*** COVID-19 UPDATE ***
We open during the COVID-19 period, but the physical store front is closed. We are taking care of customers one at a time through call ahead and window/car curb service only. In order to comply with all the rules and regulations we had to change our operating procedures. Call us at 512-768-7223 to place your order. We will give you the address to come to, and when you arrive we will bring your order to your car window. PLEASE make sure when you arrive you STAY IN YOUR CAR. This keeps us all 6 ft away and everyone safe.
The owners were Kratom customers themselves. At the time, they had purchased Kratom from many different sources including a local Austin, TX area shop. There were many issues with both online companies and the local shop but since Kratom is not just something you can purchase everywhere (and get decent quality as much as you could hope for) the owners just dealt with the issues.
Here are a few of the issues with most of the online companies that they experienced:
1. When you placed an order, you usually got a confirmation email but had no real assurance that your order would ship out within a day or so.
2. Trying to contact most online retailers resulted in emailing a support type email address and then waiting for days (most of the time) and wondering if you were even going to get a reply, and if your did, if you question or inquiry would be answered or even addressed correctly.
3. You really didn’t see any phone numbers or other forms of communication like chat, etc. Sometimes there was no email, just a contact page with a box for sending a question and the form would be broken and not work.
4. You would often find that your strain was out of stock after you ordered it and they would not offer a refund, only an exchange.
5. Most online companies had a PO Box or some third party mail center (example: Mailboxes Etc., UPS Store). You could not pick up an order even if they were local in the city.
The local store in Austin had the following issues:
1. Staff there was often “stoned” beyond belief.
2. The owner was literally crazy, often yelling at staff across the store (even full of customers) and frequently got into arguments with customers over strange things (he might not like your conversation, or even your shirt - no we are not exaggerating).
3. They claimed to be a non profit church but there was no evidence of a real organization, he “included taxes” for this non profit in the product pricing.
4. They illegally charged any customer using a credit card a fee of 3% to 4%. Unless your a state or federal government office, certain professional services (i.e. Attorneys) it is illegal to do so. And then, even if you paid with a card and paid his fees, often you would get tongue lashing if the owner was around bitching about having to wait for credit card deposits in his bank, talking about how anyone using a credit card was supporting the corrupt US Govt and their NSA spying missions (crazy owner remember?).
5. Their prices were all over the place, for example you might pay 31.28 for 4 oz of Green Bali, but Green Indo could be 37.62. I will tell you that even though we were not in the Kratom business yet, we knew that the prices did not vary that much for non Maeng Da or Extracts.
6. The icing on the cake was when one of the owners was on the phone with a family member while they were shopping at this vendor, and they mentioned some ADHD medicine for her son on the phone. They were having a private conversation and the owner of this local shop could only overhear their of the conversation. Long story short, he (the owner of this shop) actually walked over to the Unicorn Botanicals owner and cut their conversation off while she was on the phone to tell her what a shitty parent they must be to drug her kid. He made other remarks but at this point, so much was wrong with this place, the rest doesn’t matter.
This brings us to the creation of Unicorn Botanicals. We wanted to open a store that anyone could come to, and be treated like the most important person in the room (which the customer should be). They wanted to charge fair prices for something that a lot of people needed and didn’t think it was fair to price gouge just because demand was high. They wanted to offer an online store as well with a phone number that you could call and reach a live caring person, a chat box for those who preferred to talk over the computer but didn’t want to wait for an email and of course email support that was actually answered within an hour during business hours. They also wanted a supplier that was not only reputable, but who could provide quality at a great price without any variance in product production or quality. This was just the start. It took almost 2 years to set all this up. Most of the time was dedicated to finding farmers in Indonesia that they could wire money to and hope that the vendor was legit and not just take their money and run (that actually happened a few times, it’s not like there is legal recourse for us in the US to go after them there). Also, the FDA and US Customs was a huge hurdle because when you order large amounts (from 50 kg at a time on up), your shipments require tons of paperwork, approvals, fee payments and supporting documentation. Any mess-up with the FDA or US Customs could result in seizure of your shipment, and when that happens you do not get your money back from the farmer. Last, it is almost impossible to get a credit card merchant account that works with Kratom. It took 5 accounts and a very special credit card processor that does nothing but Kratom companies and does not advertise their service so it was very had to find. In the end, after everything, we had a pretty good working system. We had a good product, good service focused on the customer, at fair prices with people who actually care about each and every person who comes in the door.
*** COVID-19 UPDATE ***