Co-founded by now SeaEO Fiona Houston and her friend Xa Milne in 2013, Mara Seaweed was born out of a love natural superfoods and a goal of connecting the next generation to Scotland’s edible resources.
Fiona is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Her dad, Adair transformed the family Blacksmith into a successful wedding venue and tourist attraction. So, creating a whole new global brand came as second nature to the Scottish mum of two.
The idea for Mara, the Gaelic name for the sea, came to Fiona one day when on the beach with a friend. A Chinese-American friend of Fiona’s pointed to the forests of kelp and all the other seaweeds that were growing along the shoreline and asked why no-one was harvesting it to eat? This got Fiona thinking about how in Scotland we have this sustainable, natural resource that has extraordinary flavours and health benefits and no one is really taking notice.
Since then, Mara Seaweed has won multiple awards and are loved by celebrities, Michelin star chefs and are going from strength to strength. In order to build a business out of seaweed, Fiona and her team had to work out how to add value to a resource that up until that point had been undervalued. They also had to be able to scale-up – they had to take what essentially was an artisan product and bring it into the mainstream. In order to do that, the team needed to spend an inordinate amount of time not only looking at the demand side and the marketing side but also the supply chain.
This lead Fiona to seek out investment from Angel groups across Scotland. After pitching her business idea to a group of angels it was no shock that many of them wanted to invest. This investment will be used to support the growth of the business into export markets, build their production capacity and develop a new product pipeline.
Find out more about mara at https://maraseaweed.com/