10 Indigenous Women-Owned Businesses to Support this Month
February 10, 2021
* Trigger Warning: Indigenous Genocide*
It is Canada Day! And if there's anything we have learnt and has happened during this pandemic, it is the underlying racism faced by minorities and how silenced and normalized it has been. As an Ottawa-based business -- we are seeing how differently Canada Day is being celebrated of all the injustices faced by Indigenous people. It is public knowledge that the Indigenous people went through genocide and continue to be deprived of basic human rights. They are suicide rates in youth are 5-7% higher as compared to non-indigenous youth. As well as the countless missing and murdered Indigenous women, inequality in the foster and prison system and the 751 unmarked graves of Indigenous children through the residential school systems. It is truly heartbreaking how silenced this community was, how traumatized they must be, how painful it is, all the losses suffered and struggles endured.
It is time to listen to the affected people, it is time to support and amplify Indigenous voices, it is time to learn and take action simultaneously and since there are physical COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, our participation to change it heavily online and social media has a lot of weight. In light of this, we are sharing a list of gifted, Indigenous women-owned businesses in today’s blog, that you can purchase to give back to these communities and as a form of advocacy and solidarity.
Indigenous owned and operated, The Yukon Soaps Company creates beautiful, hand-crafted soaps, shampoo bars, essential oil blends, and so much more. Along with hand-crafting soaps, Joella (owner) has worked to make Yukon Soaps Company a community-building, language-learning, earth-connecting hub in the heart of the Yukon—the small town of Mayo. When she took on the company and was looking for a way to connect people to culture and to land. And she has done just that—from getting elders and local kids out on the land to gather wild botanicals, to employing youth in her workshop, to offering crafting workshops, and participating in farmer’s markets across the Yukon.
Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned and founded, digitally-native, Canadian cosmetics company established in 2016 by Jennifer Harper. Based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, Cheekbone Beauty is known for creating high quality, cruelty-free beauty products such as liquid lipsticks and complexion products including contour and highlight palettes. Keeping in line with her Anishinaabe roots, Jenn’s Cheekbone Beauty launched a less-waste line of lipsticks in 2020, called SUSTAIN, with zero-waste goals for 2023. Cheekbone’s aim is to not only make a difference in the lives of Indigenous youth through our donations addressing the educational funding gap. But mostly to create a space in the beauty industry where Indigenous youth feel represented and seen. Giving back to the Indigenous community is a fundamental part of Cheekbone's mission. Their streams of giving include product donations, monetary donations, or project-focused donations. Cheekbone Beauty has donated over $108,000 in total to a wide variety of causes
This Indigenous woman-owned business was founded by the owner with a need. Her baby girl was scratching her arms and legs bloody. The doctor said it was eczema and prescribed a steroid cream. She knew there had to be another solution, so started looking at what was on the market shelves. It had to be effective, non toxic, fragrance free, with scientifically supported research but couldn't find anything good enough so Satya. It is a steroid free, effective anti-inflammatory that can be used for your face or body. Even around your eyes and on your lips. Made with 5 simple ingredients, fragrance free and USDA certified organic.
A clothing design line owned by Métis woman living in British Columbia with her two beautiful children. She started Scarlett J. Designs after receiving much attention for the dresses she made for her daughter. People loved her designs and seamstress skills. She has decided to pivot her focus to where she feels is more necessary and essential now, masks. Each mask is hand cut and hand sewn by her. She chose 100% cotton for its comfort and breathability. Functional. Fashionable. Indigenous.
It is Canadian-based and First Nations owned eyelash brand. Sohka | sohkahcâhkwewin means the act of having inner strength or strong spirit. Sohka was born with modern women in mind, striving to empower women and support their drive for success. Their goal is to create a supportive community and rule into a new era of storytellers, business owners and artists. The embodiment of beauty represents strength and at Sohka lashes, they design luxury faux mink lash styles catered to any lifestyle, giving you a boost of eye-confidence to your everyday look and all while looking amazing for a good cause. 10% of their profit goes towards the Sohka Women's Fund Program, a business grant program created to help give back to community.
This is an Indigenous business creating botanical skin care products. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, we incorporate sustainably harvested plants and organic, high quality ingredients. Their wild plant ingredients are harvested in a respectful way and each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from.
Sisters Sage hand crafts beautiful modern self-care & wellness products using traditional Indigenous ingredients. The co-founders of Sisters Sage are sisters, an Indigenous brand that hand-crafts wellness and self-care products inspired by their culture and traditions. They were born and raised in East Vancouver, Canada and their heritage is Gitxaala, Nisga’a, and Metis Nations. They are from both the West Coast and the prairies and they celebrate and share their culture enthusiastically! All things Modern Wellness Products Made With Traditional Indigenous Ingredients like artisan soaps, bath bombs, salves and smokeless smudge honours our ancestral teachings of sage, cedar, sweetgrass, lavender and more. Sisters Sage is committed to producing beautiful, Indigenous inspired products that not only highlight our rich culture, but also promote environmental sustainability, and inspire future female and youth entrepreneurs.
Sequoia is a Proudly Indigenous brand that is 100% owned and operated by Indigenous women. Founded in 2002 by Michaelee Lazore who is Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Akwesáhsne and Northern Paiute from Nevada. The design, production, and packaging of all the products is done in the working studio locally. None of the manufacturing is outsourced. In order to keep the next seven generations in mind, the production is sustainable and ingredients are ethically sourced. Sequoia has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Michaelee's kitchen. Her passion for creating beautiful soaps drove her to quit her day job as an engineer. Now Sequoia serves customers all over the world with their indigenous inspired products.
It is an Indigenous independently owned and operated, the products from this quality coffee operation can be found in over 600 locations countrywide. The company, clearly having fun with their brand, sells the likes of “Raven" espresso beans (full of life and strength), “Eagle” medium roast (soaring flavour) and “Frog-Breakfast Blend” light roast (jump start your day). They’re certified organic and fair trade. It’s tough to be an Aboriginal company in a commodity driven market. Tough to get people believing in you. But once they do, they’re fiercely loyal. Currently, they have over 50 resorts nationwide. They get to travel from coast to coast to meet with different communities like the Cree, Blackfoot, Mohawk people.They’re always trying to expand the market place and work with other nations. Their goal is to work with every nation in North America.
INDIGO ARROWS x FREED is an online retail store that carries beautiful home living products founded by two female entrepreneurs, from different backgrounds, coming together through their shared passion for beautiful design with an impact. This partnership is unique and one of the first of its kind, between the Indigenous owned business, Indigo Arrows, and the female-led/Jewish owned business, FREED. Destiny Seymour of Indigo Arrows specializes in creating minimalistic, Anishinaabe patterns inspired by ancient pottery and bone tools of her ancestors. Marissa Freed of FREED specializes in high quality manufacturing and sustainable design.Their vision is to design a meaningful collection that breaks down barriers, is a tool for education and promotes positive representation here at home and across the globe. They hope you love their first collection as much as they do! A portion of all proceeds will continue to be donated to The Butterfly Club. They are an after-school club for Indigenous girls and Two-Spirit youth between the ages of 9-13. The weekly program provides youth with opportunities to develop self-confidence and a sense of belonging, guided by a curriculum focusing on Indigenous cultural reclamation, environmental stewardship, self-development, and community involvement.
As a business we acknowledge that we are living, working and operating on unceded Algonquin, Anishinabek territory.
Written by Stephanie of The Sefakor Blog