Native Diva Creations
Career change proves to be wise decision for Native Diva Creations owner
By Sam Laskaris
Attending a First Nations Youth Entrepreneur Symposium convinced Melrene Savoy-Eaglespeaker to make a life-altering decision.
Melrene Savoy-Eaglespeaker left behind her retail management job to start up her own Indigenous-themed business, Native Diva Creations.
Five years ago the Calgary resident, who is a member of Alberta’s Blood Tribe, decided to abandon her retail management career in order to start up her own business.
Savoy-Eaglespeaker was inspired to work for herself after participating in the entrepreneur symposium in Morley, a First Nations settlement within the Stoney Nakoda Nation.
“After that symposium a week later I went to work and gave them my keys,” said Savoy-Eaglespeaker, who had worked either in retail or retail management for 13 years.
She started up her business called Native Diva Creations. Products she makes in her thriving home-based business include Indigenous earrings, necklaces, body jewellery, hats and jackets.
Savoy-Eaglespeaker, 33, admits she wasn’t quite sure how her business – she takes influences from traditional beadwork and mixes it with an urban style to create unique products – would be received.
“When I first started the business I had no idea what to expect,” she said.
Indigenous-themed earrings are a huge seller for Native Diva Creations.
Well, Native Diva Creations has been a huge success. Besides being a big hit at the many events she attends to showcase her products, Savoy-Eaglespeaker is also kept busy selling her wares online to customers throughout North America, Europe and even Australia.
Native Diva Creations has also been nominated for a national Cando award in the Aboriginal Private Sector Business category.
Cando, which promotes Indigenous economic development across Canada, also has award categories for economic development officer of the year and community of the year.
The 2018 winners will be announced at the Cando Conference, set for Oct. 22-25 in Enoch, Alta.
Savoy-Eaglespeaker is thrilled she can make a living while also making a contribution to preserve her Indigenous background.
“I enjoy sharing my culture,” she said. “And people can see how passionate I am about it.”
Savoy-Eaglespeaker has also been pleasantly surprised with the backgrounds of her clients. She estimates 80 per cent of the people who purchase her products are non-Indigenous.
“It blew me away,” she said. “It still does, every time.”
Savoy-Eaglespeaker tries to attend about three events - such as pow wows or trade shows - to sell her products every month.
“I try to stay as local as possible,” she said, adding she has gone to some out-of-province trade shows as well.