SheNative Store Saskatoon
714A 2nd Ave N
Store Telephone Number: (306) 979-2449
Tori-Lynn Wanotch is the director of business development for SheNative, a fashion/lifestyle business in Saskatoon.
Wanotch has had a hand in elevating the SheNative brand.
“We really have a group of passionate Indigenous women… We work together to really hammer out what are the really important messages that’s going to inspire our community,” she explained.
“Also, we come from different nations. So we have different teachings that come in when we’re creating. So we celebrate that. Our diversity.”
The brand celebrates Indigenous culture, Wanotch said. And that comes from authentic roots.
That diversity sometimes means differences of perspectives, and that means having to “lovingly guide each other through the decision-making process.”
Wanotch says it takes boldness to be in business. Even going so far as to start before you think you are ready.
There’s so much to know about developing a business, and often you learn along the way. Taking the initial first steps will guide you to the next steps, so start before you are ready.
“You have more knowledge than you realize.”
She said having a business is like having a child, and it takes passion, drive and love to see it onto the next phase, and that’s how you should see your business.
Early in the relationship with SheNative owner Devon Fiddler, Wanotch was the young woman’s mentor. Fiddler was a youth leader in her community of Waterhen, and Wanotch worked for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.
Now that they have reconnected in the fashion industry, the table is turned, with Wanotch viewing Fiddler as a mentor.
When looking at any set-backs that Wanotch has faced over the years, they have come down to dealing with self-esteem.
“I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a full-time designer, or if I had enough education or knowledge to contribute to the business to see it into this next phase.
“And all of that was overcome by the relationships that I have with Devon and the team that we have here at SheNative. We really push each other along and we support each other emotionally. And make sure (we say) ‘Hey, you know what? You really do have something important to say and we want you to say it'.”
It’s the sisterhood at SheNative that helps overcome obstacles.
The key to survive and thrive as an Indigenous business is to connect to other Indigenous businesses, and networks of businesses, says Wanotch.
Connecting with others who have experienced similar growing pains is helpful.
Sticking to their authentic selves is also extremely important, as is elevating women and their feminine selves.