Semi-Finalist Spotlight on Travis Francis, Lucrative Apparel
Meet Travis Lee Francis, Founder & CEO of Lucrative Apparel, from Firshers Grant First Nation, Nova Scotia. Travis is a Pow Wow Pitch Atlantic Canada Semi-Finalist. We sat down with Travis to learn more about him, his business and his reflections on entrepreneurship.
PWP: Please tell us about yourself?
TF: I am a proud Mik’maq entrepreneur. I use a Mi’kmaq star on my designs and use the statement ‘The Mik’kmaq are Forever’ to honour my ancestors.
The Mi’kmaq were some of the first impacted by colonialism. So for me to be here and in this competition, I have to thank my ancestors. I bring forward from them the belief to “never give up.”
I have been through a lot in my life, suffering from addictions that have ruined relationships and I have lost a lot that I have worked hard for.
I am now sober and clean, and I have started my clothing brand in hopes to inspire people going through hard times to let them know they are not alone and they too can change their life for the better.
PWP: Thanks for sharing that. Congratulations on making the change. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
TF: Before becoming an entrepreneur, I was a fisherman. I travelled from home to work three months out of the year. When COVID started, my girlfriend was pregnant with our baby. I wanted to be with my family every day, so I started my business – Lucrative Apparel.
Lucrative Apparel is a clothing brand and e-commerce business that sells hoodies, jackets, tee shirts, tracksuits, and hats to inspire and support Indigenous youth.
Community is really important to me, so I started the Social Justice and Leadership Award and Scholarship. We are now into our second year and consistently growing our business and impact each quarter. We have supported seven youth already with our scholarships.
PWP: What has been your favourite part of being an entrepreneur so far?
TF: It’s definitely that I get to spend every day with my beautiful family. I’m blessed.
I am also proud to have been able to impact my community. I love to show our youth they can follow their dreams and make a positive impact on people. My scholarship award has brought me great joy, and I wanted to share that.
PWP: What has been the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?
TF: Balancing my family life and being successful in business can be challenging at times. It can be tough to find the time to grind my ideas, and it has been a lot of sleepless nights and early mornings. However, I am committed to my dreams, and I pray that I will impact more youth and inspire children to follow their dreams.
PWP: Why did you choose to apply for Pow Wow Pitch?
TF: I wanted to gain exposure and funds to take that next step with my family and grow my business. I hope people will have the chance to learn about my business, follow my journey, buy our products and help to grow our impact.
PWP: What has been the best part of being part of Pow Wow Pitch as a Semi-Finalist so far?
TF: Being part of Pow Wow Pitch has brought me hope, validates my hard work and shows me I’m on the right track.
I also had the chance to be mentored by Sarah Fischer from Shopify to improve my pitch. Sarah helped me to realize that Lucrative’s impact on our community makes us unique.
PWP: What final advice do you have for Indigenous people thinking of starting up a business?
TF: My advice is to stay consistent, put in work every day and never give up. Sometimes it may seem impossible, but if you lay a brick every day eventually, you look up, and you’ll see a building.
PWP: Thank you for chatting with us Travis! Good luck with the Semi-Finals.
Click here to vote for Travis to reach the Pow Wow Pitch Finals by voting for him for the People’s Choice Prize. You can also watch Travis Pitch at the Atlantic Semi-Finals Live on September 20, 2021, at 6 PM ET / 7 PM AT. Click here to register to watch.