Rumi Reflects on Five Years our Shark Tank Appearance
Many of you got to know Rumi Spice because of our appearance on Shark Tank in 2017. It’s hard to believe but that was five (yes, 5!) years ago. (Note: Rumi Spice appeared on Shark Tank episode 23 during season 8).
Since then, a lot has changed. In celebration of this exciting milestone, we sat down with our founders to ask them about their experience on the show and how Rumi has evolved since then.
Q: Looking back on Shark Tank, what has changed when you think about the experience? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Emily: I would research Lori’s favorite dish and figure out a way to serve up some of our saffron or spice blends in an attempt to change her mind about the flavor profile!
Kim: I’d let Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Mr. Wonderful all fight over us a bit more!
Q: What is your most impactful memory about being on the show?
Emily: Afghanistan is synonymous with war and terrorism to most Americans, so being able to share a very different version of the Afghan story with millions of viewers was incredibly impactful. And giving Mark Cuban a hug was my next favorite memory.
Kim: As we walked side by side into the hallway with the tanks, the Sharks’ eyes were riveted on us like…sharks. It was really cold too, and I was borderline shivering even though there were really intense camera lights on us. The moment we started telling the world and the Sharks in the room our story and mission, the energy spread outward from us, and we felt much more welcome.
Q: What do you think the biggest changes to Rumi are since appearing on the show?
Emily: We’ve grown so much as a company! When we went on the show, saffron was essentially our only product. It’s been inspiring to see the product innovation and introduction of our incredible spice blends and new flavor profiles. We’re also now on the shelves of Whole Foods nationwide, making it even easier for foodies to find us in their neighborhood store.
Kim: Rumi has expanded its offerings to include many amazing spices and flavors from Afghanistan and the surrounding region - you can do so much with a berbere and harissa - and be able to tell a heartwarming story to your guests when you serve them dinner from Afghan spices.
Q: How do you think our shoppers or shopping behavior has changed?
Emily: We saw a huge shift in behavior over the course of the pandemic, especially early on when restaurants closed and folks found themselves at home. The pandemic reignited curiosity around cooking at home - with less time spent commuting and more time at home, shoppers were able to try new and adventurous things in the kitchen for the first time. Now people had the time to cook a big pot of paella or a carefully crafted risotto.
We’ve also seen an explosion in interest for new and unique flavors, particularly from international brands that are ethically sourced with a direct connection to the farmers and producers.
Q: If you were appearing with Rumi on Shark Tank today, what would you say to the Shark Tank cast?
Emily: Rumi’s mission is more important than ever to directly support the farmers and women of Afghanistan through responsible business and ethically sourced spices.
Thanks to all of you who have become amazing brand fans since watching the episode. We couldn't do what we do without you and your unwavering support.
And for more Shark Tank news, check out our past recap of being on Shark Tank.