Venture Everywhere Podcast: Alex Abelin with Becca Millstein
Alex Abelin, co-founder and CEO of PlantBaby, interviews Becca Millstein, co-founder and CEO of Fishwife, on Episode 19: Uncanny Products
In episode 19 of Venture Everywhere, Alex Abelin, co-founder and CEO of PlantBaby, interviews Becca Millstein, co-founder and CEO of Fishwife – a premium canned fish brand that has successfully navigated the turbulent waters of startup growth. Becca shares Fishwife’s approach to distribution, including growing organically with a direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy and the role of packaging and world building in attracting an audience. From its inception to meeting the challenges, Becca gives an in-depth look into the canned fish market, collaborations with independent female artists, and strategies of a successful consumer product business.
In this episode, you will hear:
The origin story of Fishwife: its name and how it was conceived from the unconventional path of its founders.
How Fishwife cultivates a robust community around the thoughtfully designed brand, including Fishwife's partnerships with independent female artists.
Fishwife's distribution strategy, starting with an unconventional take on growing customer base organically in the first year.
Managing distribution when launching in supermarkets, and avoiding the common pitfall of rushing into distribution without focusing on order turns
Leveraging a lean team and securing smart, invested individuals on the cap table when fundraising
If you liked this episode, please give us a rating wherever you found us and be sure to subscribe to Venture Everywhere. To learn more about our work, visit Everywhere.vc and ideas.everywhere.vc on Substack. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for regular updates and news.
00:00:00 Jenny Fielding: Hi, and welcome to the Everywhere Podcast. We're a global community of founders and operators who've come together to support the next generation of builders, so the premise of the podcast is just that. Founders interviewing other founders about the trials and tribulations of building a company. I hope you enjoy the episode.
00:00:20 Alex: Hello everyone, thank you so much for joining. My name is Alex Abelin, I am the co-founder and CEO of PlantBaby and I am delighted to be here with Becca Millstein, the founder of Fishwife. Hi, Becca.
00:00:33 Becca: Hello, Alex. So lovely to be with you on this Friday morning.
00:00:36 Alex: Yes, it is. It's nice to be part of the Everywhere community and be portfolio companies in this incredible global group. And I know we're two of the companies that are both in the CPG and food space, so it's nice to represent that cohort of this community as well.
00:00:52 Becca: Yes, got to represent CPG hard.
00:00:56 Alex: Have you been in CPG your career? Where did your career begin?
00:01:00 Becca: I wish, because I probably would have more experience and would be able to do it.
00:01:04 Alex: Thought you would say “I would not be doing it.”
00:01:06 Becca: No, no, no! I love CPG. It's embarrassing how much I love it. But no, I spent the first four years of my career - which was how long my career was before starting this business - in the music industry. And I was doing brand partnerships and marketing in the music industry for a major talent agency and then a major record label, if you can believe it. And then my last job before starting the company was at a music startup. It was like WeWork for musicians.
00:01:37 Alex: Okay, very cool. So you love music?
00:01:39 Becca: I guess. Not any more than your average guy.
00:01:44 Alex: Yeah. But you love CPG more than your regular job.
00:01:47 Becca: I think I loved music and I did not love the music industry. And I love food like a normal person does, and I love the CPG industry.
00:01:57 Alex: That's great. Yeah.
00:01:59 Becca: I just can't believe that I am in a place in my life where I love going to conferences and talking for 12 hours about an industry. But–
00:02:07 Alex: Yeah.
00:02:08 Becca: That is where we're at.
00:02:09 Alex: That is such a gift. I think not many professionals have that.
00:02:13 Becca: Yeah.
00:02:15 Alex: So let's start with the transition from music to food. How did Fishwife all began? What's the origin story?
00:02:21 Becca: The origin story is – So I was working at this music startup that was very IRL focused. It was basically WeWork for musicians. It was a British company in COVID and we launched the LA branch of it. It sounds so dramatic, but it was the Monday of the week that everything shut down for COVID. So I mean, I think I just had more time on my hands because it was a lot of IRL programming, et cetera, and that just shut down.
