Devon Fiddler's first job out of university involved working with First Nations entrepreneurs who had no previous business experience. It was here that she became passionate about the ability to make change through business and decided she too needed to start a company.
With the dream of being a designer and the intention of empowering Indigenous women, Fiddler founded SheNative, a high-end handbag and accessory brand that aims to show Indigenous women and girls that anything is possible. SheNative designs are minimal, Fiddler says, but still include an important Indigenous cultural element.
Fiddler says she has lived through many of the struggles that young Indigenous women face. Because of these personal experiences, Fiddler has dedicated her business to change public perceptions of Indigenous women and girls, by donating time, energy and a portion of proceeds to help empower these women.
Fiddler attributes Startup Canada's 2013-2014 Startup Generation Global Fellowship program as one of the support systems that helped her begin her business and move it beyond its initial phases.
"I wanted to change the reality, and inspire other Indigenous women like myself to believe that they can achieve anything they put their minds to," Fiddler says.
Along with three other women, Fiddler has also started a new fashion incubator, called Her 4 Directions, in Saskatoon that houses SheNative Goods and the companies of her three co-founders.
For Fiddler, the journey to success as an entrepreneur is ongoing. However, she does recognize some of the accomplishments she's reached so far.
"I think every little win is a success – raising capital through crowdfunding, business competitions, getting a grant, seeing the impacts of some of the women we've worked with, and winning awards," Fiddler says. "To me, all those examples are successes."
Fiddler is the recipient for the 2015 Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Startup Canada Sustainable Development Award for the Prairie Region.
In the future, Fiddler says she would like to see an improved understanding of Indigenous issues in Canada. To help towards that goal, SheNative Goods uses its success to act as a platform for Indigenous girls and women to share their stories.
Fiddler says she would also like to expand SheNative Goods, so that its merchandise is sold in retail locations across the country. For others looking to become entrepreneurs, Fiddler has her own recommendations.
"Start taking action now, learn from your mistakes, pivot when you need to and be persistent."
SheNative is a high-end handbag and accessory brand that aims to show Indigenous women and girls that anything is possible. SheNative designs are minimal, and include Indigenous cultural elements.
The business is dedicated to changing public perceptions of Indigenous women and girls, by donating time, energy and a portion of proceeds to help empower these women.
This success story is provided by Startup Canada – a national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs.