Heather Abbey on Being an Indigenous Adoptee, Entrepreneur & Embracing Failure
For many Indigenous adoptees finding their biological families and learning about their culture is a form of healing. Heather Abbey knew from a young age she was adopted, and she felt lost before connecting with her Indigenous heritage and her large biological family in her late teens.
Her training ground for entrepreneurship started at a young age with her parents teaching her “No is not the final answer.” Her drive to build a better life for herself and her children lead her to being a self-taught entrepreneur and building an Indigenous brand, Kiowa Sage Apparel and the ecommerce business, ShopIndig.ca
On today’s episode, Heather shares stories of being an Indigenous adoptee, finding her birth family, living in the worst neighborhood in Canada as proclaimed by Maclean’s Magazine, her path to entrepreneurship, and how she recovered from her public belly flop failure. Now Heather focuses on giving back to the Indigenous community through mentoring upcoming entrepreneurs.
“It’s the most amazing feeling to know where you come from. I didn’t realize that was missing from my life for so long. Now I feel whole.” Heather Abbey on finding her birth family
Listen to this episode
Today on the Women Warriors Podcast
- How she learned about her Indigenous heritage (5:32)
- How her adopted parents approached her questions of identity (8:27)
- The important lesson her sister taught her about being proud of her heritage (9:26)
- How her parents supported her in entrepreneurship from a young age (10:56)
- How working around “No’s” translated to every area of her life (12:34)
- Her early entrepreneurial mentors (13:56)
- Her experience living in North Central Regina the year that MacLean’s Magazine named it the worst neighborhood in Canada (14:25)
- How she survived on her tips as a waitress while teaching herself to be an entrepreneur (15:12)
- How ShopIndig.ca was born (18:20)
- Her first contact with mentor, Kendal Netmaker of Neechie Gear (19:00)
- The phone call that changed her life (20:12)
- Winning the Pitch Party 2016 (22:07)
- Mentoring upcoming entrepreneurs (25:00)
- Her public belly flop failure (28:00)
- Losing and gaining her faith in being an entrepreneur (33:47)
- How she balances motherhood and entrepreneurship (36:28)
- Her dream come true – opening a kiosk in Midtown Plaza Saskatoon (40:13)
- Sask Fashion Week (41:39)
- The woman Heather wants to spend the day with, SheEO Vicky Saunders (43:08)
Selected Links from this Episode
- Indigenous Economic Partnership Summit Lloydminster
- CBC Dragon’s Den
- MacLean’s Magazine (2007), Canada’s Worst Neighborhood was in Regina
- Kendal Netmaker, Neechie Gear
- CBC 2013 Boom Box Competition with W. Brett Wilson
- W. Brett Wilson
- The Pitch Party
- Futurpreneur Canada
- Cheekbone Beauty
- Devon Fiddler
- Wab Kinew
- ShoSho Esquiro
- Start-Up Canada Indigenous Entrepreneur
- Mid Town Plaza Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Nathaniel Arcand
- Sask Fashion Week
- SheEO, Vicky Saunders
What did you learn about from this podcast?
Connect with Heather Abbey
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