On today’s episode of Tent Talk, we talk with Sena Wheeler about Sena Sea, a successful fresh fish operation landing farmers’ market profits at Seattle area and Eastern Washington farmers’ markets. Sena knew that selling direct to consumers would change the financial returns her family’s multigenerational fishing operation could generate. Her original plan was to sell fish online. But without a way to connect, customers weren’t taking the bait.
Direct marketing means producers land bigger net profits
We’ve heard many stories from farmers about growing frustrated with minimal profits from selling to distributors and having to maintain off-farm jobs to keeps farming. Forrest Pritchard shared that story in his book Gaining Ground, and at the 2018 InTents Conference. Sena and her family had the same issues. Their catch generated income but not enough that Sena and other family members could give up their day jobs. While she enjoyed using her degree in Food Science to establish a career research and development, Sena wanted to be able to concentrate on her children and the family business.
Building market relationships reels in more sales
Sena’s plan to sell fish direct to consumers took a big turn when she discovered direct sales at farmers’ markets. The relationships she and her team develop at local markets also net online sales on non-market days. Market shoppers’ input fuels ideas for new products. Sena shares the importance of developing a reliable, knowledgeable team and finding markets that are the best fit.
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