We feel like there is always an awesome local business popping up in our city. And more times than not, there’s a young go-getter behind the scenes working their tail off to make it all happen. In partnership with 1 Million Cups Indianapolis, we’re working to highlight these outstanding entrepreneurs and share their story.
Who are you, how old are you, and which part of Indy is home?
Kristin Salat, 26. I live in Herron Morton neighborhood.
So, tell us all about your business!
Trace Fashion is a social enterprise fashion brand that creates comfortable office wear for women. Our main product is a ridiculously comfortable blazer – boasting 3 REAL pockets and stretchy, soft fabric. What I get most excited about though is our partnership with Unconditional. Together, we have a program to provide wrap-around support and work experience for women who have decided to leave the sex industry.
This is a year-long paid internship, intentionally designed for women who have been in the sex industry, so we can address the specific challenges that women face when transitioning into a new job. It is a space to pause, dream, and pursue life goals, all while expanding jobs skills. There is no other program like this in Indiana – I’m seriously so excited to be a part of it.
What void are you filling with your company and what led you to start your own venture?
My main reason for starting Trace Fashion was to provide employment opportunities for women who have previously worked in the sex or adult entertainment industries. I believe all businesses have a responsibility to do good for their community. To proactively benefit others and to not exploit anyone. So I wanted to start a business that could set an example for others.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? Are there any other endeavors that got you to this point?
I’ve wanted to start a business for a long time. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a passion for justice and supporting others who have had different life experiences than me. I have loved the idea of a social enterprise, even before I knew that term. I never thought of myself as entrepreneurial growing up. But then I think about the lemonade stand my sisters and I had, and selling cards to raise money for a trip and dreaming about a business with my mom and I realize I had a lot of influence in that direction. My education and work background is really random. I studied business administration and have had previous jobs in finance, retail and childcare (among other random industries).
What’s your favorite part about starting your business in Indianapolis?
Indianapolis is a special place. The small business community is crazy connected and extremely supportive. It’s one of those places where leaders are accessible and ready to pass on their knowledge. Basically, that famous midwestern hospitality is alive and well in the entrepreneur and small business community.
How can people learn more about your products or services? Who is your ideal target customer?
If you’re interested in what we’re doing, you can go to our website, Instagram, or Facebook. If you want to learn more about our nonprofit partner, Unconditional, they have a podcast called “It’s Complicated” where they discuss some of the ins and outs of the sex industry with people who worked in it.
Our target customers are young professionals who care about being comfortable in the office (but still have to look put-together). They also care about being a part of something bigger than themselves. Many of the people who love wearing our blazers are teachers, social workers, working moms, and executive directors. You know, your typical boss ladies.
In the spirit of 1 Million Cups– what can our community do for you right now?
Our biggest need is for our nonprofit partner right now. Our program is 100% planned and we have women who are ready to apply, but we are still in need of financial partners to make it happen. Even a small monthly donation can make a big difference. Also, if you’re interested in volunteering with them, there are tons of ways you can get involved.
As a program of the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups Indianapolis works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses. Mr. Kauffman believed it was a fundamental right for anyone who had a big idea to be able to bring it to life—and we’re here to fulfill that mission. Learn more and attend an upcoming meetup!