Aveda initially misled the Journal on its urukum sourcing, saying it got all of it from the Yawanawá, only to correct itself a couple of months later. How much, we’re not told, but we can infer that it gets the vast majority from non-Yawanawá sources. Aveda wants two tons of the stuff, but only got 141 pounds this year, which was all they’d gotten since 2007.

But even leaving aside all that, this is just a great yarn. Here’s the kicker:

During their recent trip to Mutum, a group of bug-bitten Aveda executives spent time learning the Yawanawá ways. They bathed in the river and painted their faces to take part in ceremonies.

On the final night, the group gathered around a fire to drink the tribe’s sacred hallucinogenic tea. “We can’t spend all our time farming,” says Tashka. “We need time to dance, to sing, to fish.”

More like this, please.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.