entire system,” says Magsalay-Zeller. “Everyone thought I was nuts.”
Fast-forward a dozen years and Pooki’s Mahi is shipping product all over the country via online channels, private label partnerships and distribution deals. And, remarkably, Magsalay-Zeller has virtualized much of the process. While she oversees the efforts of over 125 people and partners, Magsalay-Zeller is Pooki’s Mahi’s only full-time employee.
Product and supplier selection is also important to Magsalay-Zeller. “We sell only Kona Coffee that rates over 95 points by Coffee Review and teas rated above 90 points by World Tea Ratings,” she says. As for partners and suppliers, Magsalay-Zeller says, “we only work with partners who are consistent, fast and provide good service and with no loss of quality at volume.”
What’s next for Pooki’s Mahi? Magsalay-Zeller is looking to develop international markets, and expects to be in Canada in 2015 and perhaps Australia and Israel later in the year.
“I’m ecstatic about all of the interest in Pooki’s Mahi. Now we need to deliver,” says Magsalay-Zeller.
Meanwhile, Magsalay-Zeller maintains the long-term goal of “making delivery of Pooki’s Mahi faster and cheaper. I still believe we can get to the time when you can order our product and we can get it to you the same day.”