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Meet the Founders

Meet the Founder: Alex Bergquist of Seed to Surf

Alex Bergquist of Seed to Surf

Seed to Surf is an innovative company putting a plant-based twist on tinned fish. Created by Alex Bergquist and her colleagues, Seed to Surf showcases the diversity of vegetables while offering a seafood-inspired snack that is made with clean ingredients like celery root and enoki mushrooms. 

In addition to being an environmentally friendly product, Seed to Surf is entirely soy-free, gluten-free, and additive-free. From enoki mushroom “snow crab” to celery root “whitefish,” these tasty tins make for a perfect plant-based appetizer to serve alongside crackers and your favorite condiments.

Recently, we caught up with founder Alex Bergquist to learn more about her mission and hear her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.

seed served at table

1. Why did you start Seed to Surf?

Seed to Surf was a passion project turned functioning business, founded by myself and two other individuals. We’re made up of aspiring marine biologists, long-time vegans, and passionate conservationists who wholeheartedly believe in our brand concept, its values, and unlimited potential. Concerns about overfishing our oceans and promoting sustainability were paramount during the creation of our brand, and having been vegan for nearly 10 years, I was personally motivated to establish a sustainable and compassionate alternative to the popular tinned fish options that people knew and loved. With this in mind, my co-founders and I identified a gap in the market for plant-based seafood offerings that boast a clean and simple ingredient list, are unprocessed, and most importantly, delicious. Enter Seed to Surf.

2. What obstacles did you face along the way?

We’ve encountered a handful of obstacles on our journey so far. As a Canadian company, we’ve embarked on a self-taught crash course in international shipping and customs. We’ve delved into the technical processes of producing and canning vegetables to meet all required health and safety standards. Additionally, we’ve familiarized ourselves with the requirements for partnering with and selling at small and major retailers across Canada, the United States, and abroad! Through all of this, we've learned how to wear many hats and have become much more versatile in the process. It’s been an awesome experience.

tinned fish by seed served on sushi platter

3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Be genuine and authentic in everything you do! Being able to speak about your brand, products, and cause with authenticity and passion will set you apart. Create processes that streamline your day-to-day operations, making them more efficient and effective for yourself and your team. Finally, celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small. Take time to reflect on where you started, where you are now, and where you're headed. You’ll impress yourself — I promise!

4. What’s on the horizon for Seed to Surf?

There’s some particularly exciting stuff on the horizon for Seed to Surf right now. We’re focused on innovation, aiming to expand not only our tinned fish line but also to explore other forms of plant-based innovation (hint: think chowders and bisques, but vegan). Additionally, we're expanding our team and retail base rapidly, with growth in bodegas, restaurants, and grocery stores across Canada and the United States. Furthermore, we've secured a major national retailer across the US, with a launch planned for this summer!

seed products and olives in a clamshell

5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?

This period has been particularly challenging lately! In addition to Seed to Surf, both my other co-founders and I have full-time jobs. To add to the complexity, I'm currently 37 weeks pregnant and will soon be welcoming a little one into our world. All this to say, we are definitely juggling a few balls right now! We've found that hiring an amazing support team, especially to assist during this transition period, and setting up ordering programs for our wholesale and retail partners, allows us to run some aspects of the business on autopilot.

Even when things aren’t as eventful, I find that devoting personal time to hobbies and activities like running and cycling makes me a better leader, business owner, and person. Ultimately, believing in our brand and its cause is what drives and inspires our team every day.

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