Start-up She Sells Seafood continues legacy of women-led business in Eastern Canada
Mary Manette was an icon in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in the early 1900s, traveling through the night by horse and wagon from the fishing village of West Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia, to bring fresh seafood to the Halifax Farmers Market.
A hundred years later, Manette’s great-granddaughter, Jordan Simms, is hoping to continue her legacy with She Sells Seafood, a start-up aiming to bring value-added seafood products into the North American retail space.
Backed by Saint John’s, Newfoundland, Canada-based Whitecap International Seafood Exporters, has developed a seacuterie kit featuring shrimp ceviche; crab tapenade with truffle oil, olives, and anchovies; crab cocktail, and lobster dip.
“My great-grandmother was known to have the finest seafood in Halifax. And she sold clams and herring in the same way I’m selling it right now. I think that her stories deserve and others of women playing historic roles in the seafood industry to be told. This brand is creating a space for that,” Simms told SeafoodSource at the 2023 Seafood Expo North America. “With my background in design and product development, I think particularly for the value-added segment, my perspective is incredibly valued.”
Previously the CEO of Mary Manette Seafood, Simms now serves as vice president of innovation and marketing for She Sells Seafood. She said she hopes to play a role in raising the profile of women working in the seafood industry, and said she has received support from former Canadian Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan as she visited the Whitecap booth at Seafood Expo North America.
“I think it's enormously important. Traditionally, seafood is a male-dominated industry, there's no doubt about it. I think people are interested in the female perspective on seafood. Every man who works in this industry knows women who are their colleagues, and I think it's important to recognize them and tell some of their stories. And, you know, half of the global workforce right now in the seafood industry is women, but in leadership positions, there are certainly fewer. The time has come.”
She Sells Seafood’s initial product came “in response to consumer demand for premium, tinned seafood,” Simms said.
“A lot of that traditionally has come from Spain and Portugal, but we thought it was time to have Marine Stewardship Council-certified North American seafood in the seacuterire space,” Simms said. “We've also done some innovation with the packaging in terms of having a clear lid because we think for the North American consumer wants to see what they're buying. All you have to do is just put it on a tray, pop open the lid, and with the gold tins, you have a beautiful, elegant appetizer tray featuring North American seafood.”
The seacuterie kit is just the beginning of what Simms hopes to accomplish with She Sells Seafood, she said. Products in the works include ...
Photo courtesy of Cliff White/SeafoodSource