Expedition Subsahara is a company that sells woven baskets and other hand-crafted home decorations inspired by her homeland of Africa. Sofi Seck pitched her business on season 14 of Shark Tank but didn’t get a deal. As of 2022, Expedition Subsahara is worth an estimated $2 million.
About the Founder
Sofi Seck is originally from Senegal, West Africa, and moved to the United States at 14 years old to get an education. She settled in Florissant, Missouri, and attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Even while in the US, she was proud of her roots. Sofi was born into the Wolof Tribe, which was very dominant in the 14th to 16th centuries because of its commodity trade. The tribe was most famous for its weaving.
Mothers and grandmothers passed down the art form to their children, so Sofi learned about it at a young age. But before using the skill for her eventual business, she worked as a photographer.
Founding the Company
The Senegalese lady had to stop working out due to a severe back injury she got while powerlifting. It left her bedridden for several months, which was the time she thought of starting Expedition Subsahara.
When she got back on her feet, she launched the business in 2017. Sofi employs over 120 experienced weavers from Senegal to make beautiful baskets, vases, and other decors.
The company is more about making money. When Sofi started the business she pledged to donate 20% of her revenue to building a STEAM school for girls in her homeland.
Getting on Shark Tank
Sofi initially didn’t have any plans to go on television, but one day she randomly got an email from a Shark Tank producer asking for more details about her company. She is a big fan of the show and couldn’t turn down the opportunity. After some interviews and boring paperwork, she got approved to be in the series.
Shark Tank Appearance
Sofia was clearly nervous making the pitch and talking quite fast. She came into the Tank, seeking $500,000 for 10%. The company made $900,000 in year-to-date sales and $3.6 million in lifetime sales. The sales figures wowed the Sharks!
In 2021, Expedition Subsahara made a gross profit of $1 million but a net profit of $75,000 as she was re-investing the majority of sales back into the business. The Sharks didn’t like how much she was paying her workers and her customer acquisition cost was too high. Sadly, the Sharks didn’t see it as a viable business and the valuation was too high.
After Shark Tank
Although her pitch didn’t go as planned, Shark Tank fans will be keen to support her mission. The business is generating strong sales online but needs to work on reducing its expenses. Expedition Subsahara will make over $1 million in 2022 and is worth an estimated $2 million.
Their range of products is increasing and they currently sell baskets, vases, coasters, trays and vases. The prices range from $39 to $135.
In the past, Sofi hasn’t had any trouble getting publicity and this won’t change after the show. They already have a strong following on social media and have been featured on major outlets such as Huffington Post, Forbes, and Yahoo News.
The only place to purchase their products is on their official website, ExpeditionSubsahara.com. One of Expedition Subsahara’s bestsellers is the Yata Basket, which is rated 5 stars from 20 reviews on their website. Sofi plans to expand into retail but it will be challenging as her products are expensive.