4 Generations Creations: The Story Of Believing In Yourself 

Small Business Canada

Ashley Michel is the owner and artist of 4 Generations Creations. She is a self-taught seamstress, artist, and designer from Secwépemc, of the Tk’emlups Indian Band (Kamloops, BC). Her business has always been part-time and helped her get through school while pursuing a full-time degree in Bachelor of Education. 

4 Generations Creation was born when her daughter was born in 2013. As a single mother, Ashley could not afford to purchase a pre-made ribbon skirt or regalia, so she decided to take the initiative and teach herself. It was important to her to raise her daughter in their culture and language. 

Sewing her regalia meant decolonizing her wardrobe to include traditional attire. 

Turn of Events 

In 2019, Ashley was mainly focused on creating hand-made garments worn to Pow-wows and many other events. But the pandemic brought a pause to all these gatherings and events where her garments would be worn and purchased. The situation created a stake in her source of income and a situation where they questioned how to get by. 

Ashley panicked and questioned herself about providing for her child and herself. It was a period of isolation and quarantine when social media apps like TikTok were gaining popularity to help pass the time. 

Ashley took her gut feeling and decided to make an account. So she scrolled through the videos and ended up on “small business/side hustle” Tiktok, specifically, Procreate and custom stickers/apparel Tiktok. 

The video gave her an idea, and she decided to spend the last of her money on an iPad and an Apple Pencil. Buying an iPad was a risk she took, as she hadn’t drawn on a tablet prior. 

Gathering her self-confidence and experience of figuring out and self-learning seamstress and art, she dedicated herself to believing and taking the chance. She researched various sticker companies, drew for days and hours, and got them printed. 

Tiktok blew up one of her videos, and she sold out her first launch of the “Indigenous Sticker Collection!” 

From this boom, she got customers asking her to create apparel and began getting requests for Ally/Solidarity merch. 

Purposeful Entrepreneurship

Ashley considers it important that her daughter and future generations have Authentic Indigenous representation. The thought inspired her to create designs that unapologetically take up space in this colonized world. 

She hopes that through her initiatives, future generations will not feel a sense of “lost identity” but will be unapologetically Indigenous and that others will have a greater understanding of Indigenous issues and resiliency. She strives to educate others through art in a positive way that sends an important message and leaves an everlasting impact.

Today, Ashley has grown as an entrepreneur, selling her sewing creations and digital art through stickers, apparel and more. Her customers are Indigenous allies, friends, and family, and she has shipped over 5,000 orders across Canada and the USA.

Ashley Michel continues to create hand-made garments and is preparing for another Indigenous collection release with many new products. To know more about her products, visit the website at https://4generationscreations.ca/

Indigenous businesses have a story of hard work and resilience that makes them stand out in the industry. To read more about these inspiring entrepreneurs, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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