First Nations Maker Boom


What if there was a way for First Nations Peoples in remote communities to make a living getting in touch with their heritage? A sustainable creative outlet for youth to further reconnect with their culture by learning from elders in their community?


In fact, there is a way. Through craft. Young people who can make a business from traditional craft can become passionate about learning more about their cultural craft from elders in their community. And, the good news is that there are no barriers in the way of accomplishing this. Canada post delivers everywhere in Canada, Etsy provides a free framework, internet is pretty well everywhere and there are experienced entrepreneurs excited about making it happen. 

Esty Canada has expressed interest in supporting such a project as their mandate is to enable maker communities across the country. In fact, they've done similar work in the past through a program called Craft Entrepreneurship.  Ten Thousand Coffees has also expressed interest in participating as their platform allows for young makers to connect virtually with seasoned entrepreneurs to help with their business.

Some interesting Stats about makers from the Etsy blog.

    • 42% or users have never sold their goods before opening an Etsy shop.
    • 88% of U.S. Etsy sellers are women
    • 35% reported they didn’t need any investment to launch their businesses.

So, it's easy to get started and is perfect for women. First nations people can sell their goods online to customers all around the world and reconnect with their culture. How do we make this happen?


In short i'd like to spend 2 weeks working in an appropriate community with my assistant Rose, sharing our knowledge about fabrication, shipping, internet business and entrepreneurship. At the end of our two weeks, participants would be able to start a small online business. Upon a successful test run, the intent would be to do it annually in different communities. 

My name is Jesse and i'm the owner of Oopsmark.  Four years ago I had viral success with my Bicycle Wine Rack product on Etsy which launched me in the online retailer world. Since then I've been learning everything there is to know about how to run a successful online business. The experience taught me how to make the transition from being an leather artist working in festivals and markets to running a small business. I also have a working background in mechanical/environmental engineer and as a camp councillor. I regularly run workshop out of my studio in Montreal and have taught at the Ottawa School of Art. Learn more.

Together Rose and I can provide both a male and female presence as well as all tangible skills young makers need to get started. We're also a real world example of how leather working can become a job.  

The Ask

To make this happen we need two things.

  1. Some minimal sponsorship to cover costs and our time.
    • Flights for two
    • Two people for two weeks
    • 1/2 week of preparation
  2. A community that is interested in receiving this type of sharing. 

Your support would be greatly appreciated in finding a funding parter(s) and a community who is excited about making this happen. 

Please feel free to get in touch, You're help is all we need to make this happen.






PLEASE NOTE: As this project is under development and discussions are underway, please share it responsibly. It is intended for word of mouth travel so please share it directly with people who may be able to help with the project. In otherwords, please don't post it on your FB feed. Thanks.