00:02:49 Becca: So a month and a half into COVID, on April 26, 2020, I was with my then co-founder, who I was living with. She was a friend of mine and we were on a hike and we had this light bulb moment that was basically the coalescing of two major realizations, which was that: on one hand, the canned fish category is a nearly $6 billion category in US.
00:03:14 Becca: It's a huge food category. Huge household penetration, but it never evolved past commodity canned tuna products. Just like how do we get the cheapest products to customers? Which I thought was just a total waste of a category, because canned fish are an amazing product where it's extremely nutritious, extremely high protein, shelf stable for many, many years.
00:03:40 Becca: Completely ready to eat straight out of the tin. Obviously depending on what product you're having. And it's totally clean, no processing, no artificial flavors, et cetera. So it's just an amazing product in and of itself.
00:03:52 Becca: And so just realized that there's this huge undisturbed category. Super dusty, the dustiest, I think, by far. And then, on the other hand, I had lived in Spain, in southern Spain for a few months in college and that's where I had recognized that Conservas’ culture existed and there was this whole other universe of canned fish out there that just did not have a presence and did not have a strong foothold in the US.
00:04:18 Becca: And during COVID I was picking up on signals from whether it was my peer group or culinary media, just picking up on signals that people were really excited about premium tinned fish but there were no American brands really representing that quality of product or the use cases that really high quality tinned fish could be implemented in.
00:04:41 Alex: Right. Global or domestic?
00:04:44 Becca: Domestic. Domestic. North American. And it's almost 6 billion. I think it's like 5.2 this year.
00:04:49 Alex: And it's growing year over year?
00:04:51 Becca: It is growing. It's growing faster in the premium segment. So 2020, into 2021 to 2022, it basically grew as a category 10% year over year. And then the more conventional commodity side of the category, that growth has slowed to about 3% to 4%, but the premium segment is still growing 10% year over year and that's hot.
00:05:11 Alex: Do you think being tinned in shelf stable the pandemic really accelerated that--
00:05:17 Becca: Definitely
00:05:17 Alex: Consumer desire?
00:05:19 Becca: Yeah, it was a perfect storm of yes, this is a product that both answers the question of shelf stable, clean protein, and it also answers the question of creating a beautiful at-home eating experience. And that's the way that we are approaching it.
00:05:36 Becca: It's like we see so many use cases of beautiful charcuterie boards with a bottle of lovely chilled wine and so it involves two problems for people during COVID, which is like yeah, get really healthy protein quickly and also have like–
00:05:52 Alex: A date night. A fine dining date night inside.
00:05:54 Becca: Exactly!
00:05:56 Alex: When we look at the 6 billion category, I think the top line is probably the biggest piece is tuna. No?
00:06:01 Becca: 80%.
00:06:02 Alex: 80? Wow! The 80/20 rule, you could find it everywhere. Pareto's principle.
00:06:08 Becca: Is that true? I didn't even know that.
00:06:10 Alex: Okay. And then what are the other 20? How does the 20 get made of?
00:06:13 Becca: It's sardines first, and then clams, which is really surprising. And then oysters make up a good section.
00:06:23 Alex: Okay.
06:24 Becca: And salmon. It's really, interesting commodity. Canned salmon is very popular in the southeast and the south to be used for patties. It's very popular. Yeah.
00:06:32 Alex: Okay, interesting.
00:06:34 Becca: And I learned this here.
00:06:35 Alex: Does Spam get categorized in this? Is it going to include it?
00:06:38 Becca: No. Not the way that I am...
00:06:40 Alex: Yeah, yeah. And this Spam was so popular in Hawaii. I was there for figures. It's so funny. There's just like iconic brand of Hawaii. It's so culturally branded.
00:06:52 Becca: It's a great example of they have honed in on use case that's super popular there, in those movies, that has not really had a foothold in the US. But that is definitely a way that we think about the growth of this category is - if we're able to really galvanize a whole bunch of use cases, we can make the products that much more relevant. Just like Spam and why it’s a great example.
