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Seasonal side hustle becomes full-time business for Curve Lake First Nation women

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Olivia Williams (left) and her aunt Marcie Williams operate the Curve Lake First Nation business called Sweet Water Indigenous Creations. – Photo by Marci Becking

By Sam Laskaris

CURVE LAKE FIRST NATION – An idea that was hatched to make a few extra bucks has turned out to be a booming business for a pair of Curve Lake First Nation members.

Marcie Williams and her niece Olivia Williams launched Sweet Water Indigenous Creations back in March of 2021.

The business has two components. For starters, it sells its own brand of Silver Moon Maple Syrup and offers various self-care products, crafts, and clothing the pair create.

“In the beginning, it started out where we only did the Curve Lake Christmas craft market,” said Marcie Williams. “That was the only time we set up a booth to sell our stuff.”

The elder Williams, who also works full-time as a healing and wellness worker for her First Nation, said the business has since exploded.

“Now it seems like every month we’ve got something going on,” she said. “People are reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, would you like to set up your booth?’ It’s starting to expand and we’re starting to get out there which is really exciting for us.”

Olivia Williams, a 20-year-old who has an 11-month-old daughter named Lilah Jane, loves being involved with the business.

She frequently takes her daughter with her to her aunt’s house to work on various company orders.

“It keeps me busy and doesn’t keep me bored,” Olivia Williams said of her involvement with the business. “Not that my daughter doesn’t keep me on my toes enough but I’m kind of a go, go, go person so it works out in that aspect. And crafts are also like a hobby of mine and I love doing beadwork for everybody.”

Besides selling their products at various area locations, the women also do a fair share of their sales online, via their Instagram account.

Those looking to contact the company can also do so via the e-mail: sweetwatercreations@outlook.com

Work is also currently being done with a web designer to launch a company business later this year.

“This is something that occupies us every day,” said Marcie Williams, adding the majority of the company’s online sales now are in Ontario but the pair would love to expand and sell their products nationally and throughout the United States as well.

Olivia Williams also has some loftier goals for the business.

“I’d like to see us have a storefront (in the First Nation),” she said.

Marcie Williams said that is indeed something her niece has been lobbying for.

“She’s been pushing me to do that,” she said. “And I don’t know if we’re ready yet, but it’s something that we’ve looked forward to doing.”

For now, Marcie Williams and her partner Wally Baumann own a 50-acre maple farm in Severn where the company’s maple syrup is produced.

And the business’ craft and clothing work is done in Marcie’s home in Curve Lake First Nation.

The company’s biggest seller online is its ribbon skirts.

Another popular item is the multi-purpose dandelion salve the pair create, which is suggested for those who have arthritis, acne, or eczema, among other things.

“It actually took away my pregnancy stretch marks,” Olivia Williams said.

And another product that sells well is the company’s own Four Directions Smudge Spray, which contains all four medicines for Anishinaabe people: tobacco, cedar, sage, and sweetgrass.

“It’s used as an alternative to the smoke smudging because sometimes, like in a hospital environment or in a big building environment, sometimes people aren’t able to light that smudge and let it smoke in the air,” she said. “So, this is the alternative to doing that.”

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