Fish Fixe Before Shark Tank
Fish Fixe was created by Emily and Melissa, both of whom wanted to spend more quality time with their families. As such, they would often share business ideas with each other. Long-time friends, the pair had met while attending college at Texas A&M, where they both played for the soccer team.
As it is, Melissa has always been an avid seafood lover, having been born and raised in South Louisiana. However, adding fresh seafood to the dinner routine has always proved to be challenging due to her work schedule.
Following the birth of her second child, she was determined to incorporate seafood back into their diet. With that, she would often ask her husband Chris to portion, vacuum seal, and freeze several pounds of fish; this allowed her to move them from the freezer to the fridge in the morning so that it would be ready to be cooked by the time she got home from work. What’s more, is that it would be ready to eat within 20 minutes. This allowed her to serve seafood twice a week, which is what’s recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
While Emily and her husband Vic also enjoyed seafood, they often reserved it for restaurant date nights. It wasn’t until Melissa gave Emily a cooler of individually packaged fresh fish, frozen at the peak of freshness, that they started incorporating it into their diets again.
And it eventually hit them while they were vacationing together in Mexico- that they could fulfill their dreams of owning their own business with seafood. Surely, they weren’t the only ones who had trouble incorporating seafood into their lives due to their busy schedules? Thus, Fish Fixe was born.
Launched in 2017, the business idea quickly proved to be a success as sales poured in. Despite making six figures in sales, however, their net profits were limited. Wanting to boost their margins, they decided to seek help from the sharks.
Fish Fixe on Shark Tank
Emily and Melissa walk into the tank with smiles on their faces. Once inside, they introduce themselves as two moms who are “making waves in the seafood industry.” Continuing with their speech, Emily tells the sharks that they’re looking for $200,000 in exchange for 15 percent of their company, Fish Fixe.
As the sharks look on, they jump right into their pitch by summarizing the benefits of seafood- that they’re “great for your brain, your heart, and your skin.” They also state that only two out of every ten Americans are meeting the dietary recommendation for seafood consumption. They explain that it’s because most people are not confident in buying it, handling it, or cooking it.
As the camera zooms in on their display, they explain what they do- that their company delivers perfectly portioned, premium seafood to doorsteps nationwide, “making seafood both simple and approachable.” They go on to explain that they source the best seafood from around the world, which they then individually portion so that it’s easier to work with. They also add that everything is frozen at the peak of freshness so that the quality is consistent.
But it doesn’t stop there, says Melissa. Continuing, she tells the sharks that it’s their after-delivery experience that sets them apart from other companies- that “all of their packagings is geared toward your success in the kitchen.”
Holding up one of the bags, she explains that their packaging comes with the thaw, prep, and simple cooking instructions on the back. Melissa also adds that they’re odor-absorbent so that you can use them to throw away the trash once you’re done preparing the fish.
With that, they close their pitch by asking who’s interested in helping America get their Fish Fixe.
Almost immediately, Robert asks if they can try to fish, to which the pair enthusiastically reply yes. The camera then zooms in on the seafood platter in front of the sharks- one that consists of wild-caught Gulf shrimp with a spicy cocktail sauce, which Lori seems to enjoy. They then introduce their Maryland-style crab cake with remoulade, blackened salmon, American red snapper, and Kevin O’Leary white wine sauce, the latter of which garners a laugh from Robert.
He then asks the pair how they got started with the company. Melissa explains that while they’re not chefs, she’s been in the seafood business her entire career. She goes on to explain that she and her husband had started a live lobster wholesale distribution facility in Houston, Texas and that they served both restaurants and retail.
Lori asks how the lobster business morphed into Fish Fixe. Emily tells her that they met on the soccer field at college and that after graduating, she worked for one of the largest wine and spirits wholesalers in the country. Asked what’s harder to sell, fish or liquor, she answers that it’s all about “the storytelling and connecting.”
Mark then asks if their products are subscription only or if they can be purchased directly from their website. Emily answers yes, and that they also have subscriptions for those who are looking for more convenient options and that they can be stopped or paused at any time.
Robert asks about the cost, to which they answer that they’re 100 percent direct-to-consumer through their website. They explain that their most popular box consists of 16 portions and that it’s available for $139 or $149, depending on the contents. They also wow the sharks with the reveal that they’ve done $821,000 in sales last year.
However, the sharks’ smiles soon fade as it’s revealed that they only made $20,000 in profit. Kevin then asks if they’re breaking even because their customer acquisition costs are high. They explain that their customer acquisition cost is between $30 and $40. Asked what they’re doing this year, they let them know that they’re at $494,000 to date and that they plan on breaking the $1 million mark with the hope of, “landing around $1.2 million.”
Nextdoor co-founder Nirav Tolia, the guest shark of the episode, goes on to ask about their manufacturing, delivery and total landed costs. Melissa explains that their average order value is $143, that their delivered cost is around $111.