00:07:16 Alex: Totally. Let's go back to that hike. So you're in LA?
00:07:20 Becca: Yes.
00:07:21 Alex: What mountain and what hill?
00:07:23 Becca: At that time we were actually in Idyllwild.
00:07:25 Alex: Okay.
00:07:26 Becca: Yeah, so we’re on a beautiful hike in Idyllwild.
00:07:28 Alex: Yeah. And this idea coalesces with your co-founder?
00:07:33 Becca: Yeah.
00:07:34 Alex: And then on the hike down, do you make a handshake agreement that you're going to actually build this thing out?
00:07:38 Becca: There was no handshake agreement, but there was coming up with the name of the company. There was brainstorming the products that we would sell. We called all of our trendiest food friends and got the thumbs up from them.
00:07:53 Becca: And then by the time we got home, which was probably an hour and a half, two hours later, we cracked a bunch of tins of sardines because we were eating a bunch of tinned fish at this time. Crack a bunch of sardines, some bottles of wine, and honestly we're so kind of celebrated and we're like, "We're good!"
00:08:08 Alex: So fun. Yeah! Oh my gosh! I love it! Let's go to the name. So Fishwife, it has such a pop to it. What's the story of the name?
00:08:17 Becca: It's a great name. I feel very grateful that it existed on the ether and was available for trademarking. So I was calling all the entrepreneurs that I knew because I was like, "Well, how does one start a business?" I had some education from having worked at a startup for about eight months, so that was the case.
00:08:33 Becca: But I called a friend who runs a textile company called Block Shop with her sisters. It's a very cool, trendy, beautiful textile company and her name is Grier Stockman. And she was just Googling, I think, just like seafood terminology, and she was like, "Fishwife!" And we looked up what it meant, which was it basically has a dual definition. The first is a woman that sells fish and the second is like a foul mouth, to brash, sort of loud woman.
00:09:01 Alex: Oh my gosh.
00:09:01 Becca: She's very aligned with our personality and it was like, "Oh my God! This is the perfect name." And it was that from basically day two.
00:09:10 Alex: Oh, my goodness. Love it!
00:09:11 Becca: Yeah.
00:09:12 Alex: Yeah, it's so funny. These little moments that are the breadcrumbs of these stories and naming is a big deal.
00:09:19 Becca: Yeah, it's really crazy. I mean it really - I feel lucky. I mean, hey, we didn't have to spend $200,000 to get a good name.
00:09:28 Alex: Yeah. Right. Right.
00:09:29 Becca: Yeah, we definitely did it. I mean, we were completely resource constrained. I had very little savings, having worked in entry level positions in the music. It wasn't even a question. It was just like how to do this on the cheap.
00:09:42 Alex: Yeah, we were grateful that we could trademark PlantBaby. Fishwife, PlantBaby: these are two very common names and I guess we both got lucky getting those trademarks.
00:09:51 Becca: Yeah, that's incredible, because PlantBaby is very charming.
00:09:55 Alex: That one works too. Yeah. So I really love your brand. I was sharing with you a year ago. I sent you a photo of finding it in Hawaii and you were -- For those that are not in food, distribution is such a big topic to get investment, to define your company, to really define your values. I'd love to hear about your distribution. How are you approaching it? Where are you selling, what's been working, what's not been working, and perhaps where do you see distribution evolving to next year and the year after?
00:10:24 Becca: Yeah. So we've stuck exactly to the plan. I made a business plan a few months after starting the company. They really just laid out our high level distribution. And honestly, it's so obvious for a product like ours. I wouldn't say we did anything super revelatory. It was first year D2C; build a brand online. I was the only employee.
00:10:46 Becca: So even just the idea of managing distribution just harder. It's so much harder and it takes so much more resources, team resource, financial capital resource that is. And like that's obvious.. But I think that's a wonderful thing because it naturally pushes brands that are able to distribute online to start there. And take that time to build awareness around your brand.
