Put good vibes and energy into your business

August 31, 2023

Empowering the Next Generation: Ashley Michel’s Journey with 4 Generations Creations

Ashley Michel is the Secwepemc owner and artist of 4 Generations Creations, operating in Kamloops, British Columbia. Having not grown up deeply embedded in the culture and language as she would have preferred, Ashley’s determination was fuelled by a desire to provide what she missed for her daughter. “I wanted my daughter to have authentic representation and a better future not only for her but the generations to come,” she reflects.

Ashley’s entrepreneurial journey began with sewing regalia and ribbon skirts for the Indigenous community. But as with many businesses, the global pandemic became a catalyst for change. “I expanded during Covid and now distribute fabric, beads and ribbon, as well as create designs that empower and educate others about Indigenous issues and resiliency,” she says.

Ashley’s vision for 4 Generations Creations is expansive. Not only does she plan on transitioning from online sales to a brick-and-mortar store, but she also aspires to inspire and equip the Indigenous youth. “My goal is to print my products in-house and also create a new stream of revenue to print products for other individuals, organizations, and businesses. This will allow me to hire, train, and inspire Indigenous youth within our community,” she elaborates.

“The rewarding part about being an entrepreneur is being able to work from home and create a life that’s good for me and my daughter,” she remarks, highlighting her desire for authentic representation. Yet, with great passion comes challenges, and for Ashley, the most significant challenge is separating herself from her work. “Work to me doesn’t feel like work,” she admits, adding that her venture is both her “passion” and her “healing.”

Recognizing the significance of community in her entrepreneurial journey, Ashley believes in the power of collaboration over competition. “It is true what they say. It takes a Community,” she emphasizes, viewing Pow Wow Pitch as a manifestation of that belief. Her mentors, Maria Artuso & Matthew Norton from RBC, echo this community sentiment, advising her to “speak from the heart” and reminding her that she knows her business best.

A reflection of Secwepemc values, Ashley’s business integrates Indigenous approaches throughout. “A big lesson that I implement is putting the good vibes and energy into anything I am doing,” she says, stressing the importance of positive energy in her work.

So, what advice does this rising entrepreneur have for newcomers in the business world? “Don’t underestimate the power of social media,” she advises, acknowledging its transformative effect on her own venture. Furthermore, Ashley underscores the importance of self-belief: “Starting a business is a lot about taking a risk, but it’s more about believing in yourself and what you’re doing.”

In a world filled with diverse voices and stories, Ashley Michel stands out, using her business not only as a means to financial success but as a platform to empower, educate, and inspire the next generation of Indigenous leaders. As she continues to evolve and grow 4 Generations Creations, her impact on her community is unbounded.

Register to watch Ashley pitch at the Consumer Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 7, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for 4 Generations Creations to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#2) before September 17, 2023.