When Monica Gutierrez-Simeon and Marina Gutierrez-TurningRobe tried to get a loan in 2011 to expand Sister Sky, their natural bath-products business, they were turned down.
Craft3―an Oregon- and Washington-based CDFI―stepped into the void with a $300,000 loan that helped the sisters capitalize on an upgraded business plan and push their products into regional casinos and hotels.
They had a strong following already after two years of business built around high-quality products infused with herbs and informed by Native tradition. The Spokane-based company touts itself as the maker of the only personal-care product line approved by the Intertribal Agriculture Council to use the phrase “Made by American Indians.” But their market wasn’t as big as it could have been, and
a loan gave them the lift they needed to expand.
The result is in line with Craft3’s core mission: To strengthen economic, ecological, and family resilience in Pacific Northwest communities.
(Date of loan: 2011. Date of story publication: 2013)