00:11:13 Becca: Because once you go to retail, first of all, you're going to have to make a lot of capital investments, whether they are capital investments via inventory, via hiring someone to manage your retail business, or free fills, or various other promotional fees. You have to make a lot of upfront capital investments. And you want to make sure there's awareness there before you make all those investments.
00:11:37 Becca: So our strategy was, start D2C. First year in business we were 90% D2C. The rest were specialty shops around the country which I was distributing to directly. Second year in business, we changed the channel mix to 65% D2C and the rest was in specialty natural grocery and some online marketplaces. And then, as of this year, we're 50/50.
00:11:59 Alex: Nice.
00:12:00 Becca: And that's between, obviously D2C and then natural groceries, specialty online marketplaces and, yeah, that's it. And so next year is really the year that we're going fully national with a few retail partners in the natural channel. Might do some testing in club and conventional, but this is the plan.
00:12:22 Alex: It's following through, yeah.
00:12:23 Becca: Yeah.
00:12:22 Alex: Do some products do better D2C and some products do better in retail?
00:12:28 Becca: I would say like the success that we see, or the SKU assortment mix and its ranking, is pretty much consistent.
00:12:36 Alex: Across. And what is that ranking? How many products do you have?
00:12:39 Becca: I think we have about eight or nine. It honestly changes so much because we're constantly launching and a soft line, so I usually just say nine.
00:12:47 Alex: Yeah, let's go with nine.
00:12:48 Becca: Yeah, let's go with nine. Anchovies are always at the top, next to the Smoked Salmon with Fly By Jing Sichuan and Chili Crisp. That is the fan favorite. And then, honestly, we launched three products in the past five months and we're still getting reliable data on this fall, because it's kind of been too early to tell.
00:13:08 Becca: I think by the end of this year, we'll have a good sense of where they end up in skew mix. But the Sardines, we launched Sardines in July and those have really taken off, I think, even more than I expected them to.
00:13:19 Alex: Cool, cool.
00:13:20 Becca: Yeah.
00:13:21 Alex: So when you were building the first year, primarily D2C, what were the things that you did to get the brand out?
00:13:27 Becca: What we did NOT do was any paid advertising for the first two years of the business, which I maintained that that was a really good choice for our brand at least, because we spent those two years building a foundation of customers that had purely discovered the brand on their own.
00:13:46 Becca: They weren't being fed paid ads, which obviously it can be great, and we've found a really great marketing strategy within our paid strategy. It's working well for us this year. But I think it was nice to just have those first two years I was running marketing and we had no marketing funnel.
00:14:03 Alex: Yeah, yeah.
00:14:04 Becca: The music industry does not actually prepare you to be like a good marketer. So it was very brand-focused and not super ROI focused, but it worked. I think we spent two years doing all these totally unscalable marketing tactics. Did 50 collaborations with small, independent female identifying artists, which truly the ROI - I was not measuring at all, but I think it did just build a really strong community around the brand and got us to the right founding customer base. So I would say that's something that people rarely consider, because it's crazy to not do paid ads for a full year basically.
00:14:48 Becca: I mean a year and a half, we started doing some testing. But I would say that's not common and I think if you don't have pressure from investors to grow at a certain pace and you can take your time, I think it's really nice to grow the business organically for a period.
00:15:04 Alex: Yeah, yeah. What were some of those 50 activations with the female artists?
00:15:08 Becca: Oh my gosh, there are so many. We did a few. We did a lot of ceramic stuff. So we did a beautiful sardine ceramic trip. We did ceramic mugs and cups and plates. We did some beautiful beaded barrettes. We did some gorgeous upcycled jewelry that had fishing sort of, like bait used as well. We did rugs. We did wall hangings. We did so many prints. I mean it was crazy and to be quite honest.
00:15:42 Alex: You know, and I mentioned this before I just love your branding. I think it's so creative and it's like, the gut check or the flash judgment of like, "Do I like this," or "Do I not like this?" And I look at your website and I look at your packaging and I just, I like it immediately.
