Expedition Subsahara Review from Shark Tank: Diving Into The Business Splash

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Expedition Subsahara stepped into the world of entrepreneurial reality TV when they presented their unique business on Shark Tank. Sofi Seck, originally from Senegal, represented the brand on the show with a mission to showcase the beauty of African traditional crafts and contribute positively to her community. The brand’s appearance on the national stage shed light on its collection of hand-woven baskets and array of home decor items, bringing Senegalese culture to the forefront.

Ever since its foray into the Shark Tank, the company has been under scrutiny from various corners for both its business strategy and the cultural message it carries. The brand’s focus has been on creating a ripple of positive change through commerce that deeply respects the artisan craft of Africa while striving for entrepreneurial success. Whether engaging with art enthusiasts or casual viewers of Shark Tank, the company has aimed to remain true to its roots and to empower the local Senegalese community through its endeavors.

Key Takeaways

  • Expedition Subsahara gained national attention on Shark Tank through its vibrant African craftwork.
  • The company’s mission revolves around preserving Senegalese culture while supporting local artisans.
  • Post-Shark Tank, the brand has maintained a focus on community impact and cultural appreciation.

Company Overview and Mission


Expedition Subsahara engages in a blend of business and philanthropy aimed at showcasing Senegalese culture through handcrafted products and promoting education, particularly for girls in Senegal.

Foundation and Vision

The company was co-founded by Sofi Seck and Amy Sow, who were driven by the vision of empowering African artisans. They aimed to bring the beauty of Senegalese craftsmanship to a global audience, highlighting the vibrant culture through every piece they sell.

Product Line and Artisanship

Expedition Subsahara offers a diverse range of handcrafted items, including baskets, kitchen and decor products, all crafted in Senegal. The brand emphasizes the artisanship of local craft workers, bringing authentic Senegalese culture into homes around the world.

Social Impact and Education Goals

Apart from celebrating craftsmanship, Expedition Subsahara has a mission to build a school for girls in Senegal. By investing in education, they aim to create a lasting impact that extends beyond commerce, seeking to improve the lives of women and girls in the region.

Journey in the Shark Tank


The journey of Expedition Subsahara in the Shark Tank was a pivotal moment for the company, featuring a strong pitch for a significant investment from the Sharks during a memorable episode.

Pitch Overview

Founder Sofi Seck presented Expedition Subsahara on Shark Tank Season 14, Episode 4, requesting $500,000 for 10% equity in her company. Her pitch highlighted the company’s mission and the cultural heritage of Senegal through its artisan-made products.

Sharks’ Reception and Offers

The Sharks appeared to be genuinely impressed with Seck’s presentation and the quality of the products. However, challenges were raised concerning the financial aspects of the business. Major Sharks like Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner scrutinized the business model, focusing on the viability and scalability given the tight margins.

Deal Outcome and Equity

Ultimately, despite the interest and commendation from the Sharks, no deal was offered to Expedition Subsahara. The main issues cited were the business’s tight margins and concerns about the scalability at the valuation presented.

Business and Financial Insights


Expedition Subsahara entered the Shark Tank with significant sales and a clear valuation in mind based on their gross profits. Yet, their net profits offered a more nuanced view of the company’s financial health and efficiencies.

Sales and Revenue

Expedition Subsahara’s appearance on Shark Tank shined a light on their financial achievements. The company had amassed over a million dollars in gross profits the previous year, which points to a robust interest in their African baskets and products. However, despite impressive gross figures, the company’s net profit stood at $75,000, indicating that the costs of doing business were high in relation to their sales.

Production and Overhead

The comparison between gross profits and net profits suggests that Expedition Subsahara’s production and overhead costs were likely substantial. Although specific figures for these costs are not disclosed, they directly affect the company’s margins and net income. Efficiency in production and managing overhead is paramount for the company to improve its net profit.

Market Position and Competition

When evaluating Expedition Subsahara’s market position, it’s evident that their unique blend of Senegalese art and culture with contemporary design has resonated globally. Competition within the artisan market is intense, yet Expedition Subsahara’s valuation of $5 million suggests confidence in their distinctive brand and market potential. However, sustaining and enhancing their position will depend on their ability to differentiate from competitors and leverage their unique selling propositions.

Community and Cultural Impact

Expedition Subsahara is not just a business; it’s a bridge linking African heritage, particularly that of the Wolof tribe, to a global audience. They provide a significant boost to both the local and international understanding of African culture.

Artisan Partnerships

Expedition Subsahara’s collaboration with Wolof weavers elevates the craftsmanship and culture of the tribe. Each basket is handmade, a testament to the skill and traditional techniques passed down through generations. The weavers receive fair compensation, promoting sustainable artisan careers within their communities.

Contribution to Local and Global Communities

Beyond fostering local craftsmanship, Expedition Subsahara supports community development in Senegal. Profits from the baskets contribute to educational and social empowerment projects. Globally, the company raises awareness of African culture and, by extension, issues such as the importance of Black Lives Matter, ensuring that the narrative around African contributions is heard and valued.