Asked why it’s at $111, they explain that they were actually here in the tank because they have a shipping issue. Continuing, she states that they subsidize all of their packages to the east and west coast because when the world shut down due to the pandemic, people in densely populated areas were the ones who needed the product. She states that their customer mix grew from 75 percent local, one-day ships to 50 percent easy and west coast.
Melissa goes on to reveal that their shipping makes up 11 percent of their revenue. They admit that it’s high but believe that they can get it down to 5 percent. Asked what’s the plan, they let them know that they have a 3 PL that can strategically get them to every single zone in one to two days, which “fits perfectly in [their] model.”
However, Mark points out that they have a fundamental problem, that their primary costs are all variable, to which they agree. Stating that it can make the business “very tough”, he subsequently drops out.
Nirav then asks them how many of their existing customers are continuing to order more than two times. Emily replies that 55 percent of their customers to date have returned, which seems to impress Lori. She also reveals that 70 percent of their sales are from their subscription business.
Robert states that while he loves fish, he’s not experienced with shipping and logistics and for that reason, he’s out.
Right afterward, Robert states that their company fits into his “Chef Wonderful world”. He goes on to say that it’s successful because its customer acquisition costs are very competitive. With that, he lets them know that he’s willing to get behind Fish Fixe as a third partner and that he will offer them $200,000 for a 33.3 percent stake in the company.
Nirvav states that he lacks experience with the fish industry and for that reason, he’s also out.
Everyone’s attention then turns toward Lori, who states that they’re probably not here looking for a partner to help get them distribution centers. She also admits that they can probably get the funding that they need without giving up equity elsewhere, and for that reason, she’s out.
With that, Mr. Wonderful is the only shark left. He tells them that they must make a decision and that he’s not flexible with his offer.
Melissa tries her luck anyway and asks if he’s willing to go down to 25 percent but he rejects her counteroffer almost immediately. He is, however, willing to go down to 30 percent.
Melissa asks if he will help them fund POs so that they can get the distribution. Kevin replies that he’s not willing to commit to anything until he actually sees their income and balance sheet statement.
Robert asks them if they’re willing to give up 30 percent of the business. Mark backs up Kevin by stating that they’re “floundering financially” that they could use his help and that he will help them with a lot of their current issues.
Melissa once again asks if Kevin is willing to go down to 25 percent but he shakes his head.
Lori then surprises everyone by offering them $200,000 for 25 percent.
Melissa and Emily share a quick hug before immediately accepting her deal. Lori also walks up to give them a group hug.
As the rest of the sharks (minus Kevin) congratulate them on their new deal, they walk out of the tank.
Fish Fixe Now In 2024 – The After Shark Tank Update
The deal with Lori closed successfully. Right after the show aired, she tweeted that “they’re moving at lightning speed and that they’ve already fixed all of the shipping hurdles.” She also added that their packaging is now 100 percent recyclable, in addition to images of her doing a Facetime call with the entrepreneurs on show night.
The company also issued a press release stating that they would be using the funds from the offer to “decentralize distribution” so that they can serve customers on the west and east coasts more efficiently.
Despite the upgrades that they received in terms of distribution, however, they faced shipping delays in late 2021. There was a good reason for this, however. The “Shark Tank Effect” had caused their sales to explode, not to mention that it was also the holidays.
By March 2021, they had resolved their shipping issues and their sales had gone up to 400 percent. Melissa and Emily also shared the recipe for the sauce- which featured ketchup, minced garlic, horseradish, lemon juice, creole mustard, and black pepper- that was featured in the episode.
Fast forward to September 2022 and they’re on track to do $4 million in sales, which is a huge increase compared to what they were doing prior to Shark Tank. In fact, the business was so successful that it received an update segment, which was included in season 14.
In the clip, Emily and Melissa revealed that Lori had stepped in and advised them to be transparent with their customers about the shipping issue. She also found them a new company that helped resolve their shipping problems.
As of 2024, Fish Fixe is still in business. If anything, they’ve grown even more since their last update. Nowadays, they offer four different types of boxes:
The Fish Fixe Box: Includes salmon, black drum, shrimp, trout, cobia, mahi mahi, and Jalapeno crab cakes. Selections rotate seasonally. Available for $149.
Fixe Your Own Box: Customers can choose between wild-caught gulf shrimp, Norwegian salmon, rainbow trout, wild-caught gulf snapper, scallops, black drum, salmon cakes, crab cakes, and more. Available for $159.
Fixe Your Own Box (Pack + a Half): Consists of 24 servings. Customers can choose between the various seafood products that are available. Available for $219.
Fish Fixe Half Pack: Consists of cobia, shrimp, salmon, jalapeno crab cakes, and a Fish Fixe spice blend. Available for $119.
For those who are interested, you can check out Fish Fixe’s website at fishfixe.com. They are currently offering 10% off all orders + free shipping with the code GOODSTART.