Making a toast with a glass of chai on our 6th Birthday

Posted on December 12, 2018 by Scott Eirinberg

I'm thankful for many things on our 6th birthday.

In many ways, this has been the busiest and most exciting year for us so far. So busy, in fact, that this is the first blog post I’ve been able to write since last year's birthday blog! We've been launching so many exciting new products.

First a little history for you. Did you know the original name of the company? If you said, “The Reluctant Pepper Company,” give yourself a pat on the back.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I realized we needed a name change. While we did launch with the best Tellicherry Peppercorns on the planet, I felt the "Pepper" part of the name would be a little too confining.

Mr. Reluctant, Mr. Divakar and his crew.

After much thought, I somehow managed to come up with an even less memorable name, “The Reluctant Trading Experiment.”

Kidding aside, it really has been the perfect name. When your first name is "Reluctant," you are allowed to take your time to get things right. I'm a perfectionist, so being "Reluctant" is always an excellent excuse. 

Also, the word "Reluctant" is truthful. When we started, I didn’t know a Tellicherry Peppercorn from a telephone pole. I thought pepper was all the same. (Here’s the full story.) But eventually, I gave in to the amazing aroma of the Tellicherry peppercorns and followed my nose.

I like the word "Experiment" in our name too. When it's an experiment, you have license to try new things and move in new ways. I like the freedom.

A Reluctant Timeline

We launched with our signature Tellicherry Peppercorns in 2012, then we added our signature Flaky Icelandic Sea Salt in 2013. A few more items followed, but it took awhile. The floodgates opened this fall. We added ton of new things. Like new gorgeous salt and pepper mills from Denmark. New stoneware salt cellars. New gift sets. New Monsoon Moon Indian Whole Bean Coffee. Sourced in India. Roasted in Indiana.

Look at all the new stuff! And how about Mrs. and Mr. Reluctant the apron models?


We even added chef aprons made on 100-year old handlooms in Divakar’s hometown. You really have to come see what we’ve been up to.

In addition to our consumer business, we picked up several award-winning chef customers including a 3-star Michelin Star restaurant in San Francisco. (There are only 14 Three-Star Michelin Restaurants in the country.)

The spices we supply our top restaurant chefs are the same ones we offer you on our consumer website. So if you haven't ventured beyond our pepper and salt, you really ought to try the other stuff. You won't be sorry.

For me, December 12th is Thanksgiving

Thank you to my wife Karla, aka Mrs. Reluctant, for your amazing support. Behind every great spice man, is a great spice woman, right? She really is the glue that keeps us together.

Thank you, Divakar, for consistently supplying us with the freshest, most extraordinary spices (and now amazing textiles) on the planet. You should take a pride in all of the 5-star reviews on

Thank you, Mike J., our newest employee, for following me from The Land of Nod to Reluctant Trading. Your trust will be rewarded. (BTW, does anybody know how to update a Wikipedia page out there? Let me know!)

Thank you, Pauline, Olivia, and company. Wonderful to have a partner that cares as much about getting our packages out on a daily basis as we do.

Thank you, Michael Mabry, for another year of beautiful, spot-on product and graphic design.

Thank you, Alan Shortall, for another year of spot-on photos. While we didn’t have the excitement of getting attacked by monkeys this year, I'm also relieved not to have to get another tetanus shot.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you for your business and amazing reviews.

I still see every order that comes through. I still read every review. I still answer my emails. Looking forward to more experiments in the year ahead.

All the best to you and your family this holiday season!

Scott, Karla and Mike

"The Reluctant Trading Experiment Story" 

In case you haven't seen the video that tells the story of the start of our company, I thought I'd include it here. In the words of the guy that plays Divakar, "Too good! Too good!"

Enjoy the Journey. A Reluctant Trading Mantra.

Posted on June 14, 2014 by Scott Eirinberg

My friend Peter Himmelman is writing a book about the person inside of us that tries to prevent us from doing what we really want in life. He found my foray into the spice business inspiring, so he dedicated part of his book to the Reluctant Trading story. I was humbled to be asked by Peter to participate in this exciting project. Maybe you remember Peter when he wrote a hilarious theme song for Reluctant when I started the business.

Since it has been a year since Peter started writing the book, he called me the other day to write an addendum about how I am feeling today. Peter was in a bit of hurry, so he asked that I write something for him very quickly.

It was actually a good exercise since I hadn’t thought about my feelings very much lately. With such little time to reflect, I didn’t have a chance to do my usual over think. Here’s what spilled out of my mouth:

The best thing about my new direction is that I now have an excuse to engage with all sorts of creative people again. Chefs, entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, directors, musicians. I went from sitting around my house trying to think of the perfect thing to do, almost paralyzed, to meeting with all of these inspiring people every day. It's not always comfortable having to prove yourself all over again. But when you have the breakthroughs, it's all the sweeter.

When I came up with the idea for The Land of Nod in 1996, I started with a business idea. With Reluctant Trading, I started with a product in search of a business. I needed to get my life moving again. I needed to connect with people. Have new experiences. Learn new things. It wasn’t a complete business idea, so I decided to subsequently call it an “Experiment” and get on with it.

I used to try to do everything as efficiently as possible. I became extremely focused on the bottom line. I tried to delegate as much as possible.

Today things are different. Since I’m the sole owner of my new business, I set different goals.

One of the goals is to enjoy the journey. To try to enjoy each and every day. To try to enjoy each and every person I meet, whether it's a customer, vendor or supplier. Okay, so it's not always possible, but I try.

I still sign each invoice because I don’t want to lose touch with my customers. I personally hand stamp every box. My wife and I still pack all of the salt and pepper bags. I prepare each and every shipping box and take it to the post office within 24 hours of receiving the orders. And I personally deliver each and every shipment of salt and pepper to the restaurants that I serve in Chicago.

Each box is lovingly hand stamped by yours truly. Waste of time? Perhaps. But I enjoy getting a little ink on my hands.

Oh yes, there have been many times I’ve thought about hiring other people to do these jobs. But I’ve realized that I really do enjoy doing this stuff. I enjoy the variety. I'm actually able to get up from staring at the computer screen several times a day.

I've made all sorts of new friends. I'm getting to know Chicago again. Each day opens new possibilities. 

Sure, I could probably make a lot more money if I did things differently. They don't teach the personal bottom line in B-School. But I actually think it makes perfect business sense. I think if I enjoy the journey, I’ll actually be more passionate and energetic. I think I'll radiate more good karma and that things will work out.

Or maybe they won't work out and the business will go under. But if that happens, I'll still be all the richer for it. And I know I will have enjoyed the journey.

By the way, Peter Himmelman is a Grammy and Emmy nominated musician with a stellar new album. He splits his time between making fantastic albums and teaching businesses how to unlock their creativity through his company Big Muse.

Food Craftsmen Interviews - Parts 1 and 2

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Scott Eirinberg

I was recently interviewed by Ryan Parker of the Food Craftsmen podcast series. I explain why I hate the "F" word ("foodie"). I also talk about the inception of the company as well as the viral video that I made with my friend Barton Landsman in Hollywood last year. It was a nice opportunity to tell the story of how I ended up in a business I never intended to start. You can also listen and subscribe to Ryan Parker's podcast series on iTunes.


PART 2 of 2 Reluctant Trading Food Craftsmen Interview

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