Cover Story Excerpt

Dressed to kill

Alaska’s Salmon Sisters launch their fishing-inspired apparel business off the back deck of the family boat

 “It’s wonderful to see what kinds of beautiful creatures are living under the ocean,” says Claire Neaton, 26, of the inspiration for the Salmon Sisters line of Alaska-based apparel and edibles she runs with her sister, Emma Teal Laukitis, 25.

“We longline in the Bering Sea, near Dutch Harbor and False Pass,” she adds, describing the family business and traditions. The sisters grew up on a homestead called Stonewall Place in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and fishing the Bering Sea and a False Pass salmon setnet site with their parents, Buck and Shelly Laukitis.

Laukitis and Neaton, like many Alaskans, left their home state to attend colleges in the Lower 48. Laukitis attended Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and Neaton studied at the University of Vermont.

“I think we both wanted to experience something totally different,” says Claire. “It wasn’t until we left that we realized the uniqueness of our upbringing and our family’s occupation as fishermen.”

In 2015, not long after they matriculated from schools states with Colonial history, the sisters found themselves back in the Last Frontier, fishing and running their growing apparel business, making use of their combined studies in art and business.

“We started Salmon Sisters before we graduated college, and we were trying to run it from wherever we were living,” says Neaton. “It became hard when we weren’t together and weren’t in Alaska where our inspiration was coming from. This is where we grew up, and the landscape is stunning with the Aleutian volcanos and the green islands and windy ocean.”

Their products — “made for a community of fishermen, adventurers and ocean-enthusiasts” — include hoodie sweatshirts with lupines, Alaska salmon leather wallets, Anchor leggings, tote bags and even their own smoked wild sockeye salmon. And for every sale they make, Salmon Sisters donates a can of wild Alaska salmon to the Alaska Food Bank.

Their mission in life as well as in business is to connect Alaskans to…

Read full article in our September issue page 18.


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About the author

Doug Stewart
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