How Jungle Blunts Began
Producing Our Blunt Wraps in the Philippines
About Jungle Blunts
When I arrived in the Philippines in 2012, I was introduced to Lomboy wraps. I immediately had the thought of Blunt Wraps in the US. Four years later it began. Originally, we thought we could help the local women who roll them, but we found the quality was just not up to standards within the industry. (See image below)
So, we began picking and drying the leaves ourselves. This includes Cleaning and preparing only the healthiest leaves. To ensure the quality of our wraps, we check for bugs and any other abnormalities. Being a Horticulturist has benefited us greatly with this project. Once we had a solid process, we then taught it to our rollers, who have also come up with solutions along the way to perfect our product. We have been lucky to find a talented group that is as excited as we are about this project and have really been dedicated to preserving the high quality of our products..
Local Market for Lomboy Wraps
While the original plan included locals who were already producing wraps to the local tobacco market, as mentioned above we just couldn’t control the quality. So instead of trying to teach an old dog new tricks, we figured it would be better to teach others a new way. One thing to note: Our Blunt Cones DO NOT contain Tobacco. You can read more about our tobacco-free wraps here.
Producing Our Blunt Wraps
Creating Local Jobs for Filipinos
Every order you place creates a job for our Artisan Rollers and Bamboo Craftsman. Being our company is the sister company of Dragonfly Bamboo, a Benefit Corporation, we follow the same principles of giving back to the community, in this case in the Philippines. As our business expands, we will expand to other islands where we will teach more groups how to produce our products and offer the opportunity to earn extra income.
As things progress, we will be doing more for the Barangay, (A Barangay is the native Filipino term for a village, district, or ward), we work within. The best thing about this is they make 3 to 4 times more than they could normally. I don’t have to tell you they are happy about that.
Filipino Artisans Rollers and Bamboo Craftsman
Explaining the Project to the Locals
Back in 2016 while we were scouting for Lomboy trees. There were several places we knew where there were lots of trees. I have them all locked into my GPS. So, along this long road, we came across some locals and started explaining what we were looking for. At this time, we hadn’t found the HUB for Lomboy wraps at the local weekly market, so our plan was to find these women who rolled them and buy directly from them. One of the women there actually showed us how they roll them using a Bolo Knife, essentially a machete, to curl the leaf. Here is a video of a woman rolling Lomboy leaves.
Sustainability is Always a Concern
We work with two groups, who together produce our products. One group makes the Bamboo Tips, and one group collects the leaves and rolls them. They are on two separate islands. About a 1hr ferry ride and 2hrs drive between them. The local bus company allows packages to be shipped on their bus routes. So, it’s a simple system that in fact is still within our sustainability concerns. The ferry system also allows packages. So, from the bus to the ferry across the sea to the other island. The buses and the ferry run with or without us so that is a low carbon footprint overall even with transportation.
Shipping Our Products from the Philippines
Manufacturing our own products in a foreign country is only part of the challenges we face. Sending products from the other side of the world from a small island in the Philippines is another one. Over the last 4 years, we have been working hard to find the fastest and most reliable shipping and distribution services. These new partnerships have made it easier for us to keep stock of our products in the US.
Although the pandemic slowed us down for a few months, it also provoked us to make improvements in our logistics stream. From time to time there are unknowns, usually having to do with weather conditions here. Many Typhoons come through the area during the months Aug- Dec which can cause delays in shipping. We send our packages over via ferry from here to the big island where they air-freight them to the US. These Typhoons can also have damaged leaves which could potentially slow down production. Overall, aside from our Sunflower Blunts, we have sufficient stock of our products, and expected delivery times are generally within 5 days of ordering.