Magazine article Newsweek

'We're Squeaky Clean.' (Sean Shayan's Global World Media Corp Has Taken off with the Sale of Herbal Ecstacy and Other Herbal Medicinals That Are Legally Marketed as Psychoactive products)(Cover Story)(Brief Article)

Magazine article Newsweek

'We're Squeaky Clean.' (Sean Shayan's Global World Media Corp Has Taken off with the Sale of Herbal Ecstacy and Other Herbal Medicinals That Are Legally Marketed as Psychoactive products)(Cover Story)(Brief Article)

Article excerpt

SEAN SHAYAN IS NOT given to understatement. The 20-year-old CEO's company, Global World Media Corp., has a name only Rupert Murdoch could love. His headquarters, a cramped warren of offices a few blocks off the beach in Los Angeles, are New Age baroque: purple and green walls, low-slung crescent-shaped desks and a black triangular conference table. Pillows on the floor serve as chairs, and shoes are strictly optional. It's all a bit much. But then what would you expect from an outfit whose chief product, Herbal Ecstacy (unaccountably misspelled), is hyped as "synergistically blended to insure visionary vibrations"?

Sounds far out. In reality, Shayan and his colleagues are more P. T. Barnum than Timothy Leary. As Shayan acknowledges, Herbal Ecstacy's effects are much subtler than its packaging--and far less dramatic than those of its illicit namesake. "We're selling the concept of ecstasy," he explains. Shayan claims his company controls 90 percent of the market, having peddled more than 150 million pills--which retail for $2 to $3 apiece--in four years. His brand has never been linked to a death, Shayan says--a claim that apparently is true. Nevertheless, NEWSWEEK has learned that California health regulators began investigating the company, and others like it, several months ago. Not that controversy fazes Shayan. "We're squeaky clean," he insists. The pleasant, long-locked CEO has been entertaining a media parade since the FDA began threatening action against ephedrabased pseudodrugs like Herbal Ecstacy. Shayan claims sales are up by 25 percent since the saber rattling started. "We'd like to thank the FDA," he says, smiling.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Born in Tehran and raised in Los Angeles, Shayan says he left school and home at 15, cutting his marketing teeth as a promoter on L.A.'s club scene. …

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