More than just salt
When husband-and-wife duo Britni and Casey Siekaniec were commercial fishing in Cook Inlet, they began gathering sea salt for personal use. During the holiday season, they gifted friends and family their harvest, and from there, Alaska Salt Co. was born.
“We both have always had entrepreneur spirits and had learned that we work together well from our fishing experience,” Britni said.
Three years later, Alaska Salt. Co. is a full-fledged business on the Homer Spit, fit with an array of salt products for culinary use, along with a line of skincare products made from Alaskan ingredients like wildflowers, peonies and berries. Britni and Casey’s storefront also has three rental units upstairs, which the couple has renovated to become another form of income for their business.
“Our vacation rentals kind of fell into our lap as another ‘side hustle,’” Britni said. “Luckily, Casey is a journeyman electrician and we both have a lot of renovation [and] construction experience.”
Britni and her husband’s skill sets complement each other.
“Casey geeks out on efficient systems for salt harvesting and product manufacturing while I take the lead on product packaging and marketing,” Britni said. “Casey handles most things on the financial side and I typically handle matters when it comes to supervising and training our staff. We are like yin and yang and always share a common vision for success.”
In early 2018, the couple was contacted to send orders to Zac Brown of the Grammy-award winning Zac Brown Band, who has a getaway house in Homer. Afterward, he stopped by their store — which at the time, was shared with the Salmon Sisters — and asked the couple if they would be interested in partnering.
“We started a business because we don’t want to work for anyone else,” Britni said. “The day he came over he said he didn’t want to come in and change things, but instead, empower us to do what we are already doing well — a statement that solidified his good intentions and it validated the hard work we had already poured into our little company. It was important to us to keep majority ownership of the company as well as final decision-making authority — all of which has been respected and molded into our agreements.”
Since establishing their partnership, the Zac Brown Collective has helped Alaska Salt Co. purchase their retail shop on the spit and design new labels and apparel, and are currently in the works of expanding their production capacity.
“If you’re thinking about [starting your own business] — or daydreaming obsessing — go for it! It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it,” Britni said. “Business startups can be an absolute rollercoaster but it sure beats the mundane 9-5 lifestyle that simply isn’t for us. We crave constant growth and problem-solving. Be brave, get yourself out there and let your community support you!”