Rial Dates And The Sisters Behind The Brand Who Keep Things 'Rial'
You may have heard of Rial Dates or seen them pop up everywhere on Instagram, including Tatler Thailand's. Started by two sisters who are just in their early twenties, Rial Dates is a premium brand of locally-made, date-based, chocolatey treats that have captured the interest of both the health-conscious and sweet-tooths alike. After all, there is an intersection between the two, isn't there? We decide to finally meet the Rial Dates sisters, Nikki and Rami, to learn more about their budding plant-based dessert business and their fascinating dynamics as siblings.
To start, can you please tell us who are you and what's your relationship with each other?
Hello, we are Nikki and Rami—you can refer to us as Rial Dates sisters. We are sisters, best friends, travel buddies and business partners. We are just a year apart, Nikki is 24, and Rami is 23 years old.
When did you launch Rial Dates?
We officially launched Rial Dates in January 2020, but we started recipe-testing and the R&D processes in October, last year.
Where does the name Rial Dates come from?
Our tag line is "Keeping it Rial". We want to keep things real with high quality, nutritious and minimal ingredients. The name is inspired by the word "Real". Rami came up with the name, and we liked the ring of it.
Was this a hobby that turned into a business?
Nikki studied Biomedical Science and loves to eat nutritious food. Rami and our mother, on the other hand, love eating unhealthy chocolates after meals. So Nikki decided to make truffles using just dates and cacao, and this became a replacement in our house for the sugary junk. We then wanted to share it with more people along with our beautiful packaging to promote conscious gifting, where people gift health to people they love, without compromising on the health of our planet as well. We use carefully sourced FSC paper and our packaging is free from plastics.
Dates are considered to be one of the healthiest fruit in the world with a low glycemic index, offering tonnes of benefits for the brain, heart, liver and skin. Dates are anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and can help prevent diseases. The dates we use are from the Middle East, and they are truly nature's candy. Some Asian dates are dry and hard, so if you think you don't like dates, give these a try and you will change your mind.
Awesome. So why vegan desserts? Is it because you're vegan?
We both are trying to eat more plant-based and in fact, prefer the taste of vegan desserts. We both don't digest lactose well like a lot of people we know personally, so we decided to make our desserts both vegan and gluten-free.
Your brand highlights two distinct products. Can you tell us about them?
We have truffles made of dates, cocoa, coconut almonds and nothing else. They taste soft and slightly sticky and so decadent—you won't even know they are healthy! They are just 30 kcal per ball, though, and offer a tonne of health benefits, as we've mentioned before. The other product is our dipped Medjool dates with 100 per cent cacao, coconut, almonds and nothing else. This is slightly sweeter and for people who love a caramel and dark chocolate flavour combination.
Who are your targets and what has the reception been like so far?
We initially targeted the health market, but most of our customers are general consumers who enjoy delicious treats. Most people can't even tell that the dessert are made of dates and enjoy them as chocolate treats. The reception has been really good. We have been loving all the positive feedback. We love that people have realised that it only takes just a few healthy ingredients to make delicious treats.
Do men like Rial Dates too?
We notice that women tend to be more drawn towards our products (especially during that time of the month!) But in general, men and women equally love Rial Dates.
Who does what, or do you both do the same thing? What's it like working with each other?
Initially we had a lot of conflict, but once we played up to our strengths, things started to flow and we have a lot of fun working together. Rami is mainly in charge of the designing and social media management, while Nikki is in charge of customer relations and the nutrition aspect of the product. Our mom, who is also our partner, is our main recipe developer and helps us prepare the treats.
Is this your first business? What have you learned from the experience so far?
Yes, this is our first business. We have learned that the only way to move ahead is to not be afraid of making mistakes. Ultimately, failure doesn't exist; if things don't go according to plan, we learn from it and adapt. We've also learned that things happen when they are supposed to, exactly as they are meant to and that we need to be patient to let things unfold.
When do you most enjoy eating your own product? In the morning? After or before a workout? For dessert?
We eat them for dessert most often, but sometimes Nikki enjoys them with her matcha latte in the morning.
What's next for you? What are your plans for Rial Dates?
We want to hopefully reach more people and keep growing. We want Rial Dates to be a part of more people's lives.
Random question—describe the perfect date.
A day where there is nothing much to do, both are present with each other, and the conversation is free-flowing, open, deep and vulnerable.
Check out Rial Dates on Instagram.