00:15:57 Alex: I want to hear about this piece of the business, one of the things about Kiki Milk too. We get this a lot. We created such an immersive world and beautiful colors. And I think the design is clearly biased for my product, the Kiki Milk, that it looks so beautiful. But it's so important. Packaging is so important. Walk me through the branding, how this all happened. And yeah, I just love to just dive into the branding a little bit.
00:16:20 Becca: Yeah, I mean, your world is so much fun and like that's--
00:15:57 Alex: Thank you.
00:16:25 Becca: Yeah, it's just so engaging and I talk about that all the time. It's like what we're doing in marketing is just more world building and the more comprehensive a world you can build, the more people are going to engage with it deeply.
00:16:38 Becca: So, yeah. I mean, my partner in creative crime is a guy named Danny Miller, Danbo Miller, and he's an illustrator. He used to be based in LA. He sadly just moved to Portland, which is so sad.
00:16:50 Alex: Come back, Danny! Come back!
00:16:52 Becca: I'm like, "Danny, don't leave!" But it's like, I’m happy for him. But he was, yeah, an illustrator, freelance illustrator who had never done packaging before. And we built the creative direction of the brand together, kind of started it with, obviously, the name, and then I had several brands.
00:17:09 Becca: A very small selection of inspirational brands to us. It was Topo Chico, Cafe Bustelo, McKellar, but just like really bold, clean graphics, really evocative, like character driven. And from now we just sort of started building out the brand together, created the logo, created the Fishwife herself. And then over the past three years, we've just evolved it into literally thousands of different iterations.
00:17:39 Alex: Wow.
00:17:40 Becca: Whether it's through stuff that Danny has created or those artist collaborations. Most of them take on the brand, so we've gotten to see the brand in hundreds of different forms, which is very, very cool.
00:17:53 Alex: Yeah, Does the logo have? Does she have a name?
00:17:57 Becca: She's just a Fishwife. No name. The customer said she referred to her as the sexy Jewish mermaid.
00:18:05 Alex: Hahaha. That's hilarious.
00:18:09 Becca: I'm like, "We're all seeing it in our own way."
00:18:11 Alex: Yeah, yeah. Art is in the eyes of the beholder.
00:18:15 Becca: Yeah, so funny.
00:18:16 Alex: What is she smoking?
00:18:17 Becca: She's smoking a pipe. I don't think it gets enough attention because I just think it's so funny. But because we started with smoked fish, we thought that that was a cute tie-in for the Fishwife to be smoking a pipe and just have that smokiness be a part of the brand.
00:18:31 Becca: But it's just reverent and silly and I think it just – it's a little bit of speaks to how we think about femininity here at Fishwife or feminism, which is just I don't know, it's just kind of a raucous.
00:18:46 Alex: Yep, totally, totally. And that going back to the dual meeting of Fishwife too, that kind of brash and anarchist type of yeah, perfect.
00:18:57 Alex: So for the folks who want to go into food and beverage and want to perform in retail, what are some tips and tricks you have for folks out there to do well in retail, and are you doing well in retail?
00:19:10 Becca: Yeah, great question. And actually, I met with Brian, the founder of Trü Frü, yesterday, which is obviously one of the most notable recent success stories in, I mean in CPG generally, but in retail specifically.
00:19:24 Becca: And yeah, I had a lot of interesting conversations about this yesterday with him and I also was talking to Jing from Fly By Jing. We were doing some brainstorming, so fresh on the brain.
00:19:33 Becca: I think what we're doing is building. I mean, we're building everything in-house. I think some brands really try to build stuff in-house first and that's their first instinct, and others really look to bring in agencies and sort of third parties.
00:19:47 Becca: And I think our instinct as a brand has always been to build whatever we can in-house. So, that's the approach we've taken with building. For example, our brand investor team and our field marketing program. So I would say yes, we are doing well in retail. We are hitting our velocity targets that we discussed with our buyers.
