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!"

Reluctant Trading is 5 years old today. I have a few people to thank before I blow out the candles on my pepper cake.

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Scott Eirinberg

Here are the Top 10 people that I am thankful for on our 5th birthday today. 

  1. Divakar

    Without my dear friend and partner in India, Reluctant Trading simply wouldn’t exist. After I left my first business, The Land of Nod, Divakar started talking to me about getting into the pepper trade. I was Reluctant. Capital "R" intended. I didn’t know a Tellicherry Peppercorn from a telephone pole. (Here’s the full story.) But I eventually gave in to the amazing aroma of the Tellicherry peppercorns and followed my nose.

    Divakar travels the farms in India sourcing the freshest, most aromatic spices exclusively for Reluctant Trading. 

    Divakar is quite possibly the most pleasant and cheerful human being on the planet. I feel lucky to have such an amazing friend and partner.

Mr. Divakar and Mr. Reluctant
  1. My wife Karla, aka Mrs. Reluctant

    You know what they say, “Behind every good spice man is a good spice woman.” Okay, maybe they don’t say that, but it sounds good. Without Mrs. Reluctant’s support, there wouldn't be a Reluctant Trading. She has put in countless hours doing just about every thankless job imaginable. So, thank you Karla for always being willing to do the thankless.

  2. Chef Troy MacLarty of Bollywood Theater

    Was it karma or the kati rolls that brought me to Troy’s Bollywood Theater Indian restaurants in Portland, Oregon? Probably both.

    I was and still am blown away by Troy's restaurants. The decor, the food and even the videos of India playing in the bathrooms. The restaurants are even crowded like India.

    Troy and I became fast friends and I soon found myself working with Divakar to bring Troy's authentic Bollywood Chai and masalas to a national audience through our website.

    I’m indebted to Troy for introducing me to several outstanding, award-winning chefs in Portland who have become some of our best customers. I'm also indebted to Troy for turning me into a Portland Trailblazers fan. He taught me that "CJ and Dame" are two phenomenal Blazers basketball players and not the names of characters in a buddy cop film.

  3. My chefs 

    I'm not a chef. And I don't play one on TV. But I do love working with creative people who care so much about their craft. I feel like we supply excellent quality paint. But it's up to the chefs to make the art.

    I love visiting chefs in the kitchen and watching what goes on during a busy night. I have gained such an appreciation for what these people can do. 

    This past year, we were honored and humbled when Chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s recommended us in his best selling, beautiful cookbook, Six Seasons.

    We were also thrilled when Chef Bonnie Morales of Kachka spoke highly of us in a Bon Appetit article listing us as one of the country's "Best online specialty food stores."

    I’m humbled work with so many talented and supportive chefs, butchers, distilleries, bartenders and stores. 

  4. Graphic Designer Michael Mabry

    Michael Mabry is a phenomenally talented, graphic designer, artist and illustrator from the San Francisco Bay area. He helped bring The Reluctant Trading Experiment brand to life (and long ago, The Land of Nod). We’ve been working together for over 15 years. Somehow Michael always seems to understand what to do even when I can't quite tell him exactly what I want. He continues to inspire me to do my best work and I've learned so much about creativity just by watching him over the years.

  5. Photographer Alan Shortall

    I always dreamed of taking my buddy and pro photographer Alan Shortall with me to India. This past February, we made it happen. Alan dropped everything he was doing and made his first trip to India with me to document the peppercorn harvest.

    We created a lifetime of memories in just a couple of weeks.

    We trekked through Mumbai, Kerala and Rajasthan. I was hit by a car and we were almost killed by wild monkeys. What a great time! LOL! Well, I have the spices to show for it. And thanks to Alan, the photos too.

    We brought back so many great stories, but mostly people just wanted to see us getting attacked by monkeys.

  6. Designer Magnus Lundstrom

    Magnus is the immensely talented Swedish designer and craftsman behind our best selling Magnus Salt and Pepper Mills. Magnus hand sands and finishes each and every mill like a work of art. Truth be told, he can barely keep up with our orders. And truth be told, he can barely put up with me constantly badgering him for more mills.

    We are both avid tennis players and look forward to trying to clobber each other on the tennis court one day soon.

  7. Director Barton Landsman 

    My old college friend and friend from the University of Illinois went on to become a super successful television commercial director, doing spots for companies like ESPN and Sony. He heard about my Reluctant Trading adventure and he convinced me that we had to re-create the story in film. I played myself. Barton asked an actor to play Divakar.

    The video went viral and received almost 80,000 views in a few days. 

    "The Reluctant Trading Experiment Story"
    Directed by Barton Landsman


  8. Editor RJ LaPorta

    Richard LaPorta is like my brother from another mother. We have the same tastes in sports, food and craft beer. He is a professional filmmaker and editor and is responsible for helping us cut our documentaries.

    Here’s a film from my first trip to the peppercorn jungles that RJ edited.

    "Out of Reluctance"
    A documentary I shot about my first trip to the peppercorn jungles in 2012. Unlike Barton's comical film about Reluctant Trading that was filmed in California, this film features the real Divakar and footage of India.


  9. My customers!

    Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank you for your support. Without you, there is no "Trading" in Reluctant Trading. And then it would have just been "Reluctant." Sad!

    Thanks for your orders. Thanks for your repeat orders. Thanks for taking the time to write so many nice product reviews. Thanks for spreading the word.

    I've enjoyed connecting with you through email and on the phone. I see each and every order that comes through and I recognize many of your names.

    I promise to keep the quality that you've come to expect. And to always treat you the way I would want to be treated.

    Thanks for supporting the Experiment for the last 5 years.

    All the best to you and your families this holiday season.

    Reluctantly Yours,




Cheers to our new seasonal wine gift bags!

Posted on November 23, 2017 by Scott Eirinberg

Snowflakes Textile Wine Tote Blue and Red

Holidays mean parties. Parties mean you need a gift for the host. A gift for the host means a bottle of wine. (Of course, it could mean a Reluctant Trading Salt and Pepper Gift Set instead, but we digress.)

A bottle of wine means...well, usually you give that bottle and nobody ever remembers where it came from at the end of the night.

Our affordable and reusable textile wine bags come in a ton of designs and colors. AND They come with a gift tag so your host will know who gave them that nice bottle of red or white. 

We're excited about our new seasonal designs. Check 'em all out.

Scroll to top