Revolutionizing Retail: aaniin Retail Inc’s. Journey as Canada’s First Indigenous-Owned Department Store

Revolutionizing Retail: aaniin Retail Inc's. Journey as Canada's First Indigenous-Owned Department Store


Meet Canada’s first 100% Indigenous-owned department store, aaniin Retail Inc., founded in June 2021 by Chelsee Pettit, a proud Anishinaabe Kwe from Aamjiwnaang First Nations. aaniin is not only 100% Indigenous owned but also started as a streetwear brand. The aaniin house brand of apparel serves as a catalyst for initiating conversations about Indigenous languages while creating visibility 365 days a year. aaniin Retail Inc. is dedicated to reclaiming the Indigenous economy, involving communities, and creating opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs. aaniin’s mission is to empower Indigenous artists, businesses, and brands, making syllabics a daily presence in colonized spaces. “aaniin” is the Anishinaabemowin word for “hello,” which is why every conversation starts with “aaniin.” Committed to empowerment, sustainability, and community, aaniin Retail Inc. has embarked on an exciting journey of growth, including a recent venture into the vibrant world of pop-up stores at Square One Mall and Sherway Gardens. 

aaniin Retail Inc: A Journey of Culture and Empowerment 

aaniin Retail Inc. was born out of a deep love and need for our Indigenous languages and culture to be seen in everyday life and mainstream media. aaniin’s values are community, collaboration, and connection. 

At the core of aaniin’s mission is empowerment. The brand aims to empower Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform to showcase their businesses and creations. aaniin’s commitment to economic growth within Indigenous communities is evident in its support for both small and large Indigenous businesses. Since its inception, aaniin Retail Inc. has paid out over $300,000 in invoices to Indigenous businesses, demonstrating its dedication to fostering economic prosperity within Indigenous communities. aaniin has recently started their quarterly Business Development days for Indigenous entrepreneurs. This is a 2-day event where Indigenous businesses receive industry advice from companies like Xero, Futurpreneur, and Shopify, as well as networking opportunities. aaniin wants Indigenous entrepreneurs to be set up for the best success possible, and this is a way they can share resources and give back to the community. 

A Unique Shopping Experience 

What sets aaniin apart from mainstream retail brands is its commitment to authenticity and cultural preservation. Shoppers visiting aaniin’s website or pop-ups can expect to find a wide array of products that reflect the diversity of Indigenous culture. From traditional beadwork to contemporary fashion, aaniin offers a curated selection of items that celebrate Indigenous artistry.

One of aaniin’s flagship collections, the house brand, has garnered significant attention for its blend of style, syllabics, and cultural significance. These items are not just accessories; they are symbols of Indigenous identity and the resilience of Indigenous languages. aaniin’s house brand incorporates Indigenous syllabics, promoting the use of Indigenous languages and highlighting the importance of language revitalization. 

Revolutionizing Retail: aaniin Retail Inc's. Journey as Canada's First Indigenous-Owned Department Store


aaniin Retail Inc’s. journey is more than just a business venture; it’s a testament to the power of culture, community, and empowerment. aaniin’s commitment to preserving and celebrating Indigenous culture while creating economic opportunities has allowed it to flourish and expand its reach. With the recent introduction of pop-up stores at Square One Mall and Sherway Gardens, aaniin is on a trajectory of growth, sharing the beauty and richness of Indigenous culture with an ever-widening audience. 

Revolutionizing Retail: aaniin Retail Inc's. Journey as Canada's First Indigenous-Owned Department Store

As aaniin continues to make its mark in the world of Indigenous retail, it remains dedicated to supporting Indigenous artists, businesses, and brands, and providing shoppers with an authentic and culturally enriching shopping experience. With a mission to empower and celebrate, aaniin Retail Inc. is poised for a future that holds the promise of even greater impact and influence.

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