SLC Women to Watch Series: Salt & Honey

What is Salt & Honey?

Salt & Honey is a local market that proudly supports local artisans and creatives. Offering a unique space for a variety of creative entrepreneurs, the market launches independently produced goods to Utah's consumers. What sets Salt & Honey apart is the constant rotation of products and vendors. Every day there is something new or one-of-a-kind! The market also maintains consistent efforts to support sustainable, ethical products and practices. I had the opportunity to interview the two standout women behind the scenes, Ashley and Nicole. 

Creators, mothers, business owners, oh my! 

Ashley Collett (pictured left), a Utah native, has always been a creator. At a young age, her mom helped her cultivate a “do it yourself” attitude, learning to create and work hard for what she wanted. Ashley mentioned that she gained a strong work ethic early on, making homemade suckers with her 8 older siblings to finance their trips to Florida as a family. Majoring in illustration, Ashley paid for her way through college by selling her jewelry creations. Initially interested in the creation of children’s books, she was soon launched into the world of graphic design, finding she had a knack for it with her illustration background. Interning for a small business and managing a construction company office helped her gain real business experience as she went to tradeshows and learned about product development. She also was a surface designer, making designs and patterns for various products. I almost fell off my chair when she told me at the same time she was running her own letterpress business, designing wedding announcements/prints AND having her first child! Her drive and ambition continue today as she crafts, designs and connects with other local artists. While reflecting on what got her to this point, Ashley said something truly inspiring, “Worthwhile pursuits are important, even if you fail.” While managing the market, she continues to design illustrations and other products that can be found in the store.

Nicole Choules-Paul (pictured right) originally from Yuma, Arizona, started sewing years ago, learning from her mother. She started creating dance warm-ups for herself as a professional ballet dancer. Some of her fellow company members took notice and started placing orders for Nicole's custom warm-ups. This resulted in her own side business, outfitting dancers all over the states. After 12 years of dancing professionally, Nicole shifted her creative focus towards making purses called Elsa bags, after her grandmother. Like Ashley, Nicole has a sense of resourcefulness instilled within her. She used to find old, vintage couches left on the side of the road and use the fabric to make her beautiful handbags. After becoming a mother, Nicole said she had to start making her baby girls adorable dresses. I chuckled when she mentioned that when the Frozen movie came out, she was urged to rebrand, since as she put it, “Elsa ruined everything.” Her company became “Hum Stitchery,” referencing the continuous hum of her sewing machine. Nicole has sewn everything from baby blankets to bathing suits, each displaying her vintage inspiration and style. A couple of years ago she embarked on a Kickstarter campaign, raising enough funds so that she could hire out her sewing to a manufacturer. She now has an online store full of products, as well as her products that are in-store at Salt & Honey. "Women can do everything," she said. "Just start with something little and go for it!" 

Pop-up friendship

Back in 2015, the two crossed paths when Ashley was working on Salt & Honey as a pop-up shop down at The Gateway. Nicole was participating as a vendor, selling her signature dresses through the market. They became friends and connected with dreams of opening their own brick and mortar here in Salt Lake City. Together they co-own and manage the shop full-time. “There’s something super fulfilling about being creative. It’s a huge driving force in our lives,” Nicole commented. “Creating something like this and connecting with the community around us is so much fun." Ashley added, "We love our vendors like our family.”

As I left my interview with Ashley and Nicole, I felt inspired and motivated to tackle whatever life would throw at me, not to mention dusting off my sewing machine back at home. They are such talented women, exhibiting kindness and support for those around them. Like everyone, they've had their challenges but have consistently worked hard for the things that they care about. We closed by addressing what type of advice they would give their previous selves, to which they both responded in unison, as if previously planned, "DON'T WAIT!" Expressing the belief that anything is possible, they said that they wish they had taken risks earlier and went for their dreams faster, instead of letting fear or other factors get in the way.

Check them out:

Come support Salt & Honey Market downtown at The Gateway in Salt Lake City or if you're interested in becoming a vendor click here.

Also, stay tuned for December as they turn their market into a pop-up shop with local vendors. Like a craft fair, the pop-up shop will be consistently changing week by week for the entire month, with new products, vendors and more! 

Follow Salt & Honey:

Follow along with Nicole's online shop: