We’re targeting young people as well as families, providing them with fast and healthy food
Eng Farah al Kindi
Founder & CEO, Sea Delight
What was the inspiration behind your business idea?
I saw an opportunity to take traditional Omani fish products and give them an innovative twist. We worked on improving recipes, testing products, streamlining production and supply chains, upgrading our branding, labelling and marketing. We wanted to produce quality fish products that could compete here at home as well as overseas.
What defines Sea Delight’s way of doing business?
We produce a number of fish products, ranging from traditional Omani Malleh and gourmet fish burgers to marinated cuttlefish. These items are special, for the fact that they’re created with traditional ingredients that set them apart from any others in the market. We’re offering unique Oman-made fish products.
Describe Sea Delight’s typical customer
We’re targeting young people as well as families, providing them with fast and healthy food. But from a bigger perspective, given population growth, climate crisis and concerns over sustainability people are changing their lifestyles, focusing on what they eat and where their food comes from. This shift in consumer mindset has led to an increased demand for fish. You’ve got to remember, fish is the primary source of protein for one billion people and a source of about 20 per cent of the proteins consumed by another three billion people.
What were your biggest challenges when establishing your business?
We’ve faced any number of challenges, as all start-ups do. Perhaps worth mentioning were the difficulties we faced getting our products onto supermarket shelves and attracting young local talent to work in the fisheries sector. With the support of many great people we’ve overcome these challenges. As we build our business, we’re creating job opportunities for others, that’s an achievement.
What drives you to be so enterprising?
Our approach to business is all about experimenting, we run tests; we look at the results, and use that data to inform our decision making. We also understand the need for flexibility, talking to our customer base and responding to their needs. To be a truly innovative entrepreneur you’ve got to keep dreaming, experimenting and seeking out new ideas, that’s what we do each and everyday.
Is there one person in your industry that inspires you the most?
A whole host of people have inspired me along the way, Engineer Younis Zinati, an expert in fisheries processing has been a great help, guiding us on any number of business issues. His insight and advice has been invaluable. The women I work with are hugely inspirational, they’re such a motivation for me.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Everything is easier in hindsight. But if I had to do things over, I’d I spend more time working on our market strategy and the way in which we introduce new products, taking into consideration how long it takes to convert a consumer and build brand loyalty. One big thing I’ve learned is before we go chasing new customers, it’s important we keep existing clients happy.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Top of my list would probably include: learn to manage cash flow; establish ambitious but reachable financial goals; limit your fixed expenses in the beginning; time is money, don’t waste it; focus on customer care; have a strong digital presence, particularly on social media; network; and communicate, communicate, communicate.