Real Oyster Cult’s owners leverage technology to bring oysters directly to consumers
Rob Knecht and Sims McCormick are the founders of Real Oyster Cult, which operates an oyster farm in Duxbury, Massachusetts, U.S.A., and runs a direct-to-consumer oyster program with product curated from about 90 farms.
SeafoodSource: How was Real Oyster Cult started?
Knecht and McCormick: Our cult started small, and now it’s growing at a blistering pace. It all began on our oyster farm, hosting our friends and family on our oyster float for fresh oysters. With the explosion of direct-to-consumer food offerings, we saw an opportunity in the U.S. marketplace to offer high-quality oysters from all over North America. We are the only e-commerce company that provides ever-changing varieties from multiple regions.
SeafoodSource: What role does technology play in your business?
Knecht and McCormick: We leverage technology in all aspects from sourcing, fulfillment, and shipping to customer service. Our team created a custom mobile app that allows our customers to order all of our products in app (or website) and ship to their door the next day. Tech is how we get it done more cost-effectively with more predictable results.
SeafoodSource: What do you think other seafood purveyors can learn from your model?
Knecht and McCormick: Adopting technology is not a nice thing to have anymore. You need it to stay competitive and to help your bottom line. If you do not have a strong tech team, you need to get one.
SeafoodSource: How do you find/select your oyster farming partners?
Knecht and McCormick: We work with some of the best farms in North America. These farms produce a high-quality product with constant reliability. We work with more than 90 farms at this point, and like to give our customers access to new farm flavors all the time. Our selection process is based on region, quality, supply, and seasonal availability.
SeafoodSource: Are you offering your own oysters as well?
Knecht and McCormick: Yes. Our oysters, ROC Reserves and Sailor’s Valentines, are sold exclusively on Real Oyster Cult. This gives our e-commerce customers something special we grow just for them.
SeafoodSource: What are the most challenging aspects of your business?
Knecht and McCormick: Starting a business from scratch has many challenges. Brand building is one of our biggest, alone with navigating the ever-changing marketing landscape.
SeafoodSource: What are the misconceptions about oysters that you most often address with consumers?
Knecht and McCormick: There are so many different types of oysters. We try to make them accessible and fun, not intimidating. The average oyster eater has tried a few types and is looking to learn more, and probably has never shucked before. We want to educate and inspire and always keep it fun. And, of course, the R month rule [only eat oysters in a month with an R in it] is always present with older oyster eaters from the South especially.
SeafoodSource: What's next for your business?
Knecht and McCormick: We’re exploring many avenues of growth. We are working with several partners to expand the cult of oyster lovers all over the U.S. and beyond.
SeafoodSource: What are some things people would be surprised to learn about the two of you?
Knecht and McCormick: Sims is an actress. She produced a web series a few years ago called “Welcome to the X-urbs” and is now working on a screenplay. Rob built custom wooden sailboats and power boats and still sails competitively every summer.
Photo courtesy of Real Oyster Cult