I am always so amazed and inspired when I hear of kiddos who are becoming young entrepreneurs, who have BHAG goals (if you don’t know what this means go check out The Jilly Academy!), and who also love giving back to the community. If this is your first time reading this series, make sure to check out all of the heart-warming little leader stories here. Today, I am so excited to welcome, Mya a very talented 10-year-old from Kitigan Zibi who is the founder and CEO of Kokom Scrunchies. Mya works to make sure that all the scrunchies are handmade and is on a mission to bring Kokom Scrunchies to everyone.
Take it away, Mya!!
My name is Mya Beaudry and I am 10 years old and Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi. I am the founder and CEO of Kokom Scrunchies. I started Kokom Scrunchies in fall of 2019. It was originally a fundraiser as I wanted to host a dance competition for youth my age at the Summer Solstice pow wow. In my culture hosting a special is a big commitment, because I had to prepare by collecting gifts to give away to the youth that would take part in my special at the pow wow. This is how Kokom Scrunchies was created, by making scrunchies to fundraise for my upcoming pow wow special. This quickly gained interest through social media and gave me an opportunity to create and grow Kokom Scrunchies into what it is today.
While I love having my own business, I also love other things such as my First Nations culture, playing hockey, baking and creating through painting. Attending pow wows has always been a big part of my life, ever since I could remember would dance at pow wows. Which was basically since I could walk, I would dance at pow wows and play hockey.
My love for my culture has led me to starting Kokom Scrunchies. When I set down this path to host a pow wow special, I knew I had to create something and that turned out to be Kokom Scrunchies. In my Algonquin language Kokom means grandmother and the fabric I use is actually a scarf known as the Kokom scarf because it’s the same scarves that our grandmothers use to wear on their heads when they would work outside. I had a Kokom scarf and I love scrunchies an put that together and I made Kokom Scrunchies. I learnt how to make a scrunchie after watching some YouTube videos and I asked my mom to help me make one. My mom decided to post it on her social media after we finished sewing the first ever batch of Kokom Scrunchies and she received messages from her friends on how they can buy them. Soon after we made a dedicated social media account just for Kokom Scrunchies. I would spend my free time during the week making scrunchies and then do a “Sunday Drop” where we would release a limited edition Kokom Scrunchies which are named after someone who inspires me or one of my role models. The Sunday drop still happens today and I still name our limited edition Kokom Scrunchies after amazing Indigenous women role models.
One of my favourite scrunchies is the Kokom Dana, which is part of the Kokom Scrunchies core collection. Dana is my Auntie and I just love her so much! We would always travel to pow wows together and she plays hockey just like me. Oh, and she is going to school to be lawyer which is what I want to do when I go to university. She really is a big reason why I wanted to host a special to do my best at giving back to the youth in my pow wow community.
Since I started my business, I have always worked with my support team to share my Kokom Scrunchies with everyone, young and old. I really want everyone to be able to have access Kokom Scrunchies and I always get so excited when I see people wearing them or when they send in pictures of them wearing their scrunchies, it truly brings me so much joy and happiness. My business has taught me so many things from sewing in a straight line, choosing fabrics, using social media (Kokom Scrunchies now has over 22k followers). I also have taken many opportunities to speak to others about me and my business through different speaking engagements. I always get nervous, but I do it because I know there is a lot of people that want to hear my story and are supporting me.
We are coming up on two years at Kokom Scrunchies and so many exciting things have happened and continue to happen!! Like getting my own blog post on Jillian Harris dot com!!
I have got to be on amazing podcasts like Call Her Auntie and Talks With a Fox, which is super cool. Two other great moments for me was when I got to be on ETalk Canada and all my family and friends got to see me on TV and when Elle Canada and Narcity featured Kokom Scrunchies in their articles. I have had a few stores across Canada request to sell my Kokom Scrunchies in their stores and this has to just be the coolest thing ever.
As Kokom Scrunchies grows I want to be able to build a workshop in Kitigan Zibi and hire youth to work with me. Giving back is important and being able to one day do that in my community would be a dream. This is one of my goals for Kokom Scrunchies and I always tell everyone when I get a chance to do speaking engagements because I know it will happen one day. I will also continue to build and grow Kokom Scrunchies and do Sunday Drops where our limited edition Kokom Scrunchies are made available. While the pandemic has postponed my special at the pow wow, I still plan on hosting it once everyone can come back together.
I have big dreams and goals but most importantly I want to inspire others to follow their dreams and do what makes them happy. My advice to others is always the same set goals, sell or do something you love and don’t be shy. You can find Kokom Scrunchies on Instagram @kokom_scrunchies and our website at www.kokomscrunchies.ca.
Mya, you are an inspirational young lady! Congratulations on all your success. You have a bright future ahead of you!