Salty Girl Seafood is well on their way becoming a household name. Try searching “sustainable and traceable seafood” and their company will be at the top of the results page. Moreover, Salty Girl was recently mentioned by Forbes magazine in an article praising UCSB alumni for their start-up success. The team’s drive and determination in their business pursuit is remarkable. We sat down recently with the group to talk about their recent progress since graduating this past June.
Norah Eddy and Laura Johnson (both MESM 2014) began Salty Girl Seafood while completing Bren’s Eco-Entrepreneurship Program. During this time, they picked up a fellow classmate to join their team, Gina Auriemma, also from the Class of 2014. The official launch of Salty Girl was in June 2014.
As described by the founders, “Salty Girl Seafood is a platform-based sustainable seafood distribution company that connects small-scale fishermen with chefs across the country”. The team is currently developing their online market place that will directly connect buyers (chefs and restaurants) and sellers (fishermen). They are looking to cut out the middle man in the seafood supply chain in order to ensure that the seafood is traceable and fresh. The fishermen they work with are small-scale who harvest their catch responsibly.
The group successfully raised their seed round this summer through a variety of fundraising and sponsorship tactics. This first round of funding was necessary to help launch the company, provide proof of concept, and begin scaling their business. Impressively, Salty Girl was awarded $17,500 at the 2014 UCSB TMP New Venture Competition in May.
Salty Girl is now focused on running their pilot projects that test the logistics for getting the product from point A (fishermen) to point B (chefs). In true start-up fashion, the pilots have been incredibly labor-intensive for the team, yet the group is actively working to develop their online platform that will allow the process to run much more smoothly. The platform will be used by two user-facing ends: the fishermen who provide information about the fish they caught, and the chefs who are looking to connect with the fishermen and learn about the fish they are buying. The platform will allow easier communication and delivery. Soon, the team is looking to incorporate a third party that will handle the responsibility of shipping logistics, such as FedEx or Air Freight.
So far, the pilot projects have been going great. Norah further explains, “True to our training through Eco-E and learning the customer discovery process, we’ve recognized that the demand is there, which is incredibly important”, Norah explains. “The bottleneck now is finding consistent supply. We need to find fishermen that are willing to work with us in this early stage of our business and willing to sell smaller amounts of fish to us.” The team is confident in their business plan and eager to take their operations to the next step.
Salty Girl Seafood is now housed in Bren Hall. The group expressed that they are very happy to be back working at Bren since given its comfortable and memorable environment. The Bren School is equally happy to house the team, bringing them back to their Bren roots.
Best of luck to Salty Girl! We have the upmost faith in your efforts.