Soup delivery service Spoonful of Comfort entered the Shark Tank on the show’s Season 8 premiere. We interviewed owner Marti Wymer, who was inspired to start the company after her mother became ill and she wanted to send her chicken soup.
As for her Tank experience, she called it surreal. “I was so nervous going into the Tank. I spent months preparing, watching every episode, reading every article I could get my hands on, going through our business, market and books until I knew everything forwards and backwards. However, the minute those doors opened, I forgot all of it,” she explained.
Here’s what else she told us about…
How the Idea Came About
It was October of 2007 when I received the dreaded call that my mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Of course, like anyone, I was shocked, scared and panicked. The hardest part about hearing the news is that she was living thousands of miles away at the time. I felt helpless being so far away. I needed to do something. So I jumped online, and there were tons of options for flowers, candy and fruit. But nothing felt appropriate for this situation. I wanted to show her how much I cared, and in some way comfort her. I immediately thought of chicken soup. It’s what she, like many mothers, used to make to comfort me. But I couldn’t find any to send. I lost her just six weeks later. Out of this tragedy, the idea for Spoonful of Comfort was born. I thought what better way to honor her than to help others in the same situation. To this day, it’s my promise to make and deliver each package with as much care as if I were sending it to my own mother.
Their Chicken Noodle Soup
Our signature Chicken Noodle is by far the bestseller. I don’t think any flavor will ever compete with our Chicken Noodle soup and how it makes people feel. Our old-fashioned favorite is seasoned with roasted chicken, fresh thyme, parsley and oodles of noodles. It’s so hearty and homey, you’ll never do dried ones again. Having said that, all of our soups are amazing. Our Tomato Basil comes in second! And we are launching a brand-new Cream of Mushroom next week.
Looking to Other Online Delivery Services as Models
I looked at every online delivery service and gifting company, I think, when starting our business! It was tricky because we were creating a new category and didn’t have exact models, however I modeled different elements from many different companies. I am a huge fan of 1-800-Flowers and always have been. I love that Jim McCann started the company from one flower shop and grew it to a billion-dollar business himself.
A Heartwarming Customer Story
My favorite story is still one from early on. There was a young girl 8 years old, the same age as my daughter at the time, who had a rare form of cancer. It required aggressive treatment and she had to have chemo once a week for nearly a year. A family friend of theirs had sent them one of our packages. Her mother emailed us letting us know that our soup was the only thing her daughter would eat. After going days without eating anything, she was asking for it for breakfast. After hearing that, we sent her soup every week for months. We had friends and neighbors step in wanting to help and took turns covering the costs. We are so pleased to say that she is cancer-free today and a vivacious teenager. What a gift for us to be able to contribute if even in the tiniest of ways to helping her feel better.
How Her Appearance on the ‘Tank’ Came About Through a Casting Agent
Our appearance on Shark Tank came about when we were called by a casting agent. I am a huge fan and was so shocked, I didn’t believe it was real. Once I chatted with them and realized it was for real, my first response was “no.” I thought, “There is no way I am going to put myself out there on national television to be chewed up and spit out by Mr. Wonderful.” However, my husband talked me into it! So I talked my business partner into it and we moved forward with the process.
We have great hopes that the exposure we receive from airing on Shark Tank will help us continue to grow and reach new heights. We have tons of plans for the future that we look forward to implementing. We will be expanding our product line and adding on new soup flavors and additional comfort packages. Operationally, we would love to open a facility on the East Coast so that we can get our packages to our customers even faster. We have tons of exciting things to come down the road, so stay tuned.