What is Indigenous Box, in your own words?

Indigenous Box is a lot of things! On the surface it’s a box of goodies, but what’s really inside is this idea to drive economic reconciliation and build Indigenous prosperity by sharing Indigenous business with the world.

Who or what inspired you to start Indigenous Box?

We just wanted to find a way to make a lot of noise about Indigenous business. In Canada, Indigenous people are starting businesses at nine times the national average. Indigenous are showing up and we want everyone to know.

What hurdles did you initially face when getting the company off the ground? How did you adapt?

Like most startups, we faced challenges related to cash flow, supply chain and team management. We also had to build a digital toolkit to run our business and engage our customers. But our approach is simple: “Everything is ‘figureoutable.’”

How would you define your leadership style?

Initially, I felt I had to control everything. Now, I try to balance goal setting with openness to feedback. I’ve learned it’s okay not to have all the answers. This invites invaluable insights from
my team.

What is your biggest business success so far?

We were excited when we bootstrapped $5,000 of seed money into more than a million dollars in revenue in our first year. But what excited me the most was what it meant for our business model, at the core of which is our Indigenous suppliers. Now we are watching as many of these makers scale up themselves. What makes us most proud is to have a part in that.

What’s next on the horizon for Indigenous Box?

We are busy building processes, systems and teams that can scale. We are working to perfect our operations and to improve and expand our offerings in Canada but also worldwide. We want to be an internationally recognized brand in the Indigenous retail space.

What piece of advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Knowledge and experience compounds over time. You will never suddenly ‘be ready’ to do anything that is outside your comfort zone. Starting a business is the same. The trick is to just start anyway and cherish the mistakes that you make. They are your best teachers.

Who is/was your mentor early in your career?

My parents are both helpers in our community. They taught me that each person has their own gift to bring and their own way to contribute. They taught me that when you give with abundance, you will receive with abundance.

What are you currently reading?

The Pivot Year by Breanna White and Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono.

What would you say are your best and worst habits?

Best: Taking time with my business and life partner, Kham, to talk about our gratitude for everything, good and bad, that has gotten us to where we are. Worst: Not getting enough sleep and drinking too much coffee to try and make up for it.

What are your daily must-haves?

Speaking of coffee…I must have coffee in the morning and water to drink throughout the day, but most importantly, cuddles with my kiddos.

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