00:20:04 Becca: I think our next step and this is something that I took away from my conversation with Brian is they aimed to 3x the velocity targets that they were hearing from their buyer or broker. And I think that's where you want to be realistic. Are canned fish going to turn 10 units per serve or SKU per week? No, that would be insane.
00:20:24 Alex: Right.
00:20:25 Becca: But can we just continue to set higher KPIs than we're getting from our buyers? Yes, why not? So I think this year the sort of KPI we set was like, "Okay, this is the range we're hearing from our buyer, let's set the KPI at the highest number in the range and hit that." And we've done that.
00:20:43 Becca: But I think next year, it's at the end of the day, that is the job is to move as many units as you possibly can. So we should all be pushing beyond what we think we can accomplish. And how do we do that? I think it's a combination of a robust field marketing program and finding what makes the most sense for your brand. So for us, that's meant doing about 30 demos per month in Whole Foods across America.
00:21:10 Becca: We spent this year getting just all the data about how our demos are performing, about how much they ultimately cost us. Are they profitable? Are they money losing? Are they breakeven? And what we're going to do is just take all that data at the end of this year and then think about okay, how do we really want to maximize our demo program or field marketing program for next year?
00:21:10 Becca: Do we want to just go to the highest volume like Whole Foods, where we know we can make these profitable? Then do we want to partner with a collaborative brand, a cracker, a hot sauce, et cetera. And that is how we can scale the demo program profitably.
00:21:45 Becca: Because that's obviously, that's the biggest question. It's just, how do we scale this without spending a crap ton of money on promo because we're sort of, it’s finite for all of us. So I think the way that we look at it is a true omnichannel marketing strategy, where we're using the hundreds of thousands of customers and followers and subscribers that we built up online.
00:22:09 Becca: How do you most effectively drive them into retail? How do we make sure that when they get there, they're seeing the product properly merchandised? Hopefully seeing one of our BAs actually demoing the program in store. How do we make those demos really engaging?
00:22:22 Becca: And then, yeah, and how do we make sure that we're not expanding too quickly into retail and just trying to make every store as productive as humanly possible. That's definitely how we think about it. It's like, okay, can you make these 500 doors as productive as 2,000 doors would be?
00:22:37 Alex: Yeah, is that what you're in? Are you in 500 right now?
00:22:39 Becca: We're in 1,500 doors nationwide.
00:22:42 Alex: Nice.
00:22:43 Becca: And next year, I think right now we have confirmed probably about 2,500 over the course of the year that are, like locked now, so probably more will come. But yeah, we're focused on, obviously, velocity, which seems so obvious.
00:22:58 Becca: But somehow I feel like so many entrepreneurs just go straight towards distribution first, instead of just honing in on turns and just think that's such a huge mistake because every door you open is so expensive.
00:23:11 Alex: Right.
00:23:12 Becca: So you just really have to be disciplined when it comes to thinking about your distribution strategy.
00:23:17 Alex: That's great, that's great. I want to underline something I said a few moments ago about if you can grow organically and not feel the pressure of investors. I want to ask you about that, about your cap table, about how you've approached fundraising. What are some lessons learned? What would you do differently next time, or what are you really glad you did this time? So, please, what are some thoughts on that?
00:23:41 Becca: Yeah, it's just ridiculous, I think, unfortunately the steepest learning curve and also the thing that can kill or make or kill a business. So it's very tough, like I definitely have invested countless hours of conversations with advisors while also just really following my gut.
00:24:04 Becca: I would say I took a very, very modest approach to fundraising for the first two years of the business. We raised a small “friends and family” round to get the business off the ground for the first year and was lucky to get some really amazing operators on my cap table that have become some of my close advisors and now have spent multiple years paying attention to the business and watching it so they can give me really informed opinions.
00:24:28 Becca: So I would say the first piece of advice is just like yes, work hard to get really smart people on your cap table. It's really hard, it's super time consuming, but it's worth it. Because it's no coincidence that the people I now lean on the most are investors, because I feel like I can.
