An Interview with Nectar’s Tricia Kelly on Female Entrepreneurship

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Chances are, if you’re a UC Irvine student, you’ve passed by or shopped at the cute boutique sandwiched between multiple food spots in University Town Center called Nectar. Nectar carries clothes that embody the SoCal vibes that so many of us love and associate with Irvine and Newport’s beach culture.

If you’ve ever shopped at Nectar Irvine, it’s likely you’ve been helped by Alexis Saldana, the sweet and retail savvy manager. Alexis also double majors in psychology and sociology at UC Irvine while managing her location full-time. Nectar Irvine, which features on-trend fashion for college women, hosts a nearly all-female retail team. Nectar Irvine is part of  a larger chain of Nectar storefronts across Southern California run by Tricia Kelly, the owner and founder. 

Photo by Nectar Irvine

Ingrid Allen and Ashely Tang from the Her Campus UCI team were lucky enough to talk with Kelly and Saldana about their experiences as female entrepreneurs and “Nectar Gives,” Kelly’s 501c charity that supports the needs of families, foster care children, school counselors and local charity closets. The charity earns over $100k per year from donations in order to give back locally. Kelly also shared her experiences from how she deals with the stressors of entrepreneurship to her advice for running your own business one day.


This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.

How does Nectar stand out? We stand out with our curated styles and the amount of styles we get in. So our shops have a particular concept and a feel, where a lot of our competition like to try to carry for something for everyone. We focus on a casual, on-trend, young woman that loves California. We only carry 6 pieces of fashion per style and we get in over 50 new styles every week. Our customers like exclusivity and change, and that is what we focus on accomplishing for them. 


Nectar prides itself on giving locally to the community through the charity, “Nectar Gives.” Tell us about what the charity, Nectar Gives is doing this holiday season?

Our charity has adopted ten local families in serious financial need, desolate conditions, to completely wardrobe out. We will also donate over 150 brand new pairs of jeans, and over 100 pairs of shoes to local closets that cater to kids in need, trying to stay in school. 

On top of that, we will be posting on social media (#nectargives) trying to add to the number of families that we can help last minute, this season. 

We just took on a family that completely lost their home in a fire yesterday. We will be providing all new clothes for their kids and most likely, we will even handle the shopping. 

Editor’s Note: If you know a family in need, contact [email protected] and they will see if they can verify the need. 


Tell us the story of how Nectar started--did you ever see yourself running this #girlboss life?

Nectar started from a lot of jobs I decided I never wanted to keep when I grow up. After trying out many different things, it was clear to me that I needed to own my own business. Nearly every girl has a passion for fashion but I also found out I was good at management, along with shopping! I had to wait for the funding and timing to match up to start my first boutique. 

My boyfriend at the time thought I was crazy. He is now my husband and partner in this crazy life of clothing store ownership. I feel like every strong #girlboss needs a great side kick to keep her strong. He definitely compliments all my weaknesses with his strengths. All I can figure is this life was just meant to be for me. We have owned these stores for 15 years and we still marvel at what God gave us in this life. It has been too fun and we don’t deserve it. I use that thought right there to get in a thankful mood when stress is trying to make me grouchy. 


What advice do you have to other college women who want to start and run their own businesses?

So much advice! First, understand, business ownership is not for everyone. It can truly drive a person mad and steal family time away like you can’t imagine. But if it is for you, and you know it, take small steps toward it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Well, maybe take one day off a week! 

Never stop focusing on getting it done and completing your process. Also, be ready for change. Some of your original plans may have to flex, to be able to accomplish success. Never stop working toward your goals and something really great will happen. It may not be what you thought, but I believe it will develop something you love. Also lastly, do something you love! It makes the work so much more easy and the time will fly. 

Photo by Ingrid Allen

Her Campus at UCI with manager, Alexis Saldana 

Be sure to check out Her Campus at UCI’s Instagram @hercampusuci to see questions answered by Nectar Irvine’s manager, Alexis, about her favorite trends of the season, staying organized as a working student, and more!