April 28, 2019

Test shipments from our humble beginnings…

Sophie Hunter-James
Director – SFS Trace

…It was early in Q1 2019, We had been developing our platform and processes for months on end and we were finally ready…it was the moment of truth, time to test a live order!

When building a two-sided marketplace you need to have parties on either side of a transaction, this comes with plenty of challenges which we continue to overcome! We needed to recruit and help to onboard sellers in order to run as many test shipments as possible — so how does a tech startup in Dubai go about that? Well, we did what any challenge orientated team would do, we sent one of our co-founders, Ramie Murray (Also known as Mr. Oysters in the region due to his successful Dibba Bay Oyster Farm) to Norway to spread the word and knock on doors. Now that’s a story for another time but he came back with a good number of interested sellers including Norway Royal Salmon, one of the world’s largest producers of Salmon. We were psyched and it was showtime.

For the first time in Seafood Souq history our platform was being used, live! As admin I was eagerly watching my notification feed waiting for the order to come in, and it did (while I was in the middle of a meeting). I stepped out of the meeting to the sight of 4 members of our team gathered in front of my screen clicking through the actions to approve the order, everyone had been too excited to wait for me. Finally, we had opened up our revenue streams, all we had to do next was to nail fulfillment, which we were more than prepared to do.

The shipment arrived at 1am on Sunday morning and we had our van ready to bring in our shipment of fresh Norwegian Salmon. The clearance process was smooth sailing (thanks to our carefully designed and documented processes). The salmon was delivered and inspected by the buyer who was really impressed with its freshness (It’s not every day that a chef in Dubai is able to get hold of international seafood produce that was swimming in the water the day before). It was also time to celebrate and taste the samples we ordered for the team!

I had never filleted fish before so I had my Philipina mother help me navigate the salmon preparation. I took my Salmon HOG (Head On and Gutted) to my parents’ house and within 15 minutes the fish was filleted, deboned, and portioned. She said it reminded her of the fresh fish they’d gotten straight out of the water back home. I pan seared the fish in just some olive oil and salt and my family and I were blown away by the flavor. I’d never tasted a salmon so fresh. Another pat on the back for us was when our Head of Product took his salmon to a fish counter at a supermarket chain and the exact words of the gentleman who filleted it were

“I will not accept any payment for my service, it was so easy and fresh, I’m just happy to fillet it”

— What lovely feedback that was to hear.

The next morning at the office we all came to work with a renewed passion for what we do, we had delivered the freshest salmon in Dubai at a competitive price, with full supply chain traceability and cold chain monitoring.

Sophie Hunter-James
Director – SFS Trace

© Seafood Souq, 2024. All rights reserved.