Kokom Scrunchies: A Story About Young Entrepreneurial Spirit
Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Kokom Scrunchies, what exactly are they? These vibrant and beautifully adorned hair ties are an Indigenous symbol that honours the founder, Mya Beaudry’s cultural heritage. This resilient nine-year-old Anishinabe Kwe from the Kitigan Zibi First Nation came up with the brilliant concept of taking her favourite item, a scrunchie and used a fabric called Kokom scarves and transformed the material into a wearable hair tie. She combined her love for two items and made a remarkable item that she intended on giving back to her pow wow community as a sign of respect.
Typically, Kokom scarves fabric is used in different ways and can been seen at Pow Wows. Generally, the scarves are a staple item for Indigenous women and grandmothers alike. Pow Wow’s are celebrations where families gather to socialize, craft, dance, sing and have fun. Moreover, growing up, Mya has been attending Pow Wow since the day she could walk. Not only has she been attending but has been competing in competition pow wows all over Canada regularly where she would dance to the music along with other girls her age category. At the competition pow wows there are other competitions known as specials, which primarily hold prizes for teenagers and adults, however, there are limited to no specials for children. Because of this particular issue, Mya decided that it would only be fair for children to received prizes too and decided to host her own special. Starting as a simple project, Mya and her mother gathered the Kokom scarf material and decided to make scrunchies for Mya’s special. It became a way of giving back and a sign of respect to the pow wow community and to other children her own age, after all, Mya considers everyone in her pow wow circle to be “family”.
One of the most important figures to have inspired Mya to become a young entrepreneur was her Aunt Dana. Dana hosted a big special during the annual Pow Wow within her community. She would invoke resiliency and motivate Mya to continue dancing and giving back. Because of her aunt, Mya created a scrunchie named Kokom Dana. She did this to honour her Aunt who was the source of inspiration.
“I got inspired by my Aunt Dana, she hosted a special not too long ago. And then, I really wanted to host a special in 2020, but because of Covid-19 I couldn’t do it and it was postponed till next year”
Ultimately, it became clear to Mya that this is her vision and she dedicated time to watch videos on YouTube to learn how to enhance her craft by perfecting her sewing technique. The young entrepreneur had ambitious plans to host a large youth special at the Summer Solstice Pow Wow during June 2020. She was eager to make numerous scrunchies as a way to fundraise for all the prize money and gifts required and then give everything away as gifts to all the girls who would participate in her special. However, because of Covid-19, the event was postponed until next year. Mya met her financial goal for her special in February 2020 and turned Kokom Scrunchies into her business in March 2020. Despite the challenge of not being able to host her special at the Summer Solstice Pow Wow, Mya decided to turn her attention to growing her online business. She still finds ways to come up with creative ideas to expand her online collection by using different floral materials to make scrunchies.
Additionally, her company continues to gain recognition all over social media, particularly at @kokom_scrunchies where the company has garnered a following of just under 7,000. It has been a tradition for Mya to hold multiple fundraisers and giveaways on Instagram where she selects a certain number of participants and then gives away Kokom Scrunchies. Mya also has an official website, https://kokomscrunchies.ca/, which features all the scrunchies and the scarves she uses to make the scrunchies. The website also features gift cards, stickers, and limited-edition products, which are released every Sunday and are named after her role models and other inspiring Indigenous women.
“My vision for my business is for people to get my scrunchies all over the world”
Mya Beaudry is the perfect example of a young spirit who values her legacy and wants to shine a light on the beauty of her people. She is the epitome of love, compassion, and empowerment to Indigenous women all across Canada. She honours the lifeline of strong and remarkable women like her Aunt Dana. Mya also pays homage to the traditional Kokom scarf which is a symbol all Indigenous women are familiar with by combining and turning it into a scrunchie that is made for everyone young and old. It is important for Mya to be inclusive to others and absolutely loves when people from all over Canada buy, wear and support her idea of the most beautiful scrunchies. Kokom Scrunchies embraces Indigenous pride and celebrates the art of being strong and resilient yet inclusive and a way to spread happiness.
Written by: Solveiga Procivaite