Fishwife makes tinned seafood look cool

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Canned sardines and tuna are not considered to be particularly cool. This changed with Fishwife, a company that sells tinned fish that is healthy, tasty, sustainable, and quirkily packaged. Caroline Goldfarb and Becca Millstein came across the idea to start a canned fish and seafood company during the pandemic.

The beginning – During the pandemic, both Goldfarb and Millstein were preparing their food at home. Tinned fish became an essential component for many of their meals. As youngsters, both the women had traveled to the Iberian peninsula, where they had fallen in love with tinned fish, particularly sardines. They had been to Grenada and Lisbon where they had come across rows and rows of tinned fish packaged fancifully. In May 2020, a thought struck them. They realized that there was a lack of well-branded, sustainable, and affordable tinned fish in the American market. That is then when they started to explore the possibility of starting their own tinned fish company in America. They drew on their experience with tinned fish during their travels and came up with a concept that seemed to fit the modern American lifestyle: sustainable, tasty, and healthy tinned fish.

Brand name – The name Fishwife dates back to the 17th century. The term originally referred to the daughters and wives of fishermen, who would sell their father’s and their husband’s wares at markets. These women were brash, loud, and sassy. The name is playful, yet refers to powerful women.

Packaging – With photo-sharing being important on social media platforms, packaging was given a lot of importance. The founders were inspired by the colorful and classic style of the European conservatism and wanted to introduce design elements that make the packaging appealing to people of all backgrounds and ages. The logo was created by LA-based graphic designer, Danbo. The colors used are luscious and bold.

The sustainable angle – The co-founders wanted to focus on a sustainable supply chain while building the company. The trout they use is farm-raised and sourced from Idaho. Sustainable aquaculture practices are used, which lessens the impact of seafood consumption on the population of wild fish. No hormones or antibiotics are used to raise the fish. The tuna is supplied by fisherfolk in the North Pacific. Sardines come from Galicia, on the northwest coast of Spain. The company buys batches of seasonal tinned fish as well.

The narrative – With Fishwife, the co-founders did not only want to offer delicious flavors of fish from faraway seas, but also to promote the role oceans play in our lives. The brand has collaborated with writers and poets like Natasha Rao, Sophie Haigney, and Ogemdi Ude. The writers write fish and sea-related snippets for the brand’s Instagram.

Repackaging a traditional product and making it accessible and fun brought about Fishwife. The brand aims to introduce tinned fish to a wide audience through its direct-to-consumer model.

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