More than a dozen Santa Barbara start-ups gathered at The Sandbox earlier this fall to competitively pitch their business acumen for a chance to go global. Coming out on top, Salty Girl Seafood won an invite — with paid travel and lodging — to Washington, D.C., in January 2018 for the Challenge Cup, a contest for promising start-ups to share their business visions on a global stage and make connections.
“Having that opportunity [at The Sandbox] was huge,” said Gina Auriemma, who heads up marketing for Salty Girl Seafood. “And to come away with a win was a huge honor, particularly because we’re in the midst of a round of financing and looking to take Salty Girl Seafood coast to coast early next year.”
The company originally launched in 2014 to connect restaurants and chefs to sustainable seafood directly from commercial fishers. But that business model was shuttered as the company transitioned to supplying directly to grocery stores, where sales were more robust. To help with that transition, Auriemma and cofounder Norah Eddy brought aboard Vanessa Ting, formerly a retail buyer for Target. “And today we sell healthy, family-friendly seafood products in the frozen section of grocery stores up and down the West Coast,” Auriemma said “Everything we sell is made with sustainable seafood traceable back to where and how it was caught, [listed] right on the package.”