Shar Wilson is the owner and creator of a clothing company called Finawear. She shows off one of her designs which pays homage to traditional Chilkat robes. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Entrepreneur’s wearable Indigenous art appears on Dragons’ Den tonight

Gitxsan artist, Shar Wilson pitched her clothing company, Finawear to the popular show in the spring

Informing the public, one pair of leggings at a time.

That’s what a Langford entrepreneur hopes to do with her line of “wearable, authentic Indigenous art” that will be featured on CBC’s Dragons’ Den in a couple of weeks.

Shar Wilson will be making her Dragons’ Den debut on Nov. 22 with her clothing company, Finawear.

Wilson lives in Langford now but is originally from Gitxsan Territory in northern B.C.

She used to work in finance with various First Nations organizations but everything changed for her in 2009 when she lost her 17-year-old son in a car crash.

“When I lost him my life ended pretty much,” Wilson said. “It didn’t make sense that my son wasn’t there.”

About three years later, Wilson said she saw frog flip flops that she was drawn to because she is from the frog tribe.

READ MORE: Sooke fudge company on Dragon’s Den Nov. 2

“I’d never seen anything with our crests on it,” Wilson said.

Wilson spent the last of her money buying the flip flops and posted them on Facebook to sell them. She said they sold right away and that led to her first business, Shop With Shar.

However, Wilson said she noticed many of the products she was selling were not made in Canada and that the art did not look the way she thought it should.

“That’s when the business part of my brain started kicking in and I said well why don’t I do this myself?” Wilson said.

She taught herself how to use various computer programs, purchased printers and cutting machines and taught herself how to make the products.

“I got all these designs, ordered my first set of clothing in February … flew to Toronto in April and pitched for the Dragons,” Wilson said. “It was very intimidating for me … I’m just a little reserve girl, I never left B.C.”

Wilson said she hopes people from all backgrounds can wear her products.

“The whole point is to inform people and change their minds and help them understand the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation,” Wilson said. “I’d love anybody to wear Finawear because they know who the artist is, where I’m from and if they wanted to, they can find the story on the art. That’s cultural appreciation.”

READ MORE: Langford entrepreneur marches into the Dragons’ Den

Wilson said she has been busy designing and honing her skill since she pitched to the dragons. She built a website to sell her products and is now planning to connect with other Indigenous artists to help promote their work as well. She said she hopes to feature them on her website so people can buy authentic work.

“I’m all for promoting other First Nations artists … spreading their work around … that’s what I want to do,” Wilson said. “There’s enough to go around … as Indigenous artists a lot of times we come from a place of lack so we don’t believe that …but there’s enough to boost each other up.”

So far, Wilson said she has sent her products to places in Canada and also internationally to cities like Chicago and Athens.

Wilson said her friends and family are very excited to see the episode. She will be holding a viewing party at the Legion in Langford so they can all watch it together.

The viewing party will be held on Thursday, Nov. 22, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at 761 Station Ave.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Slow down for students: School zone speeds now in effect

RCMP will be making sure drivers keep it at 30 km/h or less, with heavy fines for breaking the law

Queen Charlotte fire hall is a go

Start of construction marked with groundbreaking ceremony

NCRD Board turns attention to Haida Gwaii

Fishing concerns, recreation commission, and Sandspit festival all receive focus

IV cancer treatment returning to Haida Gwaii

Arrival of a new pharmacy technician means the service can resume

Logging moves forward as court rules against Haida Gwaii protesters

Injunction won against activists seeking to protect culturally and archaeologically significant site

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

Parents travelling with three-month-old reportedly being held in Pennsylvania

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

VIDEO: Trudeau, Singh posture for ‘progressive’ votes while Scheer fights in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Most Read