Standard Fish is a family business that has been in operation since 1999. For over two decades, the Standard Fish has imported and exported seafood from all over the globe into the Southern California area. In early 2019, Owner and CEO Erik Rosini decided to add a new dimension to the company. The entrepreneur wanted to test the on-demand food marketplace and deliver fresh seafood to customers around the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
To accomplish the task, Rosini sought the help of his brother-in-law Daniel Ragsdale, keeping the business in the family. The duo set out to create an on-demand arm of the company to deliver the freshest seafood possible to customers.
After months of building the concept and the brand, Standard Fish launched its on-demand delivery service in October and customers have been raving about the products available from the seafood company.
Both Erik Rosini and Daniel Ragsdale sat down to talk about Standard Fish’s move into on-demand seafood deliveries and being entrepreneurs.
Erik, what led to Standard Fish’s move from solely importing/exporting seafood to an on-demand home delivery seafood company?
I believe in business you always have to look for new ways to grow and expand your business. We saw a big shift in the way people get everything these days with online shopping. When we looked around at the marketplace, we noticed there were not really many options for seafood home delivery. The places that did offer seafood delivery only had a few options on products; but they were not solely seafood markets. We now have our online seafood market with more options and a variety of products online today.
You have put over 20 years into the business. As an entrepreneur, what led you to work in the fishing industry and what was your experience like breaking into it?
It’s a family business started by my father. I began at the bottom of the food chain packing orders, icing fish, checking quality, and making deliveries and picking up as well as offloading fish. So, breaking into the business wasn’t very difficult, it was just taking the correct path and understanding all aspects of the business to ensure better decisions were made as I moved up.
Rosini faced several obstacles to launching an on-demand service. The biggest issues involved capture customers and building a clientbase that would come back time and again. With a sought-after product and excellent customer service, Standard Fish has seen high client retention.
With an evolving industry such as seafood and commercial fishing, what are some of the obstacles you face providing customers with top-notch products and services?
Capture and consistent production. In the wholesale portion of the business, you must maintain your market share to keep the confidence of the customers that they can rely on you. That’s isn’t very easy since we handle mainly fresh and all wild products.
If you could go back in time 20 years to the point when Standard Fish was just opening, what advice would you give yourself about developing the company?
Move slowly and be sure you analyze every step. Start off on the right foot with the customer, because if you have no customers you have no business. Make sure you set yourself up to succeed and not fail, meaning put yourself in the correct position at all times and don’t get behind the eight ball.
Rosini and Ragsdale started the company with the aim of growing it over time. The initial idea was to focus on deliveries not too far from the Standard Fish headquarters and branch out gradually. That plan has worked and 2020 should see Standard Fish expand its deliveries.
In terms of the deliveries Standard Fish makes, its coverage is mostly from Los Angeles to the south. Is that mostly due to the difficulty of keeping the fish fresh? Is there a chance of expansion in the future?
We started off in the LA, Orange County areas at the beginning to test the market. Make sure we captured this marketplace first, but also kept it in a small area to grow at a steady pace. We did not want to start off running all around Southern California. Keeping the product fresh is easy with our refrigerated trucks and packing. As we move forward and expand into more areas we will look to ship products overnight instead of delivering the products ourselves.
What is the future of the company and are there any new products customers can prepare for in 2020 and beyond?
We will look at expanding our delivery area. Continue to add new seafood products that our customers want and eventually move into delivering our seafood products across the United States. We aim to bring high-quality seafood to the doorsteps of all of America.
Ragsdale joined Standard Fish to help create the online and on-demand wing. He was sought out by Rosini due to his knowledge of building businesses. It also helped that the two are brothers-in-law, which keeps the Standard Fish company a family-run endeavour.
Daniel, Standard Fish operates a unique home service providing fresh seafood to clients. How did this service start and what was the inspiration behind it?
About two years ago, my brother-in-law Erik [Rosini] called me and said he was thinking about starting a local seafood home delivery side to Standard Fish and wanted to know if I was interested in working with him to help launch it. In March 2019, he brought me on to start working on it. We did not know how many moving parts and all that it would take just to get started. But we officially made it happen in October.
Standard Fish began in 1999 importing and exporting fish from all over the world into the Los Angeles area. How easy was it to go from importing/exporting to being a delivery on demand company? What were some of the challenges the company faced early on?
There were a lot of challenges early on. Starting off with the website. It took us multiple times to find the right company that could build a site specifically for online seafood delivery. Then making sure we had correct packing for the products to keep the seafood products temperature right, that all the systems were in place to start delivering. But in the end, we figured it out and now have what we believe the easiest and most customer-friendly online seafood market.
Smartphones, the Internet, and people’s busy lives have made on-demand delivery services a major part of life as we head into the next decade. Standard Fish offers a unique service that few other, if any, on-demand brands can deliver. Thanks to Standard Fish’s two-plus decades in the seafood business, they can provide items no other company can offer right to customers’ doors.
There are a lot of home delivery services these days. What sets Standard Fish apart from the others in the crowded world of on-demand food delivery?
What sets us apart from the other on-demand food delivery services is our product, which is fresh seafood. We really looked into what else was out there with seafood home delivery and there really was not anything. There just was not a great selection of seafood products. Other services near us either had a very small delivery area or lacked a wide variety of products. As of now, we offer more seafood options to purchase from our online store than anyone else and we will continue to add to our market for our customers.
Where does Standard Fish source its seafood from? Is it caught by local fishermen in the California area or shipped in from elsewhere?
We get our seafood from all over the world. To have the wide variety of products we offer, you have to get products from all over the globe.
How easy is it to market fresh seafood and what is the typical demographic that shops with Standard Fish?
Just like everything, it takes time to build. People are starting to recognize us as the seafood home delivery company. We have found that people who just love seafood are coming to us. They love the fact that they can find everything they need on our site and if we do not carry it, we will find it for them. We have doubled in sales and customers every month since we started. With over 90% of our customers ordering again.
Standard Fish doesn’t just deliver to homes and individual customers. Restaurants in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas work with Standard Fish to get the best and freshest items available.
While the company does home deliveries, can restaurants also order larger quantities of seafood to be delivered in the Los Angeles area?
We currently provide seafood for restaurants and are always open to providing our services to whoever is looking for great seafood.
In terms of services and products, what can customers and clients expect in the future?
Customers can expect us to put them first. Our goal is to make ordering and receiving seafood easy and simple. Always providing the highest quality products and continue to find ways to make shopping with us a great experience.
Standard Fish has changed the way on-demand food works in Southern California by providing fresh seafood to customers. It is a service no one else in the region can match nor can they provide the same wide selection of seafood.
Rosini and Ragsdale took a chance to provide a new on-demand service and it has paid off already. The two entrepreneurs took a leap of faith to give seafood lovers the chance to purchase a unique product delivered from the sea straight to their doors.
With expansion on the horizon, Standard Fish heads into its third decade of business. Remarkably, few people would have seen the way in which the marketplace would change from 1999 to 2019. Standard Fish’s ability to adapt and offer clients something new and exclusive has changed everything and made the brand even more diverse.
For more information on Erik Rosini, Daniel Ragsdale and Standard Fish, please visit https://standardfish.com/
Images by White Strobe Photographic