Q&A with founder of Keen One Quinoa, Christoper Algea,who has found a way to make quinoa simple. Even better that it’s good for you, too. The product line includes plain quinoa and others mixed with spice. Like any good business it has found a way to expand and now includes cereal and even a sweet chocolatey treat.
Q: How did the idea for Keen One Quinoa come to be?
While going to college, I was eating ramen noodle and other convenient though unhealthy foods way too much. I was also working at a restaurant that started to use quinoa a lot and I learned all about it’s amazing health benefits yet knew it was not the easiest food to prepare…..So, I aimed at creating a product line that bridged the gap and made it easy and delicious to enjoy quinoa anywhere.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of running the business? And biggest reward?
It is challenging to understand new markets, retailers, DISTRIBUTORS and the right product mix to gain and grow a loyal customer base. The financial forecasting and supply chain woes of importing from developing countries are also tough. The humility that comes with running a business has been the biggest reward. I’m grateful for what this business has opened my eyes too on the bigger picture.
Q: What makes you all different than others in this category?
We only use quinoa unlike most others whom use cheaper less nutritious grains like rice. Also, our quinoa cooks in half the time than others with just a cup of water. All of our products are certified Organic and we source directly from cooperatives that work with our processor in Bolivia.
Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?
I am originally from Memphis, TN and never even heard about quinoa until moving to Colorado in 2005 when I was 20. Keen One Foods is still privately owned by myself, close friends, and family.
Q: What has surprised you most about owning a business?
All the help that the community in and around Boulder is willing to give over a cup of coffee or a beer is amazing. There is a plethora of very smart, bright and helpful people in this town and industry that enjoy helping.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would it be and why.
New Zealand: I would love to travel through the different regions of this amazing land and have heard incredible stories about it….I could also understand the “English” speaking natives which is always a plus while traveling in a far off land! A Tour from Southern Spain down the Mediterranean Coast line to Israel would be a close 2nd!
Q: If you could give a shout out to one person who has helped grow your business or an employee who has gone above and beyond who would that be?
David Wemple has helped tremendously from the beginning to the present with everyday necessities from sales and promotions to production. Couldn’t maintain are growth and demand without him!
Q: What do you most love about Colorado?
I love the people, food, and endless adventure that you can find in the mountains here!