Just once it would be nice to come across a kratom vendor that doesn’t promise the moon and fail to deliver. Whether it’s the industry-wide assurance of the highest quality or the not-so-humble brags of being the best in the biz, it seems that every single brand you encounter is the source for “premium grade kratom.”
…Then you actually sample their product and realize it’s…meh, alright. Nothing to write home about.
Perhaps this is why so many vendors are going out of business. In the last month alone, I’ve been turned on to no fewer than five brands that “you have to try,” only to discover that their websites have been deactivated or they are no longer able to process orders.
This doesn’t shock me, but I can see why it would surprise the unsuspecting consumer who’s just casually shopping around for kratom powder. You would think that the big names in the space would be untouchable, but their bold claims and unethical business practices have left them open to scrutiny, not just by customs but by watchdog groups like Speciosa Republic.
Black Flag Botanicals is one of those companies that appears to have tanked because of their arrogant assertions. Example: their landing page reads, “Find tranquility and relaxation in high quality, single source strains from our collection.”
This tells the discerning kratomite all they need to know about the vendor. Right out of the gate they are promising an experience they can’t possibly guarantee since all users respond differently to any given strain.
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I can tell you what they weren’t. Black Flag Botanicals was not Black Flag, the legendary punk band from Hermosa Beach who personified the spirit of anti-authoritarianism and nonconformity. Instead Black Flag Botanicals was a kratom seller who sprouted up in or around 2017 and quickly took all the common steps one would take to make their business grow.
Like most fly-by-night operations they promised purity and quality without providing customers any concrete proof of the same. They rolled out deep discounts to lure new consumers to their online store. Last year they presented the Reddit community with a Black Flag Kratom coupon code good for 25% off and informed the public that orders in excess of $50 would receive free shipping.
None of this was particularly original. Which brings us to their product line.
Since their website is down there is no way to know for sure what they had in stock prior to closing the shutters, but as memory serves they had all of the following:
Of all of these I only tried two personally—Green Vein Thai and Red Horn. In both cases I was neither wildly impressed nor completely disappointed. I remember thinking that I would have reaped more “benefits” from a simple cup of strong Arabica coffee than I did from tossing and washing either of their powders.
When I found out that their website was down I reached out to them via Facebook Messenger, asking if they could give me any kind of information about their current pricing and strains. After failing to hear back from them for four days I took another look at their Facebook profile and found that they hadn’t posted since September of 2017.
This is not unusual in the kratom space. Indeed, there are innumerable companies that go belly-up and don’t bother to delete their social media accounts. What perplexed me was the total absence of any kind of accountability.
Normally when a legit vendor goes under they make sure to talk with their existing clientele via platforms like Reddit or Twitter. This is generally something that is done in hopes that said customers will follow them once they get their shit together and relaunch. Such was not the case with Black Flag.
What Black Flag Botanicals’ failure demonstrates is the need for openness and honesty in the industry. We need more sellers who are willing to connect with consumers on a human level. As lovers of the leaf, we must demand transparency and responsibility.
Those who wish to buy Mitragyna speciosa on the Internet should do so with caution. Always look for a vendor who can provide lab results that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their powders and capsules are free of dangerous adulterants and full of the high concentrations of alkaloids that we’re all looking for.
You want to buy from a brand that offers a money back guarantee and a multitude of payment options. Never settle for some unprofessional outfit that only takes COD (Cash On Delivery) and nothing else. Never stand for a company that refuses to refund your money when they deliver bunk product.
Last but not least, make sure that you are dealing with someone that people can vouch for. Search around and see what others have said about their stock and be sure to get opinions on where you can get the best for less. High price doesn’t always equate to high quality or high potency.
The closure of Black Flag and similar web-based shops has left a void, but it’s a void that can easily be filled by a flotilla of top shelf brands. There are literally hundreds of them, but these are some of our personal faves:
Meridian Botanicals is a homegrown Missouri company run by Justin Rasayana, a St. Louis resident who has traveled far and wide to find the cleanest and most effective herbs from Africa, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. He keeps his prices low and his quality high without advertising himself as any sort of guru.
MitraGaia, formerly Gaia Ethnobotanical, is one of the oldest and most trusted sources from kratom on the Web. They have a wealth of strains that are offered in a variety of sizes to suit everyone’s needs. More importantly, they stand by their product and are always willing to go the extra mile for their patrons.
Pharmacy Dropout is relatively new to the space, but this ma and pa operation landed on our radar because of their commitment to proper testing and ethical sourcing. They are definitely worth checking out if you want to feel like family.
What each of these brands has done is deliver the goods, not just in terms of their respective product lines but, also, in their dedication to superior customer support and quality control.
Some things don’t need to be spelled out for you. When you see excellence in action you know it. If you’re a seller of the speciosa leaf you should do away with the bold claims and focus on what matters. Your customers will thank you for it. Be safe, be smart and be well.
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