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When Stephanie Tschirhart moved her in-home beauty salon to a brick-and-mortar location in Kincardine, Ont., she used the opportunity to rebrand from Butterfly Kisses to Kwe Beauty to better express her indigeneity.
Although it’s not a one-to-one translation, “kwe” represents the idea of a woman in Ojibway, says Ms. Tschirhart, who built the business alongside her daughter Emma on the southern banks of Lake Huron.
The two of them are part of a surge of Indigenous entrepreneurs using their businesses as a platform to explore their indigeneity and support Indigenous skills and ideas.
“As an Indigenous entrepreneur, I am able to occupy space today where my ancestors were not able to before,” says Ms. Tschirhart. “I see that as a huge opportunity and a huge privilege.”
And so, for Ms. Tschirhart – a member of the Saugeen First Nation – the rebrand to Kwe Beauty is bigger than just a name. She envisions the salon as a space to host workshops led by elders and other members of the nation, together sharing knowledge and cultural practices with non-Indigenous neighbours.