A Company Turns Smelly Fish Skin Into Upscale Accessories

By Noah Kaufman |
FWX SALMON LEATHER WALLET 2

Courtesy of Tidal Vision

When sitting down to a salmon steak for dinner, we don’t often think about just how much of the fish actually makes it to our plate. About 40 percent of every fish is waste, and an Alaska start-up is looking for ways to repurpose what we usually throw away into more usable items.

Tidal Vision in Juneau wants to replace your boring old cow leather wallet with one made from salmon. They source their fish byproducts from sustainable fisheries in Alaska and use a non-toxic, vegetable oil-based tanning method to produce their salmon leather, which makes the entire journey from the Arctic rivers to your pocket an environmentally friendly one.

Cofounders Craig Kasberg and Zach Wilkinson are also quick to jump on the most likely criticism of their wallets: potential odor. Most people worry that something made of fish will smell, well, fishy. But according to Tidal Vision, “All odor-producing oils and particles are removed in the tanning and/or manufacturing processes. Our salmon leather smells very similar to cow leather, since we use many of the same tanning oils…”

The demand certainly seems to be there for the scaly wallets. In just 24 hours, Tidal Vision topped their crowdfunding goal of $17,500. While they will begin producing wallets, Kasberg and Wilkinson see a future for salmon leather belts, shoes and boots as well. They are also working with Alaskan crabbers to make clothing out of chitosan, an odor-killing compound found in discarded crustacean shells.

You can find their Kickstarter campaign here for an early deal on one of the wallets. And stay tuned for releases of their chitosan clothing line.

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