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Q&A with Shauna Alexander Mohr, co-founder of fair-trade jewelry store, Lucina

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Photo by Charles Gullung


PORTLAND — Shauna Alexander Mohr, president and co-founder of Lucina, an online fair-trade jewelry company, believes consumers should know the history of each product they purchase. You won’t find any so-called conflict stones in Lucina’s collections, nor will designers scratch their heads when asked about the origins of jewelry components. Instead, the year-old company focuses on telling the stories behind the products.

How did you get into the jewelry business?
My background is in strategy consulting and economic development. I spent a lot of time working with co-operatives of coffee producers throughout Central and South America who were operating under fair-trade certification. I saw the difference that made for them on the ground, and I saw the burgeoning market here in the U.S., how people really responded to it. So I started looking around for a new business in which nothing was really happening yet and jewelry emerged as the one.

Where did Lucina come from?
Lucina is the Roman goddess who quite literally brought children “into the light of the world.” It worked on all the fronts I was looking for.  It was a beautiful word and its meaning evoked our mission in many different ways: illuminate, inspire and indulge.

Is there an advantage in being from Oregon?
It’s more predictable to be from somewhere else. But maybe in three years the most predictable thing will be that if you’re a socially conscious fashion company, people will assume you’re from Portland. I think that the community is receptive.

Do you think you will continue to be an online store with a few boutiques carrying your line, or will you open a Lucina store?
We’ll definitely keep the online store and we’ll just further distinguish what we carry online from what’s in the wholesale line.

Do you see an awareness of sustainability increasing in the next few years?
I think that’s part of the awakening that’s happening in jewelry, particularly when you look at precious metals, gemstones and diamond mining.

As awareness grows I think people will demand more of it.  I think that what shows up first for people is the human element because of movies like Blood Diamond.

Will Blood Diamond raise more awareness?
It already has. It spurs a lot of people to ask a lot of questions. That is where I see Lucina’s role. We do want to shed light on the origins of our products but we [also] want to be shedding light on the alternatives.

If you can make a choice that makes you feel really good about what you bought because you know it has an impact, then you’ve generated something that people respond to.

Then there’s energy behind it. Provide something for people to act on, provide something for people to be inspired by.

— Colleen Moran

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