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

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Sports Briefs

Your top athletes and teams

VIDEO: Dog behaviourist holds classes to raise funds for NARA

Holidays are a busy time for rescue agencies

Residential projects delayed for years in Terrace pick back up

LNG confidence a catalyst for progression, developers say

Terrace one step closer to first pot shop

Public hearing on BC Cannabis store in Skeena Mall scheduled for Dec. 10

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

B.C. man linked to human remains probe to stand trial on unrelated assault case

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

B.C. lumber industry trade mission still has high hopes for China

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson cut short trip after Japan, Korea stops

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

Most Read