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)

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

 

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

Just Posted

Parking time is to be limited in one spot on 9th. (Houston Today photo)
District seeks grant to update bylaws

And decides on 15-minute parking

Bench installation on 9th Street is another sign the project is nearing completion. (Houston Today photo)
Progress being made on 9th Street finish

District aiming for June completion

File photo
Mental health checks proving valuable

Police officer and nurse team up each week

The two billboards for the Cow Moose Sign project arrived in Topley last week with Justin Cradock, owner of Pitbull Trucking Ltd. and the area is now getting prepared for installation. (Dan Simmons photo/Houston Today)
Cow Moose sign project billboards arrive in Topley

Two billboards for the Cow Moose Sign project have arrived in Topley… Continue reading

File photo
Snow clearing changes would cost money, survey finds

Council being asked to give direction

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read