Business Name: Spotted Eagle Handmade Website: N/A Established: 2021 Questions answered by: Dawne Lachapelle
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
I make luxury quality, yet functional handmade knitted items such as hats and neck warmers using only 100% Merino wool because it provides superior warmth, function, comfort, and beauty.
I am an outdoorsy person who gets outside every day all year round and I believe that having the right outerwear can transform the experience of being outdoors and help people connect with the land and the beauty around us.
I learned to knit growing up at home with my grandmother. She was a Cree woman who loved to knit and always made sure I had mittens and slippers to wear. I understand that feeling that she shared with me of wanting to provide something handmade to people. It takes time and it’s a great way to show that you care and want to share creative energy.
I also make Indigenous beaded earrings to match all kinds of outfits and occasions. I especially love to create mother-daughter sets of matching earrings!
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
I use the highest quality materials to produce my handmade items, so your comfort and expectations for quality are my highest priority.
I also want people to know that I am a local Indigenous person and this business is a way for me to connect with the teachings I learned from my grandmother and to hopefully share a love of the outdoors with others.
What inspired you to start your business?
I love the outdoors and knitting so, over time, I started to realize that I could create items that would keep me and my family warmer and more comfortable than what I would normally find in a store.
In the summer, I started to do more beading since the weather is warmer and it’s fun to accessorize.
I enjoy the customizable nature of making things myself; I can make something that will coordinate with any colour combination! I started to share as much of my knitted and beaded items as I could with the people around me and, eventually, several people encouraged me to consider selling them since they loved them so much.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
It feels overwhelming at times to make the transition from opening a business to putting yourself out there in the world. There are so many aspects to it beyond just making the products that you want to sell; packaging, shipping, creating an online presence, all of it is important but can be overwhelming to someone who hasn’t done any of this before.
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
It means a lot to me to see that people like what I make and want to add it to their wardrobe! I have been getting repeat customers and it is very validating to see that people are happy enough with my products to want to share them with their loved ones.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
Go for it! Talk with people about your ideas and think about what specifically you want to share through your business. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great way to share creative energy and do something new and interesting.