Yukon's Granny Hanky headbands expands beading design line

Yukon's Granny Hanky headbands expands beading design line

Heather Dickson's pickup truck is overflowing with ready-to-ship Canada Post boxes twice a month.

They're filled with her staple products: Granny Hanky headbands — beaded and colourful First Nations inspired accessories, of course, but now beaded hats, shirts and sweaters have joined the line.

Dickson Designs celebrates its two-year anniversary this April, and the young Whitehorse entrepreneur says her sales are reaching all corners of Canada, and even across borders.

"I thought it was more of a hobby... but it grew super fast," said Dickson. "People take them travelling all over the world. I have selfies from all over everywhere."

Today, Dickson's apparel line offers a wide-range of sizes from plus to infant sizes.

Her business also began putting people to work across the North, with several women from Nunavut, N.W.T., and Northern B.C. beading their own style onto the products.

"They're completely free to make it their own… I don't like to tell my artists what to do because I think creativity flows better that way," said Dickson.

She provides artist cards for each of the headbands so the customer knows who the designer is and where they're from.

'Our grandparents' dreams coming true'

Dickson says she's received a lot of support, especially from the First Nations community.

"It's been absolutely amazing the amount of support I've been given," she said.

"First Nations people are starting to work together and support each other now, which is beautiful, and [it's] like our grandparents' dreams coming true."

That's why Dickson says she wants to keep her business based in the North for now.

"I really want to support our northern women and get our art out there," she said. "Eventually I'd love to open it up to include beadwork from First Nations elsewhere."

Dickson said she has grown a lot in the past few years.

"Lots of trial and error," she said.

Her creativity has grown, too.

"I feel like it's limitless… I always have a million and one ideas."

This August, Dickson will be showcasing her products at Santa Fe Indian Market, one of the largest Indigenous arts shows in the world that attracts more than 100,000 people from around the world.

"Might have to hire some more help," said Dickson, laughing.