We had the good fortune of connecting with Erika Salan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erika, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My business is unconventional, and came from an unconventional place. The idea stemmed from a place of healing. I was in a transitional period in my life and my beloved Doberman, Sierra, passed away suddenly. In a place of needing “something” to move on, I focused on starting a fair trade project. For many years, as finances allowed, I put ethical sourcing, fair trade and transparency above all else with any products that I bought. I wanted to do the same, and put all my energy into starting my project with the same core values. I was unwilling to compromise on my ethics, and that stayed with me throughout the process of building Nicavana Project from the ground, up.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Nicavana Project is a fair trade project that works with artisans throughout Latin America crafting dog collars and accessories. We’ve been fortunate enough to employ the same families since day 1, which we are proud of, as most manufacturing and crafting is done in workshops or factories, which is often a revolving door of employees. This isn’t the case for us. As we value transparency above all else, every time we have worked in-country, we share the time we are with our artisans live on social media, which I believe separates us from most fair trade projects. It was allowed our customers to develop a relationship with our artisans, which is what we are the most proud of. We get excited knowing every time that our customers, and repeat customers buy something from us, they are able to connect the dots from beginning to end. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Melinda Mohammed, Owner, Dobie Kustomz Holly Lyttle, Owner, Peach & Stella’s

Website: www.thenicavanaproject.com
Instagram: @nicavana_project
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenicavanaproject
Other: @erikafairtrade

Image Credits
One of the phones (with the three dogs) is by Erica Gibbons. Her IG handle is the watermark and I have full permission to use her photos.

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