Courtney Running Rabbit - National Youth Panel Nominee

Shari Narine
Cando Contributor

Courtney Running Rabbit had no way of knowing that something as small as fingernails could give her such a big boost of confidence.

“My vision for IndigaNails was to create Native-custom designed nails that would aid women to feel proud, beautiful, and confident. I started this business earlier this year and it has opened many doors and opportunities,” said the 25-year-old member of the Blood Tribe, who lives in Calgary. She is recently married and the mother of a three-year-old boy.

Running Rabbit was invited to enrol in the Women’s Aboriginal BEST program hosted by Aboriginal Futures. Not only did she make valuable connections with other business women, but she formed a circle of support. With that newfound confidence, she has set the long term business goal of opening a nail bar or an Indigenous salon where she can work alongside other Indigenous women who are skilled aestheticians.

“I feel as though we do not have enough Indigenous women in this industry, especially the nail-tech artistry,” she said. “We have many youth who have artistic skills yet aren’t sure how to use them. In the future, I see myself teaching and training other young women and/or men who are interested in the art of nails.”

But Running Rabbit wants to go beyond training nail aestheticians. She wants to host self-esteem workshops, working with make-up and hair artists, to make youth feel “beautiful and confident about themselves and indeed help them believe in who they are so they, in turn, may attain their future endeavours.”

Running Rabbit says it “feels amazing” to be nominated by Shawna Morning Bull, who is business manager for the Community Futures Treaty 7 group and Alberta director for Cando, to Cando’s National Youth Panel.

“This nomination helps me believe in myself all the more, and to know that maybe I can inspire other youth entrepreneurs to have faith in themselves in whatever endeavours they want to accomplish,” said Running Rabbit.

She holds that her awareness of the struggles a young entrepreneur, especially an Indigenous woman, encounters in starting a business and the need to persevere make her a valuable asset to the panel.

For youth, Running Rabbit wants them to embrace what she refers to as the three “foundational elements”: self-worth, self-love, and self-respect. 

“Knowing that we can achieve whatever we set our mind to and that we are always enough and realize how amazing we are as Indigenous people,” she said.