Devon Fiddler, Social Entrepreneur

Devon Fiddler is the Saskatoon-based founder of SheNative, a socially-driven accessories brand that empowers Indigenous women. Here, she tells FLARE how she made it

Ebony-Renee Baker

Devon Fiddler wears grey "Indigenous Boss Babe" tee and black leather jacketDevon Fiddler; @shenativegoods

How do you describe your job to your family?

I am an entrepreneur, I created SheNative, my own brand of handbags and accessories, and I help empower Indigenous women. I am also a creative consultant, entrepreneurship facilitator and mother of two babies!

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I went to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. I took a political studies bachelor of arts program called Aboriginal public administration.

What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)

Working with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council as a research assistant—I was eventually promoted to business development coordinator. This was where I was introduced to entrepreneurship. I worked with nine First Nations communities on developing business plans and proposals for entrepreneurs.

This experience inspired me to start a business of my own.

What was your BIG break? How did you land it?

I think my big break was when I won a contest called “Win a month on Morguard!” [the opportunity to promote her business at Saskatoon’s Centre Mall] in 2015. I wrote about my brand, and what we do, and why I needed it. And I won! Since then, my brand has become known in Saskatoon.

What would you say has been your most significant setback, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?

I closed down my first store too early—right before the biggest quarter of the year—so that year, my sales were down. And I did it because I was listening to all the noise—too many different mentors, coaches and opinions. I lost my own voice in it all, and I did not listen to my own intuition. But I was also very pregnant, and I needed some time to just be pregnant and have my baby. Maybe it wasn’t so much of a mistake for my personal sanity. I’ve since decided that it’s time to do things “my way” again.

When you’re feeling low about your work, what’s the one thing you always do/watch/read/listen to bring yourself back up again?

I listen to YouTube videos with subliminal “success” or “motivational” tracks, because it helps the subconscious mind, and I don’t really need to fully focus on it in order for it to help me feel better. I also try to mediate a little bit and exercise helps too. Sometimes, I just stop, unplug and play with my two babies! That’s one of the best things I can do to bring myself back up again.

How would you describe your industry in terms of representation and inclusivity?

There are not enough Indigenous women in the fashion industry, nor is it very inclusive of Indigenous women.

Looking to the future, what: excites you the most about your career?

I love that I am my own boss, I set my own schedule and I have no limit to how much I can get paid. Also, that there’s always new challenges!

What worries you the most about your career?

The uncertainty of entrepreneurship. We don’t always get paid immediately, so cashflow planning often worries me.

Who is your favourite person to follow on social media from your industry? What do you love about their social feeds?

I don’t follow women who are in the fashion industry, but I do follow female entrepreneurs like Marie Forleo, Emily Williams, Kimra Luna, and Carrie Green. I love the empowering quotes they share and the content they provide specifically for female entrepreneurs!

And Indigenous companies like Manitobah Mukluks, Indigenous women like Ashley Callingbull, Lisa Charleyboy, Shauna and Shannon Baker, and numerous Indigenous designers like Helen Oro and Bethany Yellowtail. I follow them because they inspire me to keep going during the toughest times.

  • Click here for more work-life inspo from the awesome people on our #HowIMadeIt List
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