At Nicavana Project, we advocate, value, and practice radical transparency.
What radical transparency means to us is sharing above and beyond what most businesses ever would. And we really mean it.
At The Nicavana Project, our artisans are paid per piece made. All pay is decided by our artisans on what they believe is a good, living wage for them, but cost effective enough for us to import and sell. We do not get "bulk" discounts. Whether we order 10 pieces or 200 pieces, we pay the same price.
We know a lot of businesses out there say "we donate to nonprofits!" but they often leave us wondering if they really do. We certainly do, and we screenshot, share and post all over social media every time that we donate. We do this because we find it important to know that your money is truly going to where we say it is - to hands far better than ours. The nonprofits we donate to are the real heroes out there. And if we don't really have it in our budget to donate, we host raffles and auctions to donate. It is that important to us.
When things just aren't right.
Yep, it happens. More often than we'd like to admit, we receive products that just aren't that perfect. We will absolutely tell you when they're not. We list them on the website as discounted, and in the product description we will tell you exactly what's wrong with the item. We don't want to surprise you with a "discounted" item for you to expect it being discounted as something that simply did not move, out of season, a sample, etc., for it to come with heavy pen marks or something. That's not ok. We want you to know BEFORE making that decision to purchase.
When we are in-country working with our artisans, we post live videos on social media because we WANT you to see where our products are made, how they are made and most importantly, by whom. We feel our customers SHOULD interact with us when we're all together. If you want to know more, please find us on social media here:
And please join our Facebook fan group for sneak-peeks, group-exclusive raffles, auctions, and more. Seach "Fans of The Nicavana Project" to find us.
In an essence, we have a 1 to 2 model. Meaning, for every one product we sell at full price, we can buy two, after our costs. We (the founders) have full time jobs ON TOP OF this passion project of ours. Some costs involved, aside from the cost of manufacturing the product itself:
- Shipping from Central America (air cargo, not by ship).
- Customs and duties (and their respective agent fees).
- Yearly business license fees, CPA, attorney fees and taxes.
- Website hosting fees / monthly subscription fees (sadly, there's a lot). This also means paying monthly fees when we often go months we zero product in stock.
- Bank fees / Wire transfer fees. With the same problem as noted above ^
- Eco-friendly packaging.
- Our in-country manager's salary, along with his travel expenses. For example, taking a taxi from his home, to the town where our artisans live, to the airport so that our products can be shipped to us. It takes a village to get these products shipped to us.
- Bonuses to our artisans based on sales.
- Reinvestment. That means putting money away to REINVEST in new artisans, expand into new territories and offer new products.
Notice I didn't say anything about the founders salary? We don't take one. We take a very nominal portion (as budget allows, which isn't always) to pay down debts from tens of thousands of our own dollars (and credit - ouch) it took founding this project, and we'll pay some miscellaneous personal expenses here and there.
It's a bad business model. We don't think this is for everyone. It requires living a life on very little sleep, and a lot of passion. But we wouldn't change it for the world.