At MINI TIPI, 2023 was a year of growth and seizing opportunities that spoke to us. With a dedicated team of 10, we’ve been able to divide and conquer like never before and with the support from people like you, we've been able to achieve some amazing things.
The more we can accomplish the more we can make a difference. When you simply choose to buy products from an Indigenous business or share social media posts, you’re actively working towards a future where Indigenous arts, cultures, and voices get to be celebrated. With all the love from our customers it’s easy for us to keep looking forward at all our goals and dreams for the future. Let’s look back at all the progress we’ve made in the last year because of you.
New Collaborating Artists
In 2023, we were able to collaborate with two new artists and create two brand new designs.
In 2023, we produced three entirely new products! First came our Essential Bag, a versatile pouch that can be used for cosmetics, toiletries, electronics, stationeries, or anything that suits your habits or hobbies.
We also came out with our new Infinity Scarf. Not only was this a new product we developed but also a new material. We wanted to make something a little lighter and more wearable compared to our regular wool blend fabric and we are so happy with the results!
Lastly, but certainly not least, is our new Hoodie Poncho! This is the number one product you guys kept asking for and we finally made it a reality. Not only does this open up the door for menswear (although the poncho is unisex) it’s also our first garment piece. This product is definitely one for the books and we’re looking at making our poncho in different patterns in 2024 so keep your eyes peeled!
Collaboration is one of our core values and we can’t overlook all the love we receive from our loyal retailers who carry MINI TIPI products in their stores. Now found in 98 local boutiques and gift shops throughout Canada, MINI TIPI can create more representation and visibility of Indigenous arts and cultures for Canadian citizens and tourists alike.
Our Biggest Corporate Order
Did you know that MINI TIPI had corporate gift options? Creating an opportunity for employers to give meaningful gifts to their employees or clients is something that MINI TIPI is proud to offer. With options to create custom tags or add gift boxes, receiving a MINI TIPI blanket can show an employer's appreciation and values. This year, we fulfilled our biggest corporate order to date with 1040 units! We watched our whole team get involved and work together to complete this order and it’s something we are proud of accomplishing as a team.
WOVEN Design Contest
This year, in collaboration with I Love First Peoples, we started our first youth driven initiative, Woven. A design contest to get young Indigenous students involved and interested in the world of entrepreneurship and design. We announced our winner of the design contest back in October, congratulations to Summer Testawich! Summer’s design is in the making and you can expect pre-sales to come this spring.
Kitigan Zibi High School Visit
Along with our Woven contest, we also invited local high school students from Kitigan Zibi to come to our warehouse and learn a little bit about MINI TIPI, entrepreneurship, and work on a small hands-on project on the production floor. Students made their own velcro pouches from start to finish with the help of our team. An amazing example of what collaboration and community can look like in the business world.
At MINI TIPI we strive to be more than just a local business, we want MINI TIPI to be a community member that contributes both to our local community and to Indigenous communities. Some of our products themselves have giveback programs (like Miel and Birch Bark by Half Moon Woman) but we also have special moments throughout the year where some of our sales go back to different initiatives. Every year we raise money for the Downie-Wenjack fund on September 30th for Orange T-shirt Day/Day of Truth and Reconciliation, which raised $798 in 2023, and for our local food bank, Centre Alimentaire d’Aylmer, on Giving Tuesday which raised $500 this year.
Pow Wow Pitch
In the past MINI TIPI has been a part of Pow Wow Pitch as entrepreneurs pitching their business. Everything we’ve gained from those experiences has been invaluable. This year MINI TIPI was able to participate in donating $3,000 to other pitchers, allowing us to come full circle and giveback to initiatives that helped us in our beginnings. Not only did we give three thousand dollars worth or prizes, but we also donated our time as mentors for a local start up business.
Indigenous Holiday Gift Guide
Something we’ve come to start doing yearly is our Indigenous Holiday Gift Guide. People always asked us about other Indigenous businesses they can support so back in 2021 we decided to create our first Indigenous Gift Guide. Many of you expressed how much it helped you discover countless amazing brands and businesses that we started doing yearly. In 2023, we were able to create our first giveaway contest that allowed a lucky winner from Hamilton, ON to win over 1500$ in incredible Indigenous gifts!
Another incredible yearly happening we’ve been so fortunate to host is our Warehouse Sale! We love meeting everyone in person and being involved in our community. Our warehouse sale lets people come explore local food options, purchase one of a kind MINI TIPI sample products, and chat with the team while finding incredible deals. It’s always so heartwarming to see people travel from near and far to come say hi. We can’t wait to see what our Warehouse Sale will look like this year as we strive to make it bigger and better every summer!
Small Business of the Year Award 2023 - Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
This year MINI TIPI won an award for Small Business of the Year and we want to thank all our collaborators, our staff, and all of you for the love, support, and hard work that went into being nominated and winning this award.
So what’s in store for 2024?
We can’t wait for you to see some of the things we’ve been working on. A collaboration with a local company that is expanding across the country, new designs created by new and previous artist collaborators, and probably a whole bunch of things we ourselves aren’t aware of yet.
As we navigate through new opportunities we always keep the same motivation and driving force that has propelled MINI TIPI into what it is today; a commitment to highlighting and celebrating Indigenous arts and cultures and create a space that is accessible to everyone to engage and uplift Indigenous voices and stories.
We can’t thank you enough for being on this journey with us and hope you stay for the ride 2024 has to offer.
Mel & Trish