00:24:45 Becca: You want to get really high caliber people and when they have a vested interest, I think you feel much more comfortable asking them for their very, very precious time. And they also, if they came on an early round and even if they only invested $25K, that's a sizable amount of ownership long term.
00:25:04 Becca: So I would say, like, prioritize getting brilliant people on your cap table. And yeah, I mean we didn't take any, what could be perceived as real venture capital or institutional capital for the first two, basically first three years of the business.
00:25:18 Becca: So I raised another smallish round in the second year of the business, which I would say was like the bare minimum we could have raised to grow as much as we did. And I definitely had a lot of people tell me to raise more. And ultimately, I'm glad that I raised as little as I did, just because when you are raising early on, your cap is going to be low and you're going to dilute yourself a lot.
00:25:43 Becca: So I think that's one piece of advice that I think Jing gives to a lot of founders is, she really was able to use a kickstarter, a kickstarter in particular, to get her business to a place where she could raise at a pretty nice valuation.
00:25:57 Becca: So she got herself a lot less than, like, say, I did because I raised, even though it wasn't that much when you're raising at a $3 million valuation. You're dying. You're going to be in some serious dilution. No regrets, but that’s something to think about.
00:26:14 Becca: And then we just raised a -- our most substantial fundraising round, and I think it was hard for anyone who is listening to this, who is raising during this period. Everyone is struggling so much, even the strongest founders that I know.
00:26:31 Becca: So just for people to feel okay about how hard it is, you're not alone. But I ended up raising more than I expected, which I think was really good, because when you're going into retail, having a little bit of cushion is a good idea.
00:26:45 Becca: I think I've always set extremely, pretty modest valuations, which I think we'll live to see if I am so happy that I did that or if I'm like, "Goddamn it, Becca, you really could have raised a higher valuation." It's like my biggest fear is just setting a crazy valuation and that really screwed up the business. So...
00:27:05 Alex: These are good. You want to build long term relationships and there may be another few ideas of yours that, yeah, winning is good for – I think your approach is great.
00:27:17 Alex: What's the big vision for Fishwife? If we're talking five or seven years from now, 10 years from now, and it sounds like your business plan is playing out pretty close to what you drafted a few years ago, where is this thing going?
00:27:31 Becca: Yeah, it did. Totally is. I think it's a very exciting future. We have a big, big vision. We are planning to stay quite disciplined in terms of the SKU assortments.
00:27:43 Becca: So right now we are completely focused on tinned fish, but we do have some, a couple of very focused line extensions that will be key to getting us into other parts of the grocery store and getting us into just, yeah, like opening doors that we really don't make sense for us to go into with our tinned fish products.
00:28:04 Becca: So, obviously, very much thinking of our product innovation pipeline hand in hand with our channel strategy. So right now we have products that can really see us through a natural grocery on a national scale, potentially on a global scale. But there are some doors that we want to get into that we think a different form factor will be really key to allow us to do that.
00:28:30 Becca: But that's kind of like, we have three key buckets of our product innovation over the next three years that just allow us to show up in more places and planning on basically staying completely disciplined to those line extensions. So, yeah, we want to help people eat really clean great food on a daily basis.
00:28:51 Alex: Yeah, awesome. This was founded in '20?
00:28:55 Becca: Yeah.
00:28:57 Alex: So now we're approaching four years in a couple of months. Over these four years, what are one or two things that have really surprised you?
00:29:04 Becca: Oh my gosh, I think how much one person can do. And when I say one person, I mean every single person on my team. We've kept the team super lean.
00:29:14 Alex: How big is it?
00:29:15 Becca: Right now we have four full time employees and I think just like a single person can do so much.
00:29:21 Alex: Yeah.
00:29:23 Becca: And I think founders are always like, "It's just me, isn't that crazy?" And I think we should just normalize to kind of, should just be you for the first year. I mean that's a hot take, and it really depends on the business.
00:29:36 Becca: But as the founder and the CEO, you should have your hands so dirty for so long. I think maybe the tech culture or something influenced just founder culture to make people feel like maybe they should be removed or above the business. And I think a lot of founders are having the reckoning that your hands should always be dirty.
00:29:56 Alex: I love that. I love that. Keep your hands dirty for as long as you can.
00:30:00 Becca: Keep your hands dirty for as long as possible.
00:30:03 Alex: Awesome! Well, I'm going to migrate us into our closing speed round section.
00:30:09 Becca: Wow!
00:30:10 Alex: Though I could talk to you honestly for hours about all this stuff. And I don't even feel like we've scratched the surface of so much, but this is the container that we're working with today. So we'll wrap it up.
00:30:20 Alex: Rebecca, I've really enjoyed hearing your story and witnessing your success and being a part of this community with you. I think what you're doing is super cool and I'm glad that Scott and Jenny and Joy connected us.
00:30:32 Becca: Same. I'm so grateful and it was so, so fun to talk to you.
00:30:36 Alex: Yeah, awesome, okay. So four questions, speed round. Here we go. What is a book or podcast that you're currently enjoying or maybe recently have enjoyed?
00:30:47 Becca: I mean, I always listen to Taste Radio. The quality of the content is so high and I learned so much tactical information from that podcast.
00:30:55 Alex: Awesome! Taste Radio. Okay, is that on Apple Podcast?
00:30:58 Becca: Yeah. Yes. I'm sure it is. I listen to on Spotify.
00:31:01 Alex: Spotify. Cool.
00:30:58 Becca: Taste Radio. That's Ray Latif is the host. Saw him yesterday. Best guy ever.
00:31:07 Alex: Sweet. Shout out, Ray. Okay, awesome. If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would it be?
00:31:14 Becca: I've been watching a lot of Wild West content recently, so I'm going to say Wyoming, Jackson Hole because I could never personally afford to live there and really want to.
00:31:24 Alex: Oh my gosh. I have some friends in Jackson Hole, so we'll keep in touch about that.
00:31:27 Becca: Oh, yes, please.
00:31:29 Alex: What is your favorite productivity hack?
00:31:33 Becca: I mean, Superhuman is amazing. If you're not using Superhuman like you got to.
00:31:36 Alex: I'm not using it.
00:31:38 Becca: Oh my gosh. Okay, Alex, I'll send you an invite.
00:31:39 Alex: Really?
00:31:40 Becca: It's just like an email, kind of like, Synthesize.
00:31:42 Alex: And it's way better than Gmail?
00:31:44 Becca: Your life will be.
00:31:44 Alex: Come on.
00:31:46 Becca: It will change your life.
00:31:48 Alex: Okay. All right. Good. I'm going to put that on my pocket. Sweet. And where can listeners find you?
00:31:53 Becca: LinkedIn's probably a good place. Just Becca Millstein, and then Fishwife. Instagram is just Fishwife or TikTok. We're @fishwife on all levels.
00:32:01 Alex: @fishwife. Yeah. Amazing. I am also on LinkedIn at Alex Abelin. Website: kikimilk.com, or plantbaby.co, @kikimilkco, and @alexabelin for myself.
00:32:17 Alex: Becca, this has been so much fun on a little Friday morning afternoon here for us. I hope the Everywhere community enjoyed our conversation and just again, grateful to Everywhere for hosting and putting this all together. So thanks everyone for listening and look forward to staying in touch with you, Becca. Thank you.
00:32:34 Becca: Yes, thank you so much for chatting, Alex. So much fun.
00:32:39 Scott Hartley: Thanks for joining us and hope you enjoyed today's episode. For those of you listening, you might also be interested to learn about everywhere, we’re a first check preseed fund that does exactly that. We invest everywhere. We're a community of 500 founders and operators and we've invested in over 250 companies around the globe. Find us at our website, everywhere.vc on LinkedIn and through our regular founder spotlights on Substack. Be sure to subscribe and we'll catch you on the next episode.
Read more from Alex Abelin in Founders Everywhere.
Read more from Becca Millstein in Founders Everywhere.