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New Indigenous subscription box helps entrepreneurs through the pandemic

·2 min read
The Indigenous Box is a new quarterly subscription service launched out of Edmonton. (Submitted by Mallory Yawnghwe - image credit)
The Indigenous Box is a new quarterly subscription service launched out of Edmonton. (Submitted by Mallory Yawnghwe - image credit)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many entrepreneurs, partly by cutting into their ability to sell their products in person.

But a new subscription box service launched out of Edmonton looks to help by highlighting the work of Indigenous businesses across the country.

Mallory Yawnghwe is the creator of the Indigenous Box, which will be released quarterly containing six to seven items. Those items include things like bath and beauty products or jewlery.

Yawnghwe said she wants to help Indigenous entrepreneurs reach a larger market and find new customers across the country.

"It's mostly things that I love, and things that I would have wanted to receive as a gift, as an Indigenous woman. I would love to see products in there that I can see myself wearing or using or supporting," Yawnghwe said on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Tuesday.

To bring a cross-Canada collection to the first box, Yawnghwe included products from companies in Edmonton, Quebec and Nova Scotia, and even added earrings created by her own 13-year-old daughter. The products are drawn from a network of business Yawnghwe has been supporting for years.

The first box officially launched on March 14, and was sold out in three days. After hearing demand from people who just missed out on the initial run, the spring box was restocked with double the inventory, and released again last week, selling out in just 24 hours.

"We've only been in business now one month and one week, but it's been a whirlwind one month and one week," Yawnghwe said.

The company's summer box will go on sale June 13.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created extra stress for the entrepreneurs that Yawnghwe hopes to support. Many who are used to selling their products in person have to shift to an e-commerce model.

However, Yawnghwe notes that her industy is booming. A 2019 report from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business called "Business Reconciliation in Canada" projected that Indigenous people will contribute $100 billion to the Canadian economy by 2024, and that they are creating new businesses at nine times the Canadian average.

"The future of Canada's economy is Indigenous," Yawnghwe said.