Beaded Dreams is an Aboriginal family owned and run gift shop located in Ottawa specializing in Native Canadian and American arts & crafts.
Beaded Dreams is a family owned and run gift shop. Can you tell us a bit about how it got started?
My parents started Beaded Dreams over 20 years ago after much success selling their goods on the Pow Wow trail across Canada and the United States. They wanted to have their own brick & mortar shop that they could call their own and be able to put their own stamp and mark on something. I used to help out as a youngster, making earrings, necklaces, chokers and other items, and in 2007 I started to work full time at the shop. Within a year or so my parents passed the shop down to me and I’ve been running it ever since. I love it.
What is the mission of Beaded Dreams?
Our mission is to support indigenous artists and to keep this beautiful culture alive.
You recently redesigned your logo. Where did you get the inspiration for the new look.
Yes, I’m extremely happy with the new logo and branding. The triangle shape is that of a teepee. There is more than 1 triangle, which could mean many things, but I like to look at it as a gateway to another world or to the past. We added the tree in the middle as a symbol of nature and mother earth. The colours are inspired from red coral and the turquoise stone, which is found in a lot of southwest silver jewelry. I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback on the new logo, which makes me happy.
Many of the handmade jewelry pieces are made in store. Typically how long does each piece take?
Every piece is different. Sometimes it could take as little as an hour and sometimes a complicated piece can be hours and days worth of work.
Do you make custom pieces as well?
Yes I do. In fact I just finished a custom jewelry set for an August wedding. Our customer was thrilled with it!
Why did you decide to expand into an online store?
We had a go at the online store last fall. I wasn’t too happy with our website, and the platform we were using wasn’t up to par with other e-commerce sites. We took that site down and I decided to go with local e-commerce/POS company Shopify and I built a brand new site from top to bottom. It took a few months to get the new site up and running, but I really feel we have an excellent online shopping experience for our customers.
Is there any cultural significance in the different materials and colors that you use in your pieces?
We use a lot of traditional materials and colours in our collections such as deer, horn, bone, glass crow and seed beads to name a few. A lot of the colour and design is an expression of one’s self and it is always amazing to me on how much beautiful and different artistic creations make their way into the shop from other First Nations artists. That being said, there is a lot of cultural significance with designs, colours, materials that I could go on and on about it. And of course, there is still always so much to learn about it.
You recently did a photo shoot – tell us about that experience.
This was our second photoshoot that we did for Beaded Dreams. I wanted to capture not just our products, but an emotion and vibe in these photos.
We had a beautiful model (Rebekah Elkerton) who we’d actually met through our friend and past model from our last shoot (Kammy Alexson), and we decided to head up to Mackezie King Estate in Gatineau Parc to capture these shots. It was really a lot of fun, and we had an excellent team. Corey J. Stone: make-up, Josee Martel: stylist, Kevin Burke: assistant, and I am a photographer so that makes it even easier.
We are planning another shoot in August which will also have some video along with the photography.
Do you have anything else you want to share with our readers?