Photo: Anne B Designs

8 Entrepreneurs Making It Happen in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Sustainability Activism
by Liz Galloway Dec 12, 2015

1. Sarah Burroughs, CEO and founder of Anne B Designs

Photo: Anne B Designs

A volunteer trip to Uganda sparked Sarah’s long-time passion for design and functionality. Burroughs — a graduate of Brigham Young in Provo — had been making quality handmade bags and clutches for her friends, a passion she’d discovered in high school. During her trip to Uganda she taught sewing, but also basic marketing to local women. She returned with a new direction for her handmade goods, and successfully crowdfunded her campaign in 2014 to start a sewing school in Salt Lake City, focused on employing local refugees as seamstresses. They run workshops, and sell beautiful handmade bags and clutches, and are open to the public.

Anne B is offering a special workshop this Christmas to learn to sew a sleeping bag, and then donate that bag to Salt Lake’s homeless — all inspired by a homeless man she met named Anthony who’d stitched his own sleeping bag together. Anne B continues to push boundaries and rouse the community in SLC.

2. Darby & Brad Gates, co-founders of Twice Life Wood

Darby and Brad are the husband-and-wife power team behind Twice Life Wood, a business founded in 2013 and focused on sustainable and functional wood art. Creating custom pieces with reclaimed wood, they are able to stay 80 percent sustainable. They source locally, and recycle their waste, including donating sawdust to local farmers, and provide a return to local charities. They left behind a full-time marketing business when they realized that their hobby of crafting custom wood pieces was more successful — on many levels — than their full-time jobs. Now they help sustain one of our most precious resources.

3. Mindy Crosbie Relyea, founder of One Wish World

Originally founded in Fruit Heights, Utah, One Wish World was a small local movement of artists and artisans in Utah agreeing that 10 percent of the sales from a communal website would go to charity. The organization — now a nonprofit — provides mentorship, support, and connection through global service trips — visiting a country to learn more about the people, culture, and issues, and to leave a sustainable impact in return. Their most recent outing to Ethiopia partnered with Studio Samuel to visit a vocational center for marginalized people, provide training on sustainability, and fund a group-selected project. Everyone is welcome on these service trips.

4. The team at Fibonacci Foundation

With a leading art magazine as its sister company, this nonprofit foundation seeks out and supports artists from all walks of life. They host youth summer camps for artists and sponsor scholarships both locally and abroad with humanitarian missions, and run contests for emerging artists, including one coming up in February 2016.

With a long history of giving back to the local community, Fibonacci founders include local entrepreneur Asenath Horton of PR company City Launch, and her sister Molly Bitton. They’re not just conquering Salt Lake City, but the whole mountain west art belt.

5. The team at Latitude Thirty Eight Tours

Established in early 2015, and based in Salt Lake City, Latitude Thirty Eight offers luxury tours worldwide, with a mission to get people outside and loving life. But, this is more than just tourism: they run socially impactful tours so that your dollars get huge bang for their buck. Latitude Thirty Eight’s partnerships include global nonprofits like Travel Plus Social Good, Visit.Org, and Sapa O’Chau. Leading T+SG’s Salt Lake hub, Latitude Thirty Eight will hold quarterly events to bring together industry influencers and the community, along with giving 10 percent of all goods sold to Vietnam based non-profit Sapa O’Chau to support the women and children in that community.

The outdoor team includes certified outdoorsmen and women Melanie Webb, Dan Gorder, and many other sub-contractors who own outdoor businesses in each tour location. The company partners with these locals to foster both financial and social returns in the communities they visit. With each tour booked, vocational tourism training and outdoor workshops are provided gratis to locals looking to create a sustainable living in travel and tourism.

6. Thea Holcomb, Tedx SLC speaker & social entrepreneur

Thea is a teenager with the ability to face complex issues with humor; moreso, she can do it in a public-speaking space. She has been a life line to many SLC and Utah teens, and beyond, as an advocate of revamping sexual education. She is just 17 years old.

This all-around talented teen seems to have a head start on many, and among other things teaches skiing, pursuing outdoor living, raising guide dogs for the blind, and yes, having a perfect soap box in places like Tedx SLC to speak about teen sex-ed. You can find her giving back in the local community, on Tedx SLC, and on Youtube with her many hilarious and informational videos on sex-ed.

7. Tony and Heather Peeters, co-founders at Solstice Spices

Back in 2013, Heather and Tony decided that their homemade air-dried spices should be enjoyed by more than just themselves and launched Solstice Spices. They source 90 percent of the ingredients locally, and everything is dried naturally. They were recently named Salt Lake City Weekly’s Best of Utah 2015 award “Best Backyard Seasonings.”

They are also the first urban farmers to participate in Farm Link, where they are allowed two acres to farm on, within a local landowner’s property. This shared growth project allows the land to continue to be farmed, rather than being developed into the urban landscape and forgotten. This is a sustainable project they are allowed to maintain that inevitably gives back to the local community.

8. The team at Sustainable Start Ups

Sustainable Start Ups is a meeting place for entrepreneurial minds, so of course this one
had to be included. Local sustainer and a voice to the project is Ian Shelledy who provides support and community outreach to make sure underserved entrepreneurs have the resources they need. This team includes a dynamic group of locals, access to keen minds, and fun socializing at events like the Sustainable Start Up Series, Entrepreneurship 4 All, and Idea Factory. They believe entrepreneurship has the power to change the world, and many people they work with have already provided innovative solutions to environmental concerns, homeless issues, and social good projects.

Not only does this nonprofit impact locals, but has partnered with many big names like Angel Network Park City, SBA, Youth City, and Wells Fargo. Sustained by memberships, donations, and scholarships, it’s easy to get involved by joining their community or taking advantage of their co-working